The Syrma Antigones project includes:
WE ARE AFFAINED BY ANTIGONE, BY THIS INCREDIBLE RELATIONSHIP, THIS POWERFUL BINDING WITHOUT DESIRE OR THIS IMPOSSIBLE, IMMENSE DESIRE THAT COULD NOT LIVE, ONLY CAPABLE OF DISCOVERING, PARALIZING, EXCESSING A SYSTEM AND A HISTORY…
Jacques Derrida, Glas
“I choose the name of Antigone in order to reconstruct-trace-delineate-decline the theme of revolt in the contemporary, proceeding in a way that is by no means exhaustive, but fragmentary and lacunar…how else to do in the face of this name that fascinates and distances? I can only give form to a private ghost, very intimate and vacuous, appealing to her as, in the words of Hölderlin, a being in sororal commune, of a community in which the peculiar and exclusive mode of interaction is that which one has with one’s sister, ally, confidant, critically faithful friend… And that she dies a virgin is also an uneasy sign of this permanent sororal nature: she will not be a bride in order to wait on paternal law, nor a mother, out of continuity with maternal law. The only wedding bed, as she herself says, will be her tomb: she thus comes dancing out of the web of genealogies and filiations.
Antigone’s suicide is an affirmation of self: of herself that is, non-daughter, brother. By committing suicide she affirms one sociality against another sociality.
It is the man or woman of fraternity against the man or woman of filiality.
Antigone is thus a political figure, eminently political.”
(Daniela Nicolò, working notes)
The trail of Antigone
We choose to deal with Antigone, the “living-Antigone,” working by traces, footprints, fragments, clues left on the ground: after all, it is precisely the dragging-attempted burial of Polynices’ body that is the center of the tragedy, or rather, it is the most ancient mythical event (Syrma Antigónes seemed to be called a place near Thebes, according to Pausanias…).
We enter through a creative process enacted by evocations, even abstract ones, imagining a scenic space as a terrain marked by footprints, furrows, pieces scattered by the wind and animals… Traces that continue to sound, rarefied words and gestures, cries and conflicts, distant voices, pieces of dialogues and songs, clashes and irreducible obstinacies… which, in an eternal return, evoke without saying, like “out-of-sync” sounds, badly mastered and images solarized by the weather… A research in constant oscillation between memory and the present, turning back to reflect on today.
The choice to work on the figure of Antigone is in continuity with the whole previous process and seems to us to embody, from another angle, one of the key themes of the project Ics(x) Cruel Tales of Youth (2007-2008), namely the relationship/conflict between generations.
“No, we need to find something else, a better reason, not to stop, another word, a better idea, to put in the negative, a new no.” So goes one of the last texts of the “third movement” of Cruel Tales that premiered on June 26 at Theater der Welt Festival in Halle, in the former GDR… and in the wake of these words we try, in another form and dynamic, to continue the research on relations/conflicts between generations, love between peers and siblings and attempts at civil insurrection… It’s time to talk about this now: How to react to the many hidden corpses that we step over every day and that everyone pretends not to see as in Liliana Cavani’s hallucinatory film The Cannibals… Or that we move from one point to another in order not to be bothered, as was the case with the body of the Living Theatre actor, who for two hours played death on stage… Yes, we need to run and scream, to raise dust and rage, together with the cities we have so far mapped in the unruly spots, in the Terrains-vagues that have escaped our control, which will serve as our chorus…
We start from an unapologetic reflection on “…how difficult it is to turn indignation into action…” and all forms of resistance, including armed resistance, to traverse the events of Antigone with a web of words that go to the root of our own actions — and omissions — without veils. We stubbornly continue by sharing these meditations with young people encountered in the places we will move to prepare the new play, still on the long journey around the letter Ics, which denies and signals, which becomes at this point a crossing/crossing of old and new, memory and present … and above all a rejection of a here and now that begins to “smell dead.”
The theme is too broad and controversial to be resolved with a linear dramaturgy aimed at conceiving unidirectionally a definitive performance: reflecting the complexity of Antigone’s events, and its current repercussions, we have therefore chosen to approach it through a sequence of thematic lunges related to the different urgencies-actualities of the text.
It is our decade-long practice to reach the debut through a series of intermediate studies, but at this juncture we thought instead of another formula of research in becoming: no longer work-in-progress, functioning by stratifications, but events-performances understood as contests that is, confrontations/discussions/dialogues to address, the questions, interrogations, urgencies, solicitations, contradictions elaborated by us or sent to us by external interlocutors reflecting on the possible rereading/dislocation of Antigone today…
The performance in its making initially fragments, explodes, fractures in these performances/contests working with little, under the banner of absolute poverty of means and technologies… It is a choice of principle, obliged certainly by the scarcity of means of the Italian system, but also strongly consistent with the soul of the whole percoso: a journey with Antigone far from the waste of the Palaces!