Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus
a theatrical – musical composition
created for live broadcast
In seeking the Faces of the Hero through major literary and theatrical works, it was only natural that we were soon led to venture outside of the SNFCC premises and partner with the National Library of Greece (NLG). The two organizations worked together enthusiastically to present Prometheus Bound by Dimitris Kamarotos, composer and sound dramatist, at the historical home of the NLG, the Vallianio building on Panepistimiou Street. In this theatrical – musical composition, a work created especially for live broadcast, the actors Amalia Moutoussi and Konstantinos Avarikiotis, the mezzo-soprano Anna Pangalou and the musicians Katerina Konstantourou and Christos Liatsos, will narrate the tale of Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound – the entire text of the tragedy, translated in verse by Nikos A. Panagiotopoulos.
Dimitris Kamarotos’ latest work engages in dialogue with the present moment in time, and the peculiarities of our lives in the midst of a pandemic. It is a multidisciplinary feature, conceived to be filmed and broadcast live, and indeed over multiple performances. It is not a film, nor is it a show captured on film; it is a live event designed from its inception to reach its audience through a computer or television screen.
In Prometheus Bound, the first of the mythical heroes advocates, through his example, for the imperative of insubordination and resistance against the autocracy of authority, when what’s at stake is survival itself. At the dawn of time, Prometheus stood up against the highest power, the will of Zeus, and paid a heavy price to give mankind the gift of fire.
The two actors assume the roles of all of the drama’s characters, with Anna Pangalou as the Chorus. Finding themselves under confinement for an indeterminate length of time, they are compelled to narrate all the wonderful and terrible things they know. To indicate clearly which character they are playing at any given time, they use the technique of “audio masks”. The entire tragedy (in a new translation by Nikos A. Panagiotopoulos) functions as the musical score, the actors’ speech as music made of words, and their voices as musical instruments. Around them, the musicians supervise and support them.
The space of the old reading room of the National Library imbues the performers’ experience with a special kind of gravity. They tell the story as a living testament: those who were there before them have left their mark. There are books, video projection equipment, objects, handwritten pages from the manuscript, notes they made themselves and notes left behind by those who passed through in the past. Perhaps Prometheus was one of them…
With images, sounds and music, they lower a bridge between the place where the books used to reside and the screens in our homes.
A note by the composer/dramaturgist Dimitris Kamarotos:
“We take a myth, the myth of Prometheus Bound, to the old National Library on Panepistimiou Street; we’re in a place where Athens sounds different and time is compressed. We copy, by our own means, that myth that was turned into poetry by Aeschylus, that was turned into a new literary work – translation by Nikos A. Panagiotopoulos and, through all the consecutive images, we make a music of meanings for LED screens. We give the myth another opportunity to be told afresh, now, in this place.
Here, there are two people marooned, two actors,
three musicians who surround them,
a starlit sky and a film crew.
Each performance is unique. Words transform into sound.
“Prometheus, all this is happening far away, outside the house, in that place where the elements meet. But, he/she is inside, there, by your trail, in the echo of the printing blocks of an old National Library. There, scattered around the steep cliffs, your tracks appear fleetingly.
I must tell you as much I have time to tell you, and you can hear as much you have time to hear. I think it’s raining outside.”
Prometheus Bound by Dimitris Kamarotos is a joint production by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center and the National Library of Greece.
The publication of the new translation in verse of Prometheus Bound by Nikos A. Panagiotopoulos. As part of its commitment to cultural production and outreach, the SNFCC views the publication and release of Nikos A. Panagiotopoulos’ new translation in verse of Prometheus Bound as yet another way to bring its programs to the public, this time at the bookstores.
The book will be available in bookstores from Friday 26/02.
The video projections displayed in the interior of the Reading Room include scenes from Elias Giannakakis’s documentary, Transfer.
The workshop of the painter Konstantinos Kerestetzis is located inside the venue, with artworks that depict the Reading Room and various portraits.
The event will be available with greek subtitles for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The themed events programming Faces of the Hero is realized thanks to the exclusive grant by Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).
Katerina Konstantourou, piano
Christos Liatsos, percussion