Slovensko narodno gledališče Nova Gorica

"An ecstatic ritual which liberates, delivers and condemns"

Euripides

The Bacchae

Bakhai

on programme

This performance doesn't have any called terms at the moment.


duration Performance's lenght: 90 minutes with no intermission

co-production

Co-production with Slovensko stalno gledališče Trst on the iniciative of Ministry for Culture RSlovenia

premiere

20. October 2006, Trieste
Second premiere 09. November 2006, Nova Gorica

about text

The Bacchae is a play about the intrusion of the unknown, new, foreign, and therefore threatening into the secure world of the known, the expected and the manageable; an intrusion into the world of traditions, laws and rules - it is a play which illustrates the two principles - the male and the female; surrender and control. It researches the irrational forces within the human nature, the unrestrained and the animalistic, the primal and the inexplicable. The last of the great tragedies of the Ancient Greeks, The Bacchae, emphasises beauty, energy, creativity, corporality, passion and collective joyous participation in the ritual; but at the same time, a destructive power is latently present - and it can destroy the former qualities if we choose to deny them, if we lose the connection with the subconscious.
This is a narrative about balancing on the edge, between creativity and destruction, about the human division between the Apollonian and the Dionysian, a story about how we are trying to suppress the primal instincts by subjugating them to reason and the norms of civilisations - but the instincts always manage to erupt: the more we try to control them, the more powerful and devastating the eruption is.

about the author

Euripides, the youngest and the most modern one of the three doyens of the Ancient Greek tragedy depicts in his play, The Bacchae, the changes which occur in Thebes upon the arrival of Dionysus. Dionysus has arrived form Asia to spread his orgiastic cult, while the Theban elders are trying to deny his divinity and to prevent the population to worship him. His revenge to the mortals is cruel ...

in media

Vito Taufer uses two codes to stage Euripides' Bacchae. The first one belongs to opera and choreography: on an empty stage, bordered by thyrsi with ivy applications and the horizon, the depth of the stage is variegated by lighting and seems carried around by the music by Sašo Lošić. Lošić tries to reconstruct the lost music tradition by creating it from the seemingly timeless, abstract sound of the Balkans. /.../ To paraphrase: it could almost be said that this is an attempt for a re-birth of the tragic opera from the spirit of music, and the composer reaches for the source, especially in the parts for the Chorus - a significant part of the musical score is sung in ancient Greek. /.../. The other side of the performance is topical; the military and the police are quite contemporary, and disguised Dionysus, enchained and thrown into prison, is - in his bright orange prison overalls - simply another victim of the new world axis and could be sitting, with no rights whatsoever, in Guantanamo or any other similar prison. Dionysus, the new, potent and forbidden deity, banished by the governors of the polis, thus acquires the image of a Muslim martyr; not only a named sacrificer, but also a de facto tortured victim. This actualisation exposes for a brief moment all those who oppose alien gods whom they do not understand and therefore demonise.

Matej Bogataj, Delo, 25 Oct. 2006

Saša Lošić's music brilliantly paces this, barely an hour and a half long, performance, combining smoothly the primal and explicitly sensual rhythms with melodies, which seem more fragile and harmoniously mystical. On the other hand, set and costume designer Samo Lapajne managed to create an anxious atmosphere by combining black and white, shadows and light, and copious amounts of smoke, which pours lazily into the auditorium from the stage creating an impression of a marsh, through which the protagonists are wading and where the audience is cowering and observing the debauched dance of the inebriated Bacchae. /.../ 13 actresses and singers also succeed in bringing eroticism, primal wildness and unbridled passion to the stage.

Andraž Gombač, Primorske novice, 24 Nov 2006

Euripides' story of the Bacchae is only seemingly simple: Theban king Pentheus tries to prevent the debauched worshiping of the new deity, although clairvoyant Teiresias and old man Cadmus warn him of divine punishment. On king's order, a platoon brings the incarnate Dionysus in chains to the king's quarters. Dionysus, god and man, does not reveal his true nature, not even when king Pentheus insults him and thus provokes his merciless rage. King Pentheus' mother, Queen Agave, is one of the women who abandon themselves to their lasciviousness. Dionysus miraculously manages to save himself from the prison and suggests to Pentheus to join the manic dance dressed as a woman, but the Bacchae expose him and rip him to pieces. Queen Agave herself tears the stranger's head off in delirious frenzy, not realising that this is her son, but thinking it is a lion. Only when she returns to Thebes, the tragedy sobers her. /.../
To touch upon so many topics in such a short time, and to entice the audience into their whirl, is a task that probably only theatre can fulfil. Vito Taufer is one of those directors who know how to use the language of theatre to effectively point at the dilemmas of the contemporary human and social existence. He knows how to combine spectacle with criticism, effect with meditation. His unusual ability to "extract" from the actors all the good they have helps him greatly.

Ace Mermolja, Primorski dnevnik, 22 Oct. 2006

Bacchae ... directed by Vito Taufer, this fascinating director of broad aesthetic horizons and the eternal searcher for the answers to the basic questions of human existence ... The fateful power of unanticipated is reflected through the Chorus of the Bacchae, this unique, powerful theatrical expression. From the strictness of the initial scenes - also underlined with costumes - they were transformed into wild, belligerent "Amazons" with long hair, holding reeds that bring death, creating expressive dancing figures within complex and precise choreography and at the same time chanting verses in ancient Greek. This merits additional praise! /.../
In short, Bacchae are a grand theatre spectacle with powerful contents, which is well worth seeing and will long resound in the history of the Slovene theatre as a successful merging of Slovensko stalno gledališče/Teatro stabile Sloveno, a Slovene theatre from Trieste, and SNG Nova Gorica.

Iva Koršič, Novi glas, 26 Oct. 2006

View complete schedule for the show

  • 22. 06. 2007 at 21.30. At Festival Teatro romano in Trst - Trieste, Italy
  • 02. 07. 2007 at 22.00. Festival Lent, Maribor