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Putting Sri Aurobindo's plays on stage:
a Research

"Perseus the Deliverer"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

all photos are © Ireno Guerci

Sri Aurobindo published “Perseus the Deliverer” in 1907, and it was the only play that was revised by him during his life.

In this piece, the Greek legend of Perseus is made the nucleus around which grows the scenes of a romantic story of human temperament and life-impulses.
Sri Aurobindo … has transformed the constant feuding between the gods and men as the struggle for progress and has thus brought in his theory of evolution…

In the prologue, Pallas Athene, symbolising light, love and benignity and espousing the cause of man's scientific and spiritual progress, confronts Poseidon who is a mass of blind, self-willed power hugging a crumbling past wedded to superstition. Their spokesmen, Perseus and Polydaon, enact the same confrontation.

The issue is between progress and superstition, Light and Darkness. Because of this double vision ( at the superhuman-psychological and human-heroic level), we watch an intense drama of heroic struggle that is also the vehicle of a spiritual struggle. The final victory goes to the goddess who is on the side of scientific and spiritual progress.

 

 

 

FROM MOTHER'S AGENDA:

 

…What was standing there was a manifestation of one of my states of being, a part of my vital being, or rather one of my innumerable vital beings – because I have quite a few! And this one is particularly interested in things on earth.

…I found a very good description of it in one of Sri Aurobindo's plays, when he speaks of the goddess Athena ( I think it's in Perseus”, but I am not sure ); she has that kind of … it's an almighty calm, and with such authority! Yes, it's in “Perseus” – when she appears to the Sea-God and forces him to retreat to his own domain. There's a description there that fits this Being quite well.

 

 

 

Participants and supporters of “Perseus project” are: anandamayi, aurevan, fabien, aurelio, jean, auronevi, samrat, padmanabhan, jonah, katya, shakti, sergei, ruslan, chris, claude, sarama, srimoyi, igor, jonny, otto, paul, shankar, peter, christoff, surya, charu, gandhi, juan, sami, savitri, jayaram, loretta, joy, shanmugam, antonio, ashatit, giorgio, rajaram, aruna, meeta, vidya, maria, norman, kartik, mauricette, aryamani, david, gnakhi, diana, nandini, pitanga, tina, michel, michel h., orly, esperanza, manohar.

Direction by aryamani

 

 

 

WORKING ON PERSEUS THE DELIVERER

 

SINCE MY FIRST READING OF THIS PLAY, LONG BACK, I ASPIRED TO HAVE IT PERFORMED IN AUROVILLE. BUT BOTH, THE LENGTH OF THE TEXT AND ITS EXTREMELY HIGH LANGUAGE POSED A GREAT CHALLENGE.

THIS ASPIRATION HAS GROWN ALONG THE YEARS, AND IN GETTING A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF THE TEXT ONE MORE CHALLENGE EMERGED : THE DIMENSION OF THE MESSAGE .

THE FEELING OF LACK OF CAPACITY TO DO THE WORK DIDN'T STOP ME OF DREAMING AGAIN AND AGAIN ABOUT BRINGING IT ON STAGE. THIS DREAM WAS SHARED BY OTHERS, AND TIME AND AGAIN WE WOULD TALK ABOUT IT, UNTIL, AT THE END OF 2004, IT BECAME CLEAR THAT THE ONLY WAY TO EVALUATE OUR CAPACITY TO DO IT WAS TO START WORKING ON IT.

THE FIRST THING THAT COULD NOT BE AVOIDED WAS TO REDUCE THE LENGTH OF THE TEXT IN ORDER TO COME TO A THREE HOURS PLAY (AN INTEGRAL VERSION WOULD LAST AROUND FOUR HOURS ).

IT WAS VERY PAINFUL TO CUT SRI AUROBINDO LINES, AND WE HAVE DONE IT THE BEST WE COULD, GOING CAREFULLY THROUGH, TO NOT ALTER THE VERY SENSE OF HIS MENSAGE.

STARTING THE WORK IN FEBRUARY 2005, WITH AUGUST 15 AS A DEADLINE, WE SOON REALISED THAT THE WORK NEEDED MUCH MORE TIME, AND THE PERFORMANCE WAS THEN POSPONED TO A LATER DATE.

NOW IT IS TIME FOR US TO PRESENT THE RESULTS OF SUCH AN AMBITIOUS PROJECT . IT SHOULD BE RECEIVED AS A RESEARCH, A WORK IN PROGRESS, AN UNFOLDING DISCOVERY.

 

. IN THE CAST THERE ARE PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT LEVELS OF EXPERIENCE IN ACTING, AND SOME OF THE ACTORS WILL BE ON STAGE FOR THE FIRST TIME.

THE ELEMENT THAT LINKED ALL OF US WAS A DEEP FEELING OF JOY, THAT HAS PERMEATED THE WORK FROM THE VERY BEGINNING . WORKING TOGETHER ON SRI AUROBINDO ‘S WORDS FOR SUCH LENGTH OF TIME HAS BEEN A PRIVILEGE FOR WHICH WE ARE VERY, VERY GRATEFUL.

 

(Aryamani)

 

 

 

 

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