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`When Amazons Wake´

ITCR´S 2005

Pelion, Greece

`When Amazons Wake´ was ITCR´s second cultural and artistic exchange program in the form of a residency for 12 actors, director, set and costume designers and a choreographer. It took place in Pelion, Greece over the period of two months (10th July - 4th September). The program consisted of the three main parts: an initial two week workshop period for exploration and experimentation, four weeks of rehearsals and devising and two weeks of performances. Through an intensive selection process ITCR chose 6 emerging female performers from Britain - with different European backgrounds, and 6 male Greek performers, who were either graduates or established professionals.



The show was based on the German classic `Penthesilea´ by Heinrich von Kleist. It included parts of the original German play, Greek translations of the play, poems, texts written by the performers. Great parts were accompanied by music, Greek traditional dances inspired ensemble scenes, circus skills such as fire eating were used and a lake filled with water was the centrepiece of the set.

`When Amazons Wake´ was an artistic spectacle of movement, music, visual poetry and vocal encounters, the meeting of Greeks and Amazons, a tragic tale of love and desire, the merging of Greece and Europe on a mountain that has always been described as ´the summerhouse of the Gods.



The initial first two weeks were broken down into various physical, academic and improvisation workshops. The main workshop leader was the established British choreographer Miriam King, which ITCR invited.The goal of those workshops was to establish a common working ground while encountering and acknowledging the cultural and artistic differences.

The workshops provided specialized physical theatre training and a platform to undertake and discover unconventional forms and ways of creative exploration. Diverse Exercises and tasks were applied that used the body for a dramatic expression. The group also learnt traditional Greek dances, which would be used in the production. This phase simultaneously provided an opportunity to explore the thematic of the to-be-devised theatre production in an open and flexible manner.

The workshop leader(s) in correspondence with the group had the possibility to adapt the workshops according to the group´s needs. It furthered in particular the physical theatre skills of the local Greek actors, as they lack the opportunities for this kind of specialized training. At the same time is exposed the visiting artists to an unfamiliar working environment and new stimulations. It was also the first encounter for the visiting artists to gain insight and understanding of the artistic and cultural traditions of Greece.

The production team as well as the artists had to adapt to the extreme contrast of environment - from a city to a mountain, the climate and social habits) and its limitations, for example the lack of technology and transportation). At the same time this proved to be a pool of stimulation and opportunity to do things differently and to embrace the unfamiliar in every-day life as well as in the work.

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