ODC Ensemble with The Directors Company
the New York premiere of
Sex with Mum was Blinding
AN IMMERSIVE OPERA
CONCEIVED, WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
2018-19 FULBRIGHT ARTIST’S AWARD RECIPIENT
ORIGINAL MUSIC COMPOSED BY
TILEMACHOS MOUSSAS AND JULIA KENT
CINEMATIC ENVIRONMENTS BY
NASSIA GOFA, ANASTASIA KATSINAVAKI, LITO MESSINI,
JULIA KENT (CELLO), MISHA PIATIGORSKY (PIANO),
HASSAN ESTAKHRIAN AND BARBARA NERNESS (ELECTROACOUSTIC ENVIRONMENTS)
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25- SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29 ONLY
321 ASHLAND PLACE, BROOKLYN, NY
“One of the best representatives of Greek avant-garde,
Elli Papakonstantinou never ceases to surprise us.”
– ATHINORAMA, Maria Kryou
Award-winning international theatre company ODC Ensemble, based in Athens, Greece, with New York City’s The Directors Company, proudly present the New York premiere of the innovative cinematic opera “OEDIPUS: Sex with Mum Was Blinding.” Conceived, written, and directed by 2018-19 Fulbright Artist’s Award recipient Elli Papakonstantinou, “OEDIPUS: Sex with Mum Was Blinding” has original music composed by Tilemachos Moussas and Julia Kent performed live into an array of surreal cinematic environments created by Stephanie Sherriff. “OEDIPUS: Sex with Mum Was Blinding” will play a strictly limited engagement at BAM Fisher (Fishman Space), located at 321 Ashland Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217, from Wednesday, September 25 – Sunday, September 29, 2019. Tickets to “OEDIPUS: Sex with Mum Was Blinding” are $30 General Admission and are available at https://tickets.bam.org/production/?pid=21720.
An immersive opera which mixes traditional performance with cutting-edge technology and emerging neuroscience, the production draws narrative inspiration from Sophocles’ classic tragedy Oedipus Rex. A 2018-19 Fulbright Artist’s Award recipient and visiting scholar at Stanford University; 2018-19 “Music Theatre Now” international award recipient, Elli creates her own visually striking, lyric adaptation and explores engaging audiences in a new radical way. By using new technologies which turn the audience into the actual chorus of the opera, the piece rediscovers the community at the heart of a political performance, as it was in the ancient times.
Mythology, pop cultural references, and gender reexaminations feed into this unique theatrical mashup, as an all-female acting ensemble of opera singers, led by a female Oedipus, and jazz vocalists join forces with musical virtuosos (live augmented cello, piano & new instruments) on stage for a deep dive into a haunting mind game.
Partly developed during the director’s stay at the Center for Computer Research in Music & Acoustics (CCRMA), Stanford University, “OEDIPUS: Sex with Mum Was Blinding” also has artists and scientists joining forces on a new neuroscientific case study. The study explores the questions: “Are we free?,” “Dο we experience free will?,” Are there real alternatives, or is all that takes place the outcome of necessity?” An exploration into Determinism and Self, the answers describe either our majesty or captivity.
The advisor to the project is Professor Manos Tsakiris, Professor of Psychology, University of London (manostsakiris.com).
“OEDIPUS: Sex with Mum Was Blinding” was presented at CCRMA, Stanford University on April 4, 2019, produced by ODC Ensemble. The limited engagement at BAM Fisher is the beginning of an international tour. The next staging will take place in Athens, Greece later this fall, with the participation of cognitive scientists from The Warburg Institute, University of London.
The cast of “OEDIPUS: Sex with Mum Was Blinding” at BAM Fisher (Fishman Space) includes Nassia Gofa, Elias Husiak, Anastasia Katsinavaki, Theodora Loukas, Lito Messini, Misha Piatigorsky, Manos Tsakiris and musicians Julia Kent (cello) and Misha Piatigorsky (piano).
Electroacoustic environments are provided by Hassan Estakrian and Barbara Nerness.
This event is presented by ODC Ensemble with The Directors Company. BAM house and ticketing policies may not apply. BAM Membership benefits do not apply.
“OEDIPUS: Sex with Mum Was Blinding” is supported by the Hellenic Republic, Ministry of Culture and Sports; the Neon Foundation; the J.F. Costopoulos Foundation; ODC Ensemble; CCRMA; Stanford University; BIAS and the School of Advanced Studies, University of London.
ARTISTS AND COLLABORATORS
Concept, stage direction and libretto: Elli Papakonstantinou
Music composition: Tilemachos Moussas, Julia Kent
Real time cinematic environments: Stephanie Sherriff
Scientific advisor: Professor Manos Tsakiris
Light design: Elli Papakonstantinou
Real time audio development: Constantin Basica
Masks concept, design and materialization: Maritina Keleri & Chrysanthi Avloniti
Costumes: Jolene Richardson
Nassia Gofa – Jocasta / Chorus
Elias Husiak- Boy
Anastasia Katsinavaki – Teiresias / Chorus
Theodora Loukas – Woman
Lito Messini – Oedipus / Chorus
Misha Piatigorsky – MC
Manos Tsakiris – Researcher
Julia Kent – cello
Misha Piatigorsky – piano
Barbara Nerness – live electronics
Hassan Estakhrian, Stephanie Sherriff: Real time video
Cinematic Environment team
Video production lead: Stephanie Sherriff
Technical developer: Simona Fitcal, Hassan Estakhrian (US)
Video Production Assistant (Greece): Cemre Deniz Kara
Technical Assistant (Greece): Lefteris Zimianitis
Executive Producer: Elli Papakonstantinou/ODC
General Manager: Leah Michalos
Production Manager: Antonis Peristerakos, Theodora Loukas (US)
Director’s Assistant (US) /Stage Manager: Madelein Whitesell
Director’s Assistant (Greece): Anastasia Katsinavaki, Ageliki Karistinou
Publicist: Michelle Tabnick, Bill Coyle
Photography: Karol Jarek, Elias Moraitis (Greece)
Videography: Ashleigh McArthur
ELLIPAPAPAKONSTANTINOU (Creator, Libretto, Director) creates live performances with an emphasis on opera, new plays and new media. While revisiting the classics in immersive experiences that involve multiple actors of the community, her art connects notions of myth, politics and major narratives of our days. Papakonstantinou has lived in the UK for over a decade and has created and presented her work in international festivals and venues like: Edinburgh Festival (UK), LaMaMa E.T.C., (USA), the West End (UK), Prague Quadrennial 15 (CH), National Theatre of Greece (GR), Inauguration Ceremony of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (EG), Operadagen Festival (HL), Neukoellner Oper Berlin (GE), Megaron (National Concert Hall) (GR), Musikteatre Festival (AU) and more. Papakonstantinou has been commissioned by European Capitals of Culture “Valetta18” (Malta), “Eleusis21” (Greece) and ‘Pafos17’ (Cyprus) and has presented her work for the European Parliament for Culture in 2017. Her creations tour internationally including representing Greece at PQ (official Hellenic participation Prague Quadrennial 2015). Amongst other artistic achievements, her last work the Cave was awarded a ‘Music Theatre Now 2018-19 international award’, while for other works she has received a “First Prize Award” at the Edinburgh Festival, (UK) and a “First Prize Award 2017” for the REP, Birmingham (UK). Papakonstantinou shaped her ideas from the civic movements that emerged in Greece during the crisis. She pledges her talent to increase empowerment. During the crisis in Greece, Papakonstantinou engaged herself beyond the “usual” role of a theatre director to become politically engaged entrepreneur, founded and directed Vyrsodepseio, a 3.000 sq. m. art space in Athens (2011-2017). Vyrsodepseio served as a base for the international performance company ODC Ensemble (founded by Papakonstantinou since 2002) but also as a vibrant hub, an evolving project for horizontal politics and synergies with a focus on international networking (a proud partner of three Creative Europe projects and member of the independent networks Trans Europe Halles and IETM). Named a Visiting CCRMA Scholar by Stanford University and a visiting scholar by Princeton University and nominated twice with a Fulbright Artist’s Award, Papakonstantinou tends to defy traditional categories. She conducted a free fall on the same day as directing Shakespeare’s Richard II for the first time. She is a mountaineer and her passion for the high peaks often takes her as far as the top of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania or the Himalayas; she could spend her life under water and is always looking for more opportunities to create cross sectorial and multimedia hybrid work. Papakonstantinou founded the company ODC Ensemble to challenge what opera and music theatre is all about. She writes and directs all of the company’s works. Papakonstantinou holds a BA at the School of Arts, University of Thessaloniki (GR) and an MA and M.Phil at the Royal Holloway, University of London (U.K.). In addition to “Oedipus: Sex with Mum was Blinding,” she is currently working on The Kindly Ones, presented in 2019 at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial in Austria. Visit elli.site.
TILEMACHOS MOUSSAS (Composer) is an Athens based composer, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, educator. He invests in the creation and performance of subversive music, from instant composing and avantgarde. He creates, performs and produces experimental music and opera that fuses the musicality of speech, poetry, classical music, jazz and electronic sound art. He is a founding member of music theater company, ODC Ensemble and has presented his music across Europe and internationally and released multiple albums. After his studies at Agostini and F. Nakas Contemporary Music Schools he was offered a scholarship to Berklee College of Music. He holds a Master of Music in “Jazz Performance & New Technologies”. Some of the bands he played in are: Xaxakes, Ble, “LoveLab”, Acetic Voice, and Medieval Death. In 2002, he formed his own jazz band, Tilemachos Moussas Quartet. He has worked with many important musicians such as: Damo Suzuki (CAN), Savina Yannatou, Blaine Reininger (Tyxedomoon), Julia Kent, Pamelia Kurstin, Lena Norin, Michel Hatzigeorgiou, Missirli Ahmet, Georgia Sylleou, Thanos Anestopoulos, D. Kamarotos and has performed with artists such as Chico Freeman, Sheila Jordan, and Jerome Rothenberg. Tilemachos has played as guest in concerts for bands and musicians such as: Anouar Brahem, Nouvelle Vague, Brendan Perry (Dead Can Dance), Ozric Tentacles, Manhattan Vibes, etc. Tilemachos composed the music for several plays and performances such as: Kazin Barokk (commissioned by Cultural Capital of Europe Valletta 2018), The Cave (winner of the MTNow international competition 2018), Louisette: The backstage of a revolution (commissioned by Athens & Epidaurus Festival 2017 and Cultural Capital of Europe Elefsis 2021), REVOLT ATHENΣ (Presented for the European Parliament for Culture 2017 & First Prize Award for the REP, BE Festival Birmingham 2017), Adio Adio Amore (2013 Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch), D.OPA. (Les Hivernales – CDCN Avignon 2013), Woyzeck Quartet (Athens & Epidaurus Festival 2012), Don Juan (National Theater of Greece 2010), just to mention some. He participated as performer in: Dying as a Country (Athens & Epidaurus Festival 2007), Swan Lake City (National Theatre of Northern Greece – arranging Tchaikovsky and playing the guitar), The Night Of The Secrets (National Theatre of Greece), Dream Odyssey (National Theatre of Northern Greece), off the streets (Cultural Capital Of Europe Patras 2006), American Dream (Greek National Opera), META (Vyrsodepseio). He has composed music for the films: Anemistiras (D.Bitos, 2015), The stranger (K. Tsakiris 2009), Lines (Vasilis Mazomenos, 2016), Not to set foot in Athens (Μ. Mouzakis, 2002), Can U Feel it (F. Vlahakis, 2004). His CDs “Kyknostalagma/Swan Drip” and “Newborn” has been released by Ankh records. He lives in Athens and he also works as an educator in Special Education. Visit moussas.com.
JULIA KENT (Composer) is a Canadian, New York City-based, Vancouver, British Columbia-born, cellist and composer. She has performed as a member of Rasputina and with Antony and the Johnsons. She creates music using looped cello, found sounds, and electronics. In 2007, she released “Delay,” her first solo album, on Important Records. An EP, Last Day in July, was released for commercial distribution in 2010, and a second full-length record, Green and Grey, in 2011, on Tin Angel. In 2013 Kent moved to The Leaf Label, releasing her third solo album, Character, in March. Her album Asperities was released on Leaf on 30 October 2015. Kent spoke about the album in an interview, saying “I was thinking about the concept of difficulty. Whether in life or in nature – of conflict, of being troubled. The idea of friction. Also in geology, an asperity is some part of a fault line that doesn’t move which can create an earthquake, which is quite an evocative concept…In the music there is an inherent sense of dissonance; that things are too close for comfort. More generally, it seems like a particularly dark time in the world right now, and I think that definitely had an influence too”. Her composition “Dorval” was used in the 2008 film Trinidad, and in The Good Show, an episode of National Public Radio’s Radiolab. In 2011 her composition “Gardermoen,” from “Delay,” was used in Paolo Sorrentino’s movie This Must Be the Place. She composed music for the Canadian documentary film The Boxing Girls of Kabul, the short film Birthplace, “A Short History of Decay,” and “Oasis,” which won Best Short Film at the Seville European Film Festival 2015. She has also composed and performed music for theatre and dance, including productions by the Italian company Balletto Civile. As a solo artist, she has appeared at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, the Meltdown Festival in London, the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, the CTM festival in Berlin, The 24-Hour Drone in Hudson, NY and the Unsound festival in New York City. Visit juliakent.com.
STEPHANIE SHERRIFF (Video Artist) is an interdisciplinary sculptor, performer, and media artist. Her artwork is experiential in nature and consists of sculptural, time-based installations and performances that are often living, changing, and sometimes dying. In her process she observes, collects, deconstructs, and recomposes plants, light, sound, video, and scents in order to create abstracted, ephemeral forms and sensory experiences. She received an MFA in Art Practice from Stanford University in 2019 and a BA in Studio Art from San Francisco State University in 2014. Visit ssherriff.com.
ODC ENSEMBLE (Producer). ODC (Odyssey) Ensemble, established by theatre director Elli Papakonstantinou, is an award-winning theatre company based in Athens, Greece. ODC creates multidisciplinary performances that empower critical thinking with an emphasis on cutting edge music, new media and political discourse. ODC Ensemble have been based in a 3.000 sq.m. cultural space in Athens called “Vyrsopdeseio”, which they founded in 2011. The company’s works include: ODC after Homer (2002), Viciousness in the kitchen (2010), Μετά/After (2011), Woyzeck Quartet (2012), Skin (2012), Richard II (2014), REVOLT ATHENΣ (2015), Luisette: the Backstage of Revolution (2017), Τhe Cave (2018), Każin Barokk (2018), The Kindly Ones (2019) all directed by Elli Papakonstantinou. Among recent artistic achievements, the company has been nominated winner of the Music Theater Now 2018 International competition and has been awarded with a First Award Prize at the BE Festival for the REP 2017, Birmingham, UK, First Prize Award at the Edinburgh Festival, UK and more. The company has been supported by The Greek Ministry of Culture, the Arts Council of Great Britain of Denmark and of Sweden and has toured internationally. Visit https://elli.site/odc-ensemble/.
THE DIRECTORS COMPANY (Producer: Leah Michalos, Producing Director; Michael Parva, Artistic Director) is an award-winning, not-for-profit theatre company with a mission to develop and produce groundbreaking new plays and musicals. Among the works TDC has developed and produced: Irena’s Vow, by Dan Gordon, starring Tovah Feldshuh, directed by Michael Parva, which received an extended Off-Broadway run before transferring to the Walter Kerr Theater on Broadway, where it was honored with an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Outstanding New Broadway Play. Other recent Off-Broadway productions include the New York premiere of Terms of Endearment with Molly Ringwald, the world premieres of The Violin by Dan McCormick, The Road to Damascus by Tom Dulack On a Stool at the End of the Bar by Robert Callely and Almost Home by Walter Anderson, Jericho and Poetic License by Jack Canfora, and Murder in the First by Dan Gordon, directed by Michael Parva. Additional major productions developed or produced by TDC: Bat Boy: The Musical, with music by Larson Award-winner Laurence O’Keefe (Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best New Musical); The Milliner by Suzanne Glass; The Passion of Frida Kahlo, featuring Tony Award-winning actress Priscilla Lopez; Kilt by Jonathan Wilson (GLAAD Media Award nomination); AVOW by award-winning playwright Bill C. Davis; Tony Phelan and Joan Rater’s Good Will, which was optioned for a major motion picture; Bad Girls, adapted by award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates from her own short story; The Ballad of Little Jo(Richard Rodgers Award and a Kleban Award for Sarah Schlesinger’s libretto); Drifting Elegant by Stephen Belber (first ever Development Grant awarded by The Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays); and Once Upon a Time in New Jersey, a Richard Rodgers and Kleban Lyricist Award-winning musical by Susan DiLallo and Stephen Weiner. Visit www.directorscompany.org.
“OEDIPUS: Sex with Mum Was Blinding” is supported by
the Hellenic Republic, Ministry of Culture and Sports; the Neon Foundation;
the J.F. Costopoulos Foundation; ODC Ensemble; CCRMA; Stanford University.