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Embodying Gilgamesh: New Physical Language for Staging Epic Texts, 2009-2011

The Embodying Gilgamesh Theatre Research Collaborative is experimenting with new methods for manifesting representations of the human body found in ancient works of literature and specifically in the ancient Sumerian epic poem Gilgamesh. We will work as a rehearsal collaborative in partnership with actors from Theatre Novi Most and the department of Theatre Arts and Dance.

Recreating ancient texts as modern performance and incoprorating a careful study of ancient Sumerian culture and religion provides the basis for this cooperation between Theatre Arts and Dance and Classical and Near Eastern Studies. Taking inspiration from Jungian ideas about mythic archetypes and the “shadow aspect” of human consciousness, we have begun a search for a way to seamlessly link characters — from their shadow/mythic manifestation rooted in ancient forms, to their contemporary character’s physicality that is inspired by that shadow. To that end, we have structured the piece to take place in five distinct times and locations; ancient Uruk, Victorian England, the Vietnam war, the Iraq war and the Near Future. The completed piece will include layered video projection to create simultaneous but distinct “physical time signatures” for the multiple characters played by the twelve performers and a final performance will play at the Southern Theater September 24-October 3, 2010.

Collaborative Events

Conveners: Lisa Channer (Theatre Arts and Dance) and Eva von Dassow (Classical and Near Eastern Studies)

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