MA Theatre Lab student Konstantinos Symsiris reports from the company's trip to Ancient Messene, during which they performed Prometheus Bound at the International Youth Festival of Ancient Drama. Read Part 1 of the blog here.
The day of the performance had arrived. The sun rising warmly behind the mountains was the best omen of what was approaching.
We travelled back to the ancient ruins and started to warm up our bodies and voices within the amphitheatre and amongst the flora of the place. Our polyphonic singing rehearsals echoed on the Greek mountains.
The audience gradually arrived and the theatre was full. Almost 600 people were applauding, welcoming us and encouraging us to perform. The team moved behind the theatre to stand by and, after a short speech by our beloved course leader Andrew Visnevski, the performance started.
From the very first moment of our stepping onto the stage, we felt the warm vibe of the audience embracing our efforts and listening attentively to our story. Personally, I remember moments in my speech when, as Prometheus, I was referring to the sun and the sky and addressing them in real time; while beyond and above the audience on the hill, crowned with the ruins of the ancient temple of Aphrodite, was another reference point for me.
Our connection with the play through nature and the space itself was extraordinary. Another unique moment was a sonic boom heard during the performance. Our trance state, engagement with the play and connection with the audience has transported us to a different state of mind and space - we even thought for a moment that this very sonic boom could have been Zeus striking in angry reassertion of his high might.
The performance was triumphant and ended with the most enthusiastic clapping by an audience who stood up and embraced us again with their positive energy.
After the performance we were welcomed to lunch and then to our course leader's home, a magnificent stone house on the edge of a hill near the village Megali Mantineia. We drank wine and ate ice cream under the Greek sun, which was getting warmer and warmer. The evening followed and we had our Greek dinner and precious sleep before our last performance in the square in new Messini the following morning.
We woke up early for our make-up and warm up before our last performance in Messini. We arrived in a small amphitheatre in the main square of the town and hugged each other before going on stage for the last time with Prometheus Bound. This was an extremely touching moment for all of us, as we realised that we had been a great team so far and that this family journey was soon coming to an end. We were together and, for a shared moment, remembered what we've been through. This was our team moment: this has been our family for the past few months, which have been truly unique.
This time the audience was different, yet with the same openness and attention towards our performance and warm applause again followed the show. After our work had finished, it was time for some fun and rest and we went directly to the nearby beach. Although the weather was chilly, we ran into the sea like little children and played in the water. We sunbathed and drank Greek wine. This was a moment of deep enjoyment and fun, a moment we all needed and deserved after so many months of hard work.
This journey to Greece has been an extraordinary experience for all of us. Not only were we enabled to some extent to conceive what it means to be Greek, but we also realised how great it is to be part of a family and work as an ensemble towards a common goal. The Greek sun, food and the caring people that we've met all helped us embrace this journey towards the ancient but modern play - a journey towards being together and communicating something which is beyond words: humanity.
We can simply be grateful and look forward to our next trip to Greece, the country where skies are blue and the sun shines, and the country where theatre was born.