May 19, 2010 19:00
Gospels of Childhood tells the last story of flesh – after love, after humiliation, after death – an impossible story of resurrection.
The interest of Teatr ZAR in Gnostic elements of the dawn of Christianity was the initial impulse to the Gospels of Childhood project. The show swings between two paths: the story of the resurrection of Lazarus evoked through the words of his sisters Martha and Mary and the “testimony of Mary Magdalene” which, according to some Gnostic sources, covered an important role among the apostles and was, in fact, Lazzaro’s sister.
Among the texts included in the show, many of the little known apocryphal gospels such as those of Mary Magdalene, Philip and Thomas, and fragments by Fedor Dostoevsky and Simone Weil.
Teatr Zar has collected the songs of the show during the expeditions in Georgia, Bulgaria and Greece, conducted between 1999 and 2003. Of great importance is the work done with the population of Svaneti, who lives in the highest part of the Caucasus Mountains. This tribal people from centenary traditions have kept live funeral songs, still considered the oldest form of polyphony in Georgia and probably in the world. The second musical theme of the project includes the liturgical songs of the orthodox monastic Republic of Mount Athos. These songs, connected to the Pascha period (Easter), form the last part of the show, the consolamentum.
Anhelli. The Calling is a tribute to the Polish Romantic poet Juliusz Slowacki and his journey from Naples to the Holy Land, via Alexandria, Cairo and Damasco, during which he wrote the poem Anhelli. The performance’s musical core is based on Byzantine and Sardinian hymns as well as Orthodox Irmoi.
Anhelli’s theme is one that resonates with the essence of theatre and its place in this world. It is a theme of unity and disintegration of life, of corporality, of our own selves. It is a theme of possession. Of making a vessel for the other, for a stranger’s life, even a future life, out of our own selves. This is a theme of being possessed by an angel.
How can we provide an angel with transit through a human body; how can we let that angel live there for a moment? In what musical form? In what vibration?
Anhelli calls for small country wooden churches where we can remain enclosed in aloneness. Closed within. Instead of cathedrals – small temples of the heart; small churches of the body; chapels and meetings halls. Where we can call the spirit of forefathers; call the Angels.