Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 31 August 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 31 AUGUST 2019 13 CULTURE mythology in favour of Greek, and creating two additional plot lines into a more complex version to the original linear approach where three super heroines emerge: adventurous nymph Sylvia, fierce goddess Artemis and impish Psyche. "It works very well and is complemented by the music. He reimagined the whole thing really," Mr McAllister said of the work that diverges from previous efforts by some of the world's foremost choreographers, that include Frederick Ashton (1952), David Bintley (1993), John Neumeier (1997) and Mark Morris (2004). The interwoven love stories featuring three strong women navigating desire and deception in the realm of gods and fantastical creatures required a year of academic research before Welch was ready to even begin representing the work on stage. "I think for all of us, this has been an opportunity to delve deeply into Greek mythology," Mr McAllister said, outlining the family tree of demi-gods and goddesses. "You know these characters, but you don't know their back story. Stanton did a huge amount of work, he made profiles of all the characters and thoroughly researched their stories in Greek mythology before cutting and pasting all of these into a document we all got. So it was like doing our own little thesis, a short course on Greek mythology for dummies, because he did all the work for us and we read through the characters and what they bring to the story and their relationships." Welch created his "own palate". "He painted his own picture out of it all, but anyone who knows Greek mythology will recognise the Greek characters even though they slightly diverge in their stories," said Mr McAllister. "We keep telling the audience members to make sure they read the synopsis. Once you know who is who, it is easy to follow." WAY OF THE FUTURE The intricacies of the work intrigued audiences in Houston, who were impressed by the army of nymphs in the romantic comedy of errors. Only a few details will be tweaked for the Australian stage. "From the very beginning we went into this together as a coproduction," Mr McAllister said of the collaboration. "I think it's the way of the future because these big lavish productions are expensive when you co-produce with another company. Working this way, you can make the work more lavish, more beautiful, because you're halving the cost. "It means we get to do more new productions. For the dancers it means that they are doing more new works, which is really exciting." Mr McAllister, who values diversity and cultural exchange, says "we've done 35 national tours and we've gone out into the world," while also acknowledging the diversity of the corps that has included the participation of two Greek Australian dancers in the past. Now, embarking on his last year as the troupe's Artistic Director, he is proud to be presenting this quality work. He imagines how well it would sit if performed at the Herod Atticus Theatre, at the foot of the Acropolis. He remembers performing there in 1988, just five years after joining The Australian Ballet. He lists the two mix programmes in detail. "Performing at 9 o'clock at night and seeing the stars above as we danced, and just being at that venue where you know that performances have been staged by people for thousands of years is very special," he said, imagining how well 'Sylvia' would sit at such a venue. Though he can't recapture the magic of the performance of his youth, his career is coming full circle with a largescale work that captures the essence of Greek mythology. The gods will no doubt smile on the work with its focused choreography, 77 superb actor-dancers and draping costumes that come together terrifically thanks to the work of a world-class team of creatives. The sumptuous sets and costumes were created by the renowned ballet and opera designer Jerome Kaplan, the mastermind behind Lucas Jervies' 2018 production of Spartacus. Digital pioneer Wendell K Harrington has provided stunning projections, whereas Lisa J Pinkham gives atmosphere to this lively tale. After two decades as artistic director, Mr McAllister leaves with an amazing work that audiences will love, along with the 2019 Creative Partnership Award for Arts Leadership, recognising his ongoing support and commitment to The Australian Ballet as its longest-serving artistic director for the last 20 years. 'Sylvia' is performed from 31 Aug-10 Sep at the State Theatre, Arts Centre Melbourne (100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC). Tickets: $37-$274. To book, call 1300 182 183/ visit artscentremelbourne.com.au. Heads to the Sydney Opera House from 8-23 November. The Australian Ballet Artistic Director David McAllister is proud to present ‘Sylvia’, an amalgam of Greek myths. PHOTO: JUSTIN RIDLER Exploring the role of myth in antiquity and its relevance today M Principals Karina Gonzalez as Sylvia and Connor Walsh as the Shepherd. yths were present in many aspects of ancient Greek Melody Mennite as Psyche with Charles Louis Yoshiyama as Eros. society and were very important to many. The Pan-Arcadian Association will explore this history in a lecture and discussion on Tuesday 3 September titled 'Greek Mythology from a Philosophical Perspective'. The evening will focus on how myths were a primary way of preserving and passing on cultural wisdom from one generation to the next in the pre-philosophy era when myths provided explanations for the way things are, described the nature of the world, provided a description of Greek history, and also served as entertainment. For Greeks, myths were also a source of inspiration. However, some ancient Greek philosophers and other thinkers rejected their myths by completely departing from tradition and religion, and instead focusing on finding ways to explain natural phenomena that did not concern the gods. Meanwhile others remained religious, but rejected the myths as they found the details to be too unpleasant, with examples found in the likes of Xenophanes, Isocrates and Plato. Some adopted a more creative approach by dedrafting the myths by creating their own narratives and gods, while others interpreted the stories as allegories. Regardless of the chosen path, in antiquity myth continued to play an important role in society and philosophy. The lecture and academic discussion will be led by Dr Christopher Gribbin from the University of Melbourne, with necessary explanations in Greek. A public historian specialising in ancient Greece and Rome, Dr Christopher Gribbin has also taught at Monash and La Trobe universities. He is actively involved in bringing Classics to the community in a meaningful and entertaining way, and delivers a summer school for the public each year at the Hellenic Museum and has worked on special events with the Museum and Humanities 21. He has produced educational materials for the ABC and the History Teachers' Association of Victoria. Dr Gribbin also leads cultural tours visiting ancient sites with Australians Studying Abroad and regularly presents lectures to community groups, professional organisations and school groups. When: Tuesday 3 September, 6.30-8.30 pm Where: Pan-Arcadian Association 'O Kolokotronis' (570 Victoria St, North Melbourne VIC) Coffee, tea and sweets will be provided during the event.
24 Aug 2019
07 September 2019