On the eve of his final odes and hymns, German poet Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843) composed three versions of a dramatic poem on the suicide of the early Greek thinker, Empedokles of Acragas. Based upon these three versions, Zuidpool has composed a fourth version.
EMPEDOKLES is a visual, musical and literary performance in the original language by four actresses, in a continuum of live music and manipulated video.
EMPEDOKLES is a refusal to accept social, political and biological boundaries. Both an intense goodbye and a stunning vision of the future.
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"A most intriguing experience to see and to hear... focussing on the language of Hölderlin, a wonderful kind of German, acquiescent and brewing at the time. That language, and the fantastic visuals and the incredibly beautiful music, turn this into a trip."
"Delighted about the guts to perform this play (and to do it this way), and about the talent of Sofie Decleir, who once again plays in such a sober, strong yet vulnerable style...
Bert Dockx continuosly produces wonderful melodies with his guitars, from balming and melancholy sounds to heavy, disturbing pieces. The music creates a fantastic atmosphere and gives the performance a tactile touch."
"an extraordinary experiment... a theatrical approach that's even more powerful than all previous formal experiments of Theater Zuidpool"
"a radical adaptation that combines visual, textual and musical performing arts"
The person of Empedokles speaks to the imagination. He lived in Sicily around 440 b.C. Scientist, philosopher, and poet, he wrote about the four elements Water, Air, Earth and Fire, that are being separated and united by the forces of love and hate. But Empedokles was a politician too, in troubled times of tensions between tyranny and democracy. And next to that, he was a healer and a self declared prophet. Like some sort of über homo universalis, he is supposed to have jumped into the volcano Mount Etna in order to prove his divinity. Hubris, pure delusion, act of God, absolute detachment, the ultimate human striving … or something else entirely?
EXTRA: two seminars on Empedokles & Hölderlin
FRIDAY FEB 20th - AMSTERDAM
15-17u: seminar Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
co-organised by 'Metamofoses van het christendom in literatuur, kunst en filosofie'. Prof. Dr. Laurens ten Kate (VU Metamorfoses) and Prof. Dr. Bart Philipsen (KU Leuven, translator of Empedokles) talk to Prof. Dr. Dirk De Schutter (Universiteit Leuven en Antwerpen) about his latest book 'Het catastrofale. Essay over de eindigheid'(Klement-Pelckmans 2014). Free entrance. More details soon.
19-20u pre-event Brakke Grond - Rode Zaal
Prof. Dr. Bart Philipsen, Jorgen Cassier (director, Zuidpool) and Prof. Dr. Laurens ten Kate introduce the play and the staging. (performance starts at 20.30).
FRIDAY FEB 27th - GENT
10u-12u30, Vooruit, foyer van de theaterzaal
- Hölderlin specialists author Stefan Hertmans and Prof. Dr. Bart Philipsen (KULeuven) about the unfinished tragedy Der Tod des Empedokles.
- Directors Jorgen Cassier and Koen van Kaam interviewed by dramaturg Claire Swyzen (VUB) about their staging.
- Translator Henri Bloemen (KULeuven) and Gys-Walt Van Egdom (VUB / Hogeschool Zuyd) about different languages on stage.
und es hängt, ein ehern Gewölbe
der Himmel über uns, es lähmt Fluch
die Glieder den Menschen, und ihre stärkenden, die erfreuenden
Gaaben der Erde sind, wie Spreu, es
Spottet unser, mit ihren Geschenken die Mutter
und alles ist Schein –
and it looms, a brazen vault
the sky above us, curse lames
the limbs of humankind, and the nourishing, gladdening
gifts of earth are like chaff, she
mocks us with her presents, our mother
and all is semblance –
(English by David Farell Krell)