Like a she-wolf howling at the moon, Angeliki Papoulia reads the first few verses of Hölderlin's “Menon's Lament for Diotima” in the semi-darkness of twilight. She summons on the stage a vast vacant lot that looks like an industrial wasteland, the “zone.” With Hölderlin's elegy as a starting point, and Andrei Tarkovsky's film Stalker and Arkady and Boris Strugatsky's novel Roadside Picnic as major influences, the blitztheatregroup has invented with 6 a.m. How to disappear completely a science fiction odyssey, at once poetic and theatrical. Seven characters yearning for space gather in the darkest hours of the night to carry out mysterious tasks, like workers on a construction site. And, just as everything around them takes on an unsettling tinge, the space starts changing and transforming, becomes tame, suggesting the potential for something else... At a time when the language of technocratic decisions has overwhelmed us and forced us to adapt to it without knowing what we believe in, the blitztheatregroup tries to articulate a new manifesto of escape. How to imagine a different language, a different future—far from a present made of fear and confusion? How to forge new convictions? How to transform our environment and ourselves? It is 6 in the morning, a new day begins.
The blitztheatregroup is a Greek collective founded in 2004 by three artists, Angeliki Papoulia, Christos Passalis, and Yorgos Valais, whose founding principle was to “understand the theatre as a field where people meet each other and exchange ideas in the most essential way, not a field for virtuosity and ready-made truths.” The group introduced their first play, Motherland, in 2006, and created in 2007 New Order, a fake game show. They followed it up in 2009 with Joy Division, Goethe's Faust, and Katerini. That same year, as a response to the demonstrations in Athens, the blitztheatregroup created Guns! Guns! Guns!, an over-the-top review of the revolutions of the 20th century. It is with this show that European audiences first discovered the work of the collective, notably at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, at the Théâtre en Mai festival in Dijon, and in other European cities. In Greece, a country in crisis whose people are disillusioned and disgruntled, they created two shows to say goodbye to a world that is disappearing, Don Quixote and Late Night, the latter a ball set amid the rubbles of a devastated Europe that has toured the entire continent.
Nicknamed by Heidegger “the poet of poets” and recognised for his work thanks to Nietzsche, Hölderlin is now seen as one of the greatest German poets, and the emblematic figure of German Romanticism, a movement much more violent, troubled, and deep than its French counterpart. The prophet of a new language and of pure poetry, he wrote Menon's Lament for Diotima as a poetic conclusion to his affair with the young mother of one of his pupils. This long elegy in nine movements, with its sweeping yet clear composition, is the parting song that Menon addresses to the Diotima of Plato's Symposium.
Conception and direction blitztheatregroup
Dramaturgy Stefanie Carp et Nikos Flessas
Lights Tassos Palaioroutas
Sound Coti K - Yorgos Konstantinidis
Stage design Efi Birba
Costumes Vassilia Rosanna
Choreography Yanis Nikolaidis
Assistant director Vasia Attarian
With Aris Armaganidis, Aris Balis, Michalis Kimonas, Angeliki Papoulia, Christos Passalis, Areti Seintaridou, Yorgos Valais
Production Onassis Cultural Centre Athènes, blitztheatregroup
Co-production São Luis Teatro Municipal (Lisbonne), La Filature Scène nationale de Mulhouse, Festival d'Avignon, Festival Reims Scènes d'Europe, La Comédie de Reims Centre dramatique national, Théâtre de la Ville - Paris, Nouveau Théâtre de Montreuil, Ligne Directe (Paris)
Les Oeuvres complètes by Friedrich Hölderlin are published by éditions Gallimard, collection La Pléiade.