The Odyssey reaches home — or?
Meeting the Odyssey will set out for its last tour in June and July 2016: Greece, the home of Odysseus himself, but also of so many other legends, myths, artists, poets, philosophers and scientists. The home of our culture, to make it simple.
When we planned the Meeting the Odyssey project in 2012, we decided that the last tour would happen in Greece as a tribute to the mentioned cultural heritage. Another reason was to show solidarity with Greece in times of economical crisis. We wanted to go against the trend of blaming the south for the crisis. We wanted to do something that would unite Europeans instead of dividing us. With a ship filled with theatre we wanted to enhance intercultural dialogue and overcome prejudices.
It was not easy for Odysseus to reach Ithaka. It is not easy for us to go to Greece either. Due to the financial crisis and the refugee situation, due to distances and communication challenges, the tour has been very difficult to set. But now finally we have a tour, we have places to go to and we have hopefully also people to see the shows!
We are very proud to begin the tour in Leros in the Dodecanese, a small island known for its traditional music and dance activities. From there we continue to another unique island, Lesvos, a green and big island still not destroyed by mass tourism. In Lesvos we will perform in different villages. In both islands there are refugee camps, and if we are allowed, we will perform also in the camps.
From Lesvos we sail towards Elefsina and Lavrio in the Attika region. Lavrio is the place of the oldest amphi theatre in Greece, and it is very close to Cape Sounion with the Poseidon Temple at its very point and the place where King Aegeus jumped off the cliff after spotting the black sails of his son Theseus at the horizon. Elefsina is one of three candidates for the Culture Capital of 2021. A small and interesting town due to its mix of ancient history and modern industry. Elefsina used to be the most important sacred place for pilgrims, after Delfi. In Elefsina the shows will be in an old refinery area by the port.
From the Attica Peninsula we will head East again, now to Skyros, a small island in the middle of the Aegean. Skyros is the island where the Magnetes used to live, a tribe of ancient Greece. King Theseus was said to have died in Skyros, while the son of Achilles maybe was born here. From Skyros we sail to Icaria, the island named after Icarus who is said to have fallen into the sea somewhere nearby. In Ikaria the people are known to become very old, and kept very young to body and soul. It is also known for its Panagiri parties, where people sing and dance through the whole night. Meeting the Odyssey will perform in at least three different villages around the island.
Our odyssey has been long. Not as long as the original one, but instead experienced by many more than only one man. Around 350 artists have participated in the project so far. In more than 25 ports. Giving 110 performances for almost 20000 people. So there has been a lot, and there will be more iIn Greece this summer.
Join the Odyssey with us.
Matilda von Weissenberg
Meeting the Odyssey is a social and artistic collaborative project sailing from the Baltic to the Mediterranean Sea. Each summer from 2014 to 2016, artists and organizers from different European countries travel together, giving workshops and performing theatre pieces. The project combine elements of the Odyssey, contemporary themes relevant to Europe and stories collected through exchanges with the local population. But Meeting the Odyssey is also a journey in itself : bringing people together through long term collaboration, and discovering new artistic landscapes and cultural attitudes to develop synergies at the European level.
In 2014, the ship Hoppet sailed in the Baltic Sea, in 2015 in the Mediterranean Sea and this year, the tour will take place in Greece. Check out the itinerary here.