After the music theatre production of Euripides’ Suppliants in 2006 (a co-production between De Veenfabriek in Leiden and Theseum Ensemble in Athens), Antiek Theater Herman Altena and De Veenfabriek engaged in a new collaboration in 2013. Artistic director Paul Koek invited Herman Altena to write a play for music theatre. The result is a new ‘Greek tragedy’ entitled Hyllos. Eight musicians from the renowned Asko|Schönberg Ensemble for contemporary music participated in the production. The American composer Derek Bermel wrote the music. Hyllos was performed in Leiden (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden) in November, and in Groningen (Der Aa-kerk) and Amsterdam (De Duif) in December 2013.
Hyllos is a political tragedy about democratic ideals and their drawbacks. The story is situated in Trachis. After the death of the old king Herakles, his son Hyllos takes power. He wants to replace the autocratic regime of his father by an open democracy, modelled on the democratic reforms Theseus introduced in Athens. Theseus’ democratic system brought Athens great prosperity and turned the city state into a regional economic and political superpower.
Hyllos’ plans are thwarted by the old loyalists of Herakles and their leader Lykos, who was responsible for maintaining the civil order during Herakles’ kingship. Lykos refuses to sacrifice his old power for democratic ideals with a most uncertain outcome. Then refugees from Athens arrive, reporting on the turmoil that the new democratic system has caused there.
In Hyllos, the citizens of Trachis and Athens long for a new future, and the political shape of that future is at stake in the fierce debates between their leaders. These exploit and manipulate the hope and fears of their citizens by intimidations and by statements which are impossible to verify.
Hyllos is inspired on the formal character of Greek tragedy, the most ancient form of music theatre in the Western theatre tradition. Songs and spoken parts alternate, and the text as a whole features a broad palette of metrical patterns – much broader than what was customary in any ancient Greek tragedy.
Review in English: »Laura Swift’s APA-blog
Directed by Paul Koek
Text Herman Altena
Music Derek Bermel
Dramaturgy Paul Slangen
Set design Theun Mosk
Costumes Marjolijn Brouwer
Film director and concept Bobbie Koek
Film camera Thomas van Krugten
Acting Reinout Bussemaker, Michael Bloos, Jacobien Elffers, Joep van der Geest, Milena Haverkamp, Bas Maassen, Lizzy Timmers, Sterre Konijn (TIME student), Lien Pisters (TIME student)
Musicians Nadia Frissen (violin), Marieke Grotenhuis (accordion), Mei-Yi Lee (percussion), Ton van der Meer, John van Oostrum, Toon van Ulsen (trombone), Anna voor de Wind (clarinet), Rutger Woudenberg (trumpet), Joann Whang (cello), Jan Erik van Regteren Altena (viola)
Technical co-ordination Joost Verlinden
Technics Kas van Huisstede
Production leader Anne-Marie Geldhof
Production apprentice Gina Beuk
Hyllos is produced by De Veenfabriek and Asko|Schönberg
in collaboration with the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden
Première 16 november 2013
Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden
Leiden: 13, 14, 15 (try-outs), 16 (première), 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29 November
Amsterdam, De Duif: 3, 4, 5, 6 December
Groningen, Der Aa-kerk: 12, 13 December
>> Derek Bermel