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Galway 2020: love, power and death in Gilgamesh film

Gilgamesh, Macnas Gilgamesh, Macnas Photo by Julia Dunin

Macnas, master storytellers in spectacle, present Gilgamesh, a film which will premiere on Sunday 12 September at the Town Hall Theatre, Galway. A 22-minute film shot on location in the west of Ireland, Gilgamesh will be screened in front of a live, socially distanced, in-person audience, followed by a live ‘In Conversation’ with director Noeline Kavanagh and playwright Marina Carr. There will be three screenings throughout the day, with a limited in-person audience per government guidelines. 

Tickets are free and will be available to book online via the Town Hall Box Office from 10am on today 2 September. Visit here. On Thursday 16 September the film will receive its UK premiere at the London Irish Centre. For tickets and information, visit here. Gilgamesh will also be available to View On Demand for 48 hours only on 18 and 19 September 2021 via Eventive. Visit Macnas.com for more information.

Filmed on location around Ireland earlier this year, the film completes a series of stunning shorts inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh – the oldest surviving work of world literature; an epic poem with themes of love, power and death that are relevant to the present day.  Firmly rooted in the landscapes of Ireland, this is a beautiful Macnas-infused interpretation of an ancient story, the first ever hero’s journey written over 3,000 years ago.  

Gilgamesh brings the magical large-scale images and stunning artistry of the internationally acclaimed spectacle theatre company Macnas to the big screen for the very first time to reveal a story which explores the fundamental themes of why we exist and how we exist as human beings – leadership, love, power, death and environmental crisis – to an international audience.  Join Macnas to be immersed in another world, from the majestic city of Uruk and the bogs and deserts of earth, to the realm of the Gods. All represented by spectacular landscape of Ireland. 

The award-winning creative team includes playwright Marina Carr, cinematographer Colm Hogan, co- designers Julian Crouch and Orla Clogher, costume designer Cherie White, music and sound design Nick Powell, joined by a stellar team of local artists and makers who all collaborated to shapeshift and translate this mythical story for a whole new audience. 

Gilgamesh is directed by Noeline Kavanagh with a cast that includes Curtis-Lee Ashqar as Gilgamesh, Aaron Edo as Enkidu, Maeve Fitzgerald as Ninsun, Ella-Lily Hyland as Shamhat, Úna Kavanagh as Ishtar, San Shella as Enlil and Sean McGinley as Uta.

Its a Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture Commission.

The story

The story centres on Gilgamesh, a young tyrannical king who rules the majestic city of Uruk. Superhuman - two thirds God, one third man, Gilgamesh is obsessed with fame. A cruel and unjust king, he wants to find the secret to immortality, become a God and live forever. The citizens of Uruk cry out to the Gods for help. The Gods listen and create Enkidu, a wild man sent to challenge and rival Gilgamesh.

Written 1,500 years before Homer wrote the Illiad and the Odyssey, the Epic of Gilgamesh (pronounced GIL-GA-MESH) was discovered in the ruins of the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh, an ancient city located in ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day northern Iraq), by local archaeologist Hormuzd Rassam in 1853. Written in cuneiform (the writing of this ancient people) on 12 stone tablets over 3,000 years ago, it is widely regarded as the earliest surviving work of imaginative literature.


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