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Eleusis 2023, The Free Besieged

Eleusis 2023 Eleusis 2023 Photo by Karol Jarek

The emblematic poem “The Free Besieged,” by Dionysios Solomos, comes to life through the voices of the residents of Elefsina, directed by Eleni Efthymiou and with an original score by Sofia Kamagianni, at the premises of the Parking lot.

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821, Eleusis 2023 European Capital of Culture presents the project “The Free Besieged,” one of the top works by Dionysios Solomos, directed by Eleni Efthymiou, with an original score by Sofia Kamagianni and the participation of the city’s residents. The performance will run for two evenings, on Friday, June 25 and on Saturday, June 26, 2021 at the Parking lot of the Old Olive Mill in Elefsina. Admission is free with entry tickets and a telephone reservation is required. 

The poetic composition is inspired by the siege of Messolonghi and the exodus, one of the events that decisively influenced the course of the Greek Revolution. The conversation between the past and the present, the reinterpretation of the historical events that marked the course of the modern Greek state, the relationship between those Besieged and their present counterparts in a modern city with a long history, are some of the themes explored through the site-specific performance directed by Eleni Efthymiou, in collaboration with the residents of Elefsina.

The demands of 1821 for freedom, and the incessant struggle of the people for resistance against any tyrannical imposition, as recorded by Solomos in his incomplete works, remain imperatives—with only slight differentiations—200 years later, within the performance’s interaction with Solomos’ text.

The action is part of the anniversary program of Eleusis 2023 European Capital of Culture, under the general title “Elefsina and the Revolution.”

Director’s Note

Is there perhaps something that unites us all, under a common truth? Can we ever get rid of the inherent component that divides us, and agree to a common vision and a common action?

What do we need to be deprived of, in order for the words “together” and “solidarity” to become synonymous with breathing?

Here in Elefsina, the city of Aeschylus, of history and the ancients, industry, culture and the barbaric environmental catastrophe; in this modern city, where people from all over Greece and the world share a common place… A diverse crowd of people, each with their own references and their own experiences, composes the group of the modern Besieged. The words of Solomos’ text echo on their lips, in a narration concerning the recent past, but also the here and now; a relentless present and a future that hovers above us like an inverted question mark. 

The Besieged are waiting, preparing and proceeding to a universal conflict against authority, against the besieger, and against everything that limits them and deprives them of life and dignity. And, somewhere in this conflict, they are united, through a common need, in a common fantasy, a common truth—that of the infinite desire for freedom—which is never silenced, even though, in order to find it, we may need to be deprived of our security and comfort, or even of our very lives. 

Contributors here.




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