orpheus stomped in dirt

Sárba tiport Orfeusz [Orpheus Stomped in Dirt] (2010)
Orfeo mordiendo el polvo
Created by Carlos Rodero
Based on the Opera La favola d’Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi Alessandro Striggio
and various interpretations of the Greek Myth

Performed by: Tania Garrido, Takács Dorisz, Daniela H. Faith & Carlos Rodero
Balázs Elemér Group [Balázs Elemér, Balázs József & Lakatos Krisztián]

Intertitles translated by Karsai Gábor
Dramaturg: Carlos Rodero
Choreography: Daniela H. Faith
Training: Máthe Gabi
Costumes: Tabbouch Linda
Music: Claudio Monteverdi & Balázs Elemér Gruop
Light Design: Vajda Máté
Production: MISERO PROSPERO Project
Production Assistant: Boronyák Vivien & Monojlovits Eszter
Interpreter: Fahn Sarolta
Directing Assistent: Hajdók Ildikó

Stage & Direction: Carlos Rodero

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Orpheus Stomped in Dirt [Poster]

«One task of today’s humanity is to stomp myths to dirt
Unknown, unemployed philosopher from the end of the 20th century


Our performance Orpheus Stomped in Dirt endeavors to combine elements of dance and theatrical arts with other techniques, including the style clown or pantomime. Experimental in nature, it balances within the confines of a performance that exhibits a fusion of these diverse contemporary dance and theatrical approaches, resulting in an exciting, importunate and provocative impact.

Taking Claudio Monteverdi’s music, the first opera of his lifetime, we explore the Freudian language while discussing the frustration of love in order to create thematic connections about the essential phenomena of our lives: desolation, death, the imprisonment and threatening prospect of self-representation (narcissism).
We treat the theme with ironic humor and strive to interpret it as a cruel joke that evokes astonishment from the audience.

We operate with the most minimal set design. We try to exploit the possibilities an empty stage (space and set alike) can offer. The number of interpreters on stage is also limited. Through a rigid dramaturgy, we would like to use our assets consciously and creatively while paying particular attention to the importance of lights. In addition, we would like to emphasize the regenerating process of music.

The performance is, in effect, a production of Physical Theater.

Due to the originality of the music, our performance operates on two levels in two versions: one is the full-fledged stage performance and the other is a concert version with inserts of choreography. Detailed description is available in a separate document.

«Love means giving something you don’t have to someone who doesn’t want it
Jacques Lacan

«Nobody is like somebody else. Neither better, nor worse. And, if they both agree on this, that’s just a misunderstanding
Jean Paul Sartre

«I don’t think I love you,
I only love the plausible impossibility of loving you.»
Julio Cortázar

«For each man kills the thing he loves.»
Oscar Wilde


Our Interpretation

Orpheus, the genius enchanting artist, projects his self-love onto Eurydice, a beautiful but essentially plain woman, who is practicably the opposite of what Orpheus represents.

He needs an idealized refuge in order to escape himself; therefore, he creates and experiences an alternative reality. This hinterland functions more like a mirror of his self-love as someone of Orpheus’s eminence and power cannot really love anybody else but himself.

The object he loves, therefore, is stripped from all essentiality and Orpheus, while identifying with it, in destined to be confused over his sexual identity. Inherent in this identification, he gains an enormous narcissistic gratification that boosts his creative energies.

When Eurydice dies, Orpheus recoils and feels deep resentment that is, possibly, also accompanied with a sense of relief. He feels inclined to exchange the object of his affection with another in order to reinstate the balance lost. In his contemptuous wrath, he believes that he can get Eurydice back and embarks on a journey to find her. His journey, however, is marked with the realization of his death-enticing power replacing any emotions that may have had towards Eurydice.

He realizes that it is impossible to conceive of death in its depths from the other side of life. Instead, he finds some kind of an anteroom, a shocking baroque hallway, a scene that makes him realize that all things of crucial importance lay in disappearance. When the opportunity to reclaim Eurydice dissipates, he becomes aware of his cowardice and desperately confronts himself within the boundaries of self-destruction.

THE MUSIC: Balázs Elemér Trio

«Elemér is one of the best drummers around right now, in my opinion. He plays with such musicality and finesse and has the ability to listen inside each musical moment with the kind of spontaneous decision making that allows everyone that plays with him to sound their best. He also has a wonderful touch on the instrument – l always enjoy the chance to play with him and to hear him.»

Pat Metheny

The Balázs Elemér Group, one of the most popular jazz bands in Hungary, was founded in 2000 by Elemér Balázs, a jazz drummer of international reputation. The band, consisting of highly qualified jazz musicians, has achieved great results at home (e.g. Fonogram Prize in 2005), and has built upon its success through impressive performances at prestigious European jazz festivals (e.g. Vienna, London, Berlin, The Hague, Prague, Bratislava, Skopje).The Group has created a strikingly unique melodious sound underscored by interesting rhythmic patterns, and given a fascinating texture by the tonal contrast of the male and female lead-vocals. Their music is extremely versatile owing to their spirited blending of jazz and the folk-music of the region. It’s ethno-jazz at its best, inspired by highly divergent musical cultures. This variety characterizes the four albums released by the Group so far. Each of these albums creates a completely unique atmosphere, a musical world of its own.


«Let’s play that we don’t have the slightest idea how to interpret Orpheus’s tragedy. Let’s play that what we have to tell did not exactly happen like that or not exactly then. Let’s play in a way, so that the audience can empathize with the tragedy of Orpheus, or that of Eurydice. Let’s see whether we can, instead of showing, invoke and recall the pain. Viscerally. »

Radnóti Judit – Kikötő Online

«A noteworthy experiment. A bold direction that takes a more difficult approach when it completely gives up on the conventional and familiar safety of linear story-telling and emotional projection. Performance is as challenging for the interpreters on stage as reception is for the audience. »

Szabolcs Szekeres, a collaborator from Z’Artkör

«The fluttering movements and the arched bouyance of [Daniela’s] hands grab the attention already at the first moment, rendering an elemental experience in the ecstatic moments of death. Elemér Balázs, the unequalled jazz drummer, accompanies her dance – if his solo could be called accompaniment at all. The music is nothing but a thunder of percussion is totally breathing together with the dancer, musically depicting the dancer’s emotions, counterpointing her movements, advancing phases of the choreography, while providing an awe-inspiringly acoustic frame for the fantastic series of movements.»


«The continuity of the [three dancers’] movement repeatedly breaks. Besides some barren moments, this peculiar fragmentation, with the adjoining opera transformed into gloomy music by the Trio, generate discomfort, furthermore, in its perfectly composed moments, mortal fear in the more sensitive audience member.»

Pethő Tibor, Magyar Nemzet

«Equally effective the desperation interpreted through dance in a bucket to Elemér Balázs’s drum solo towards the end of the play. Daniela H. Faith and Elemér Balázs are in a dialog with each other: the dancer moves to the music, while the drummer plays music to the dance; their improvisation adds a fresh and uplifting drive to the whole performance.»

Radnóti Judit, Kikötő Önline