Artic - Show review - English translation

Bodyterranean - the show: human body meets traditional music

Bodyterranean is the creation of Simone Mongelli and his team, that we saw las Thursday at the Rabbit Hole Theatre.

Inspired by the words "Body" and "Mediterranean", the show is based on the album of Simone Mongelli, published at the end of 2016, as a result of a long-term research on blending the contemporary language of Body Music with the archaic language of Greek and Southern-Italian tradition, using exclusively the sounds of the body for rendering any sound and melodic element.

In the album he features popular and respected artists form Greece and abroad, from the international Body Music scene as well as the Greek traditional and «a cappella» scenes, like Areti Ketime, Maria Koti, Manos Achalinotopoulos, Alexandros Kapsokavadis, «Pleiades» and «Stringless» vocal ensembles, «Word of Mouth» beat-box duo, Thanos Daskalopoulos.

About Simone Mongelli

The creator of Bodyterranean holds a MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Bologna (Italy), and a degree in traditional percussion instruments from the F. Nakas Conservatory in Athens (Greece), after he had first started to study traditional percussions from Southern Italy and from the Mediterranean on his own. He wrote and directed three theatre shows, based on improvisation and on the blending of different artistic languages, using musicians, dancers, actors, street-artists.

He has been dealing with Body Music since 2008. In Greece he has collaborated with several bands and artists, playing rock, reggae, Greek traditional music, Southern-Italian traditional music and other genres. He has worked with the Lykeio Ellinidon, musicians and artists as David Lynch, Giorgos Kotsinis, Grigoris Kapsalis, Maria Farantouri, Thanos Mikroutsikos, Zacharias Karounis, Yiota Nega, Vassilis Lekkas and many others...

A few words about Body Music

To be able to understand and "see" the meaning of Bodyterranean, we have to know what "Body Music" is.

It actually means simply to make music using exclusively the human body. Or, better, it is a practice dating back to archaic times, probably connected with ritual forms and religious ceremonials. Today it is acknowledged as a part of physical theatre, combining music, rhythm and movement in the framework of performing. The primitive power of rhythm, which exists in everybody, is consciously expressed and developed in order to drive the performer-artist towards a physically complete experience.

About Bodyterranean - the show

In Mongelli's show, the scene is imaginarily enlarged and loses its physical limits. There is no scenography, but it is suggested. The audience is involved in an always changing reality, where characters communicate in a different language than the one we normally use, while bodies blend and interplay through sound and image, mirroring on each other. An "iconography of sound", through a game of rhythm, coordination and repetitions, in combination with the echoes of traditional music from our country, and from neighbor Southern Italy.

 

Every unit is a song, or every song is a story. Small single-acts, that compose, through musical words, the Bodyterranean collection. The connections developed by the performers, create several patterns, diagonals, parallel and straight lines, delimiting or adapting the scene with the only help of microphone and stands.

 

The bodies themselves are the speakers and the instruments producing music. Diaphragm, chest, throat, pharynx, mouth, hands, knees, arms are just some of the means they use to tell us their own story, and they make it look so simple, as if it were the only way to talk, to sing, to cry and to fall in love.

The performers

Director Mongelli is on stage as the sixth performer together with Sissy Pintela, Georgina Vardoulaki, Agapi Diaggelaki, Mata Kourti and Alkis DImos. Every one has his own personal style in movement, and keeps it throughout the show. Every one is different, and every rhythm and every body produces its own sound. The director, who is at the same time choreographer and conductor, manages to coordinate this peculiar somatic polyphony and to make it a song. With the body as a focal point and after a lot of work (we can imagine many long rehearsals), he manages to awake in each performer his specific rhythmic character and to clearly define the "roles" that everyone takes over throughout the show.

Bodyterranean- the show has the atmosphere of an intimate musical memory that thrilled us and made us think that truth is to be found in simplicity.

The show premiered at the biggest Body Music festival worldwide, International Body Music Festival, based in San Francisco, that was organized for the first time in Greece and is going to continue at the Rabbit Hole theatre.

Concept, compositions and arrangements of traditional material, body percussion, vocal, direction - Simone Mongelli

Body percussion, vocals, dance - Sissy Pintela

Body percussion, vocals, dance - Georgina Vardoulaki

Singing, vocals, body percussion, dance - Agapi Diaggelaki

Singing, vocals, body percussion - Mata Kourti

Vocals, body percussion, beat-box - Alkis Dimos

Light design - Tasos Sklavounos

Sound - Nikolas Stavrianoudakis

by Maria Stella Binikou - translation by Simone Mongelli