STOCKHOLM – The premiere of the play Alkestis, written and directed by Elli Papakonstantinou, a special commission from Dramaten, the Royal Dramatic Theatre of Sweden in co-production with the Royal Opera of Stockholm, took place on December 2 in Stockholm and impressed audiences and critics. The play is a radical reading of the work of Euripides by the Greek director who in recent years has made a name for herself in the international theatrical firmament.
The premiere was described as the last mainstream event before the new restrictive measures were implemented due to the pandemic. The stakes were high as, for the first time in the history of the institution, a Greek director was presented with a commission for a modern work. The show also marked the first official collaboration between the Royal Opera and the Royal Theater of Sweden.
The play- which now joins the permanent repertoire of the Theatre- was covered by most of the Swedish media. Reviews highlighted the intense interest of the Swedes in ancient as well as modern Greek drama. It is worth noting that the new artistic director Andersson aims at increasing international collaborations and seeks to present Alkestis in Greece.
The Royal Dramatic Theatre, known as the Dramaten, is Sweden’s national stage. It was founded in May 1788 by King Gustaf III. Today, Dramaten presents plays on six stages in three different buildings and guarantees variety and flexibility – exactly what you would expect from a national theatre.
Elli Papakonstantinou is known for the immersive theatrical experiences she creates by involving the community and opening a dialogue with new technologies, the politics and great narratives of our time. In recent years, she has also charted a remarkable artistic course abroad. Her works include Oedipus: Sex with Mum was Blinding which had its world premiere at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) in New York in September 2019. Among her international awards are the art award Fulbright 2018-9 and the Music Theater NOW Award 2018-19 (for The Cave). The world premiere of The Kindly Ones was held at the Mauthausen Camp in Austria. Her digital works Traces of Antigone (by Christina Ouzounidis), Aède of the Ocean and Land, and Hotel AntiOedipus were presented at festivals and organizations around the world, including the important IRCAM / Center Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Romaeuropa Festival 2020 in Italy, receiving rave reviews and a nomination for the Italian Critics Award 2020-2021.
The official trailer for Alkestis is available online: https://vimeo.com/654048802.