Music, song and sound effects are at the heart of this trail, which is closely linked to the light. As Orpheus descends into Hell to find his wife Eurydice - who has been torn from life by a snake - he needs light.
Funeral March by Chopin- Dance improvisation by Joëlle Rihon - vidéo Mourka
All the sets and costumes are constructed of light and, together, they depict a mythical universe that builds to a perfect harmony of sound and light in the central, underworld scene where a choir of the dead radiates notes of pure light.
The staging comprises expressive singing with a blend of classical music including well-known melodies from Monteverdi, Glück, Charpentier and Chopin, melded with contemporary techno-fusion and hip-hop, plus sound effects, dance, video projections, light shows, giant puppets and both natural and urban settings.
A view of Cerberus via flashing videos of ferocious dogs
The staging focuses on "the quest" in the form of an initiatory journey that represents the search or life after death, with the audience taking the same point of view as Orpheus, and being confronted with the same torments. In classical myth, Orpheus is warned that, under no circumstances, should he turn around until he has left the world of Hades if he wants to bring Eurydice back to the land of the living. What happens to him at the pivotal moment of the last ordeal? In "The Path of Orpheus" this test on the return journey is represented by the Sphinx, which symbolizes doubt, the Sphynx being also the guardian of the world of the dead.
The fundamental question is about believing in love. There are two alternatives; two possible paths. Each individual faced with this question is confronted with Orpheus' own dilemma: are you afraid of losing the one you love, or are do you have faith? Each individual chooses the direction to take by answering the question themselves. One is the path of fear; the alternative, the path of faith. Whoever is afraid of losing their love, loses them, and returns to hell; whoever has faith returns to the light and finds their Eurydice, only to find her bitten again by the snake in an eternal cycle. By following the circuit in a loop, the audience-Orpheus understands that whatever the outcome, they would have lost Eurydice a second time. Because that's what life is: dying and being reborn in an endless cycle... In reflection of this, the staging is constructed as a looped circuit with two different options – both in the form of snakes biting each other's tails.
My insect maenads symbolize the torments that afflict Orpheus.
In 1997, Bordeaux City Council invited me to put forward a proposal for the former submarine base. At the time it was a rather sinister, abandoned site, but, ultimately, there was no budget and there was no follow-up to my proposal.
I was delighted to learn that – a mere 23 years later- a permanent lighting venue has opened up in the same site.
In the meantime, I have continued working on refining the scenes and the project has matured as I have pursued my career in lighting, thanks to my artistic and practical development. I would be thrilled to bring the project to a successful conclusion. Contact me if you have the means and would like to know more, as the staging could be adapted to other sites.