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Mount Olympus: To Glorify the Cult of Tragedy: – a 24h performance (Belgium)

Prominent critics but primarily the reactions of spectators in the cities where this theatre spectacle was performed amply demonstrate that Mount Olympus: To Glorify the Cult of Tragedy – a 24 performance by the celebrated Belgian director Jan Fabre is one of the most significant events in the modern theatre. Within the context of the 51st Bitef, this production decodes all meanings of its concept (and slogan): ’epic’ meaning material derived from epics (and, more broadly, myths), narratory rather than dramatic mode, and long duration (it truly lasts 24 hours), while the word ’trip’ refers to a passage to, on this occasion, the ancient mythical past, while also representing  a colloquialism for a stupefying, hypnotic state induced by productions of such length and theatrical expression. The production is structured as a concert which, without any particular dramaturgical logic and development, lines up the scenes based on complete ancient mythological material – the one found in Homeric epics, and the one articulated by the trio of great tragedians. The host of the programme is a provocative, infinitely charming and seductive embodiment of god Dionysus in person, the patron of tragedy and theatre. The production is indeed truly Dionysian: hallucinating scenes of ecstasy, bodily exhaustion, orgies, the most sublime poetry as well as primarily visual and spiritual beauty and freedom beyond comprehension, the force and joy of living follow one after the other in separate scenes. 

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