Performance 'Eleusina: Three small steps obliquely forward, and two obliquely back

by Eleni Mylona

Artistic advisor: Danae Theodoridou

Dramaturgical Advisor: Rodia Vomvolou

Jump Suit: Hallelujah, Eleftheria Domenikou 

Production: Delta Pi
2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture 

 

Text in English
 

26 days ago, a woman came for the first time to Eleusina.

Today, this woman speaks. She says, "Find a place if you like, a place that suits you for this hearing. There's some seats up here on the terrace, but you'll find some benches on the way to the sea. If you go down the stairs again, there's a small beach just below. If you move backwards from the sea, from the side facing the port, you will find something that looks like a square but it is not, and has a lot of gravel, while from the other side that faces the refineries, there is a normal large square. To the right and left along the sea there are rocks and perhaps some benches.

 

And then, the woman says: 'I'll wait a little longer until you find the place you like and I'll start'.

 

Eleusina, three small steps obliquely forward and two obliquely back

Pictures

Felix, the white and black cat at the train station, lying at your feet like a dog

Therapeutic night with raki and wine, holiday atmosphere

 

Children playing football in the squares in the salt of the polluted sea

 

Workers return from the boats in the evenings and put their uniforms on the veranda rail.
On Friday nights they go to Athens by the toll-free road.

One of them, there may be more of them, but it is certainly one, who has a wife and child somewhere far away, and he talks to them on weekends, and when he talks to them he says to his wife: please don't interfere when I'm talking to the child, and before hanging up he tells her 'the child and your eyes...

 

Things important for the soul

Extroverted and sometimes intimate conversations until 4 o'clock in the morning

Potato salad with octopus and fresh onions

and an eggplant in the moussaka...

 

Ships

Sunken ships - people pretending not to see them

In the graveyard of ships, Vassiliki,  the blue boat, still has a soul

Vassiliki still has a bright blue color and clear letters

And she's got an outboat, if you know how to ride a boat, you're off.

Everything else around her is fading, rusting and disintegrating.

 

 

Phrases you hear

You don't go there when the sun goes down 

You don't expose your woman's body by dancing in public

Sit down, sit down, let me offer you a raki while you wait

 

sounds

The sound of the sea with a warplane and a muffled industrial sound. A long, long, interwar-like siren. Deafening soundscapes of black cars with loud lights.

sounds of seagulls fighting -----

A story the city might want to keep hidden.

Starting at the train station (the train no longer operates) if you walk about 20 minutes on the tracks, you come to what looks like a landfill from a distance. You quickly discover that there, on the outskirts of the city, there are people, women, men, children and babies with or without diapers.  They live there in hills of garbage, their own garbage, and use the train tracks as their toilet. So, if you want to pass by the tracks, at that point, you have to close your nose, and make a choreography between the rails, excrement, stones and stalls to move on. And they might yell at you, "It doesn't go this way," and make gestures with their hands to explain that the road is closed. Assuming now that you don't understand, or pretend not to understand, or perhaps have a certain naivety, or even a curiosity to see what's further down the road, then you move on. Or not.

If you move on, you might start getting cursed at, or taken down by people and dogs barking furiously in a desperate attempt to explain that this is their home and that the world below is closed.

 

You go on. In the next 5 minutes you've reached a door. It's a factory door and it's locked.  You can't get through, it's closed. They say the factory door is private and the whole hill is private and gated, you can't go anywhere (remember when they were shouting it at you a while ago?) but the train tracks that continue after the door ... are public.

You're forced to go back the same way.

Plants and trees

Olives

bougainvillea

prickly pears and oleander

In the olive grove, two small poppies and a few chamomiles have grown in a crevice between stones and cement. 

 

The branch of a bitter orange that escaped the unison pruning of the municipality.

It sticks out diagonally upward at an angle, among 30 other uniformly cut trees along the archaeological site.

 

Smell of a tangerine leaf; it smells just like the fruit.

Phrases you hear

My mother used to take the clothes off to dry in the morning and in the evening they were cemented

I don't live here, I come here for my baths (for your what?)

At night we don't sleep peacefully, we live in fear of the explosion of our whole life, if it catches fire, we will all be killed, we and the whole of western Attica.

 

Fear of explosion or dystopian fantasy

Just 4 km from here there's a leak.

The movement of a small water drainage pipe caused corrosion in the protective coating of the well. The bare surface forms a 10 mm hole, through which 660 tons of kerosene seep through.

A spell to make the fears go away

 

Heavenly Fantasy

This one in front of us is a natural lagoon on the edge of an olive grove or a forest.

The swimming beach in front of us is 1km long. In summer it's filled with swimmers from the neighbourhood. In spring and autumn, there are mostly walkers or runners. And in winter, it's the ideal place to escape the narrow confines of the city - here we can breathe fresh, clean air and let our minds wander. As the lake is a natural shelter, no water mattresses, and no inflatable boats are allowed. However, nude swimming is allowed in the separate nudist area which is 600m away from here.

Things you don't know or don't expect to hear

On Devil's Island, in the Bay of Stakes just across the bay from Elefsina, the French-Swiss architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, Le Corbusier, spent 4 days in quarantine as a precautionary measure for infectious diseases!

 

The woman who came to Eleusis for the first time 26 days ago calls for an interruption. 'Wait a minute' she says, 'since you chose to talk about Le Corbusier, whose fame is so great, you cannot fail to say that while we all know him, we should also know the great architect Eileen Grey respectively. And although it has no direct bearing on this story, the name of this woman, it should be said many times now in the hope that she will be remembered. Say it'.

Eileen gray. Eileen gray. Eileen gray. Eileen gray. Eileen gray.

 

The architect's handwritten notes of his four days spent in preventive quarantine on Stake Island across from Eleusis say...

Things you know or you expect to hear

Ιndustrial zone, Sanctuary, worship, initiation, mystery, Goddess, pollution, antiquity, domestic violence,  initiates, fear of death, golden dawn, something hidden, decadence, something secret, dioceses, ritual, daughter, mourning, factories, life, underworld, mafia, dirt, stench, monuments, drama, ancient marbles, ancient marbles, ancient marbles, ancient marbles, under your feet, marbles, more marbles, marbles seen, marbles not seen, cities full of marbles, under your feet, for miles around and beyond Eleusis. 

Exodus - The dance of the girls

Women hols hand in hand in a chain...

and someone is shouting in Arvanitika, because this dance seems to have come from the Arvanites in Attica and Eleusis. It resembles the megaritikos traditional dance of  Trata, but no one who was asked by the woman who first came to Elefsina 26 days ago, could tell her the exact differences.

 

Let's just say that her grandmother, her father's mother, was Arvanitisa and her mother always told her: 'you have an Arvanitiko head like your father'... Anyway.

 

Women hold hands in a cross chain...

and one of them shouts in Arvanitika: "Valezhoine Vaizet".

And we start: Three small steps forward and two steps backwards with a slight turn of the torso forward, a bit sharp. 

Three small steps forward and two steps backward with a slight turn of the torso forward, a little sharp, the torso turn is made sharply to hear the coffins on top.

Three small steps obliquely forward and two obliquely backward with a slight turn of the torso forward, slightly sharp

1-2-3

1=2

1=2=3

1=2

 

undulating

and a little more steep turn of the torso, twist and turn again

In a little while, not yet, but in a little while ,

the woman who first came to Eleusis 26 days ago, will come out of the door.

 

As she walks, she lets her eyes wander freely.

to her right, she notices the lights coming on in the refineries...

She moves towards the small beach to remain still and in silence for another minute. She observes what is happening around her, in this place, here, now...

 

Thank you