Die Schutzflehenden / Die Schutzbefohlenen
The Suppliants / Charges (The Supplicants)
by Aeschylus / Elfriede Jelinek
Stage Director Enrico Lübbe
Dramaturg Torsten Buß
Ellen Hellwig · Julia Preuß · Bettina Schmidt · Hartmut Neuber · Michael Pempelforth
Chorus: Leipzig citizens
In 2013 refugees seeking asylum in Austria tried to gain refuge in the Votive Church on the Ringstraße in Vienna – and were driven off. Elfriede Jelinek takes this incident as the basis for a vehement exploration of how affluent society deals with refugees from the Mediterranean, the constructs of mental and geographical isolation, and the fear of things foreign.
Elfriede Jelinek uses “The Suppliants” by Aeschylos, the extant first part of a lost work describing the fate of the Daughters of Danaus, as a blueprint. The suppliants flee their Egyptian homeland and cross the sea to the beach of Argos. There they beg King Pelasgos for his protection. Pelasgos asks the Argive people – and the decision is made to give refuge to the Daughters of Danaus.
People seeking protection and asylum is a highly current topic now – and has been for a long time. In the Leipzig stage production by Enrico Lübbe, the two pieces “The Suppliants” and the modern re-interpretation “Charges (The Supplicants)” are performed on the same evening.
A humanist utopia from Ancient Greece and a view of our present-day reality are juxtaposed. The one written around 463 BC by one of the earliest dramatists, Aeschylus and the other written in 2013 by Elfriede Jelinek, Nobel Prize Laureate for Literature.
“The evening in Leipzig had a powerful effect and met with great and justified acclaim. The evening created a narrative arc from antique ritual to modern-day chaos, from divine rule to political improvisation, from a society aware of values to the modernization of a dilemma.” Süddeutsche Zeitung
“A performance which dispenses with a scheme of good vs. evil and reserves judgement, because it is searching for answers, not giving them.” Leipziger Volkszeitung