Issue 08, March 2008
homepage > Wrath, Noise, Silence Dramatized readings in Berlin

Wrath, Noise, Silence
Dramatized readings in Berlin

The steps to the Altar of Zeus in Pergamon Museum were the ideal setting for the performance
 

By our correspondent

The actor Claudia Bourghardt gave a rendition in German of the extract from the Iliad.
The actor Claudia Bourghardt gave a rendition in German of the extract from the Iliad.

On Saturday, February 2nd 2008, an amazing performance was given in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.  It was a dramatization in German, of part of Iliad’s Rhapsody A’ by the director Georg Rootering and the dramatic advisor Frank Radaz.   The performance took place on the steps of the Altar of Zeus in Pergamon (a location known as Pergamon Altar).
The Pergamon Museum hosts a full-size reconstruction of the Altar’s western facade, whilst the hall’s perimeter incorporates the large frieze depicting the battle between Gods and Giants.  The steps to the altar served as the stage for the performance that was honoured by the presence of many esteemed personalities, such as the former German President Dr. Walter Scheel, the Minister of Internal Affairs Jörg Schönbohm, the Greek and Cypriot ambassadors to Germany Mr. Tasos Kriekoukis and Mr. P. Iliadis, the  ambassador of Croatia and Hellenist Vesna Cvjetković Kurelec, the ambassador of Lichtenstein Prinz Stefan von und zu Liechtenstein, the Cultural Minister of Thüringen Dr. Jens Goebel and other distinguished personalities. 

The performance is part of a series of dramatized readings of ancient Greek texts, an idea that began a few years ago at the Onassis Foundation’s New York offices.  The aim of this initiative is to promote ancient writings in a contemporary manner so as to renew the interest of those who are already familiar with them but also to render them more approachable to younger audiences that have not until now had the opportunity to be exposed to classical education and classical writings.

The steps to the Altar of Zeus in Pergamon Museum were the ideal setting for the performance
The steps to the Altar of Zeus in Pergamon Museum were the ideal setting for the performance

 

The actor Getz Argous gave a rendition in German of the extract from the Iliad.
The actor Getz Argous gave a rendition in German of the extract from the Iliad.

This particular performance presents a unique feature.  It ends with an elongated silence.  The wrath of Achilles, the passions, the wars, the battles and the noise all end in silence.  This is however a “pregnant silence”, which gives birth, firstly to poetic logos and then to a multitude of questions concerning the essence of life. The silence echoes the silence of the statues which continue their everlasting battle, frozen in time.  The frieze of the Pergamon Altar depicts the Gods suffering like humans, their bodies wounded and their faces contorted from the effort of the battle.    This silence cries out to our personal silence. The silence inside us, where each and every one of us seeks for his own, personal answers. 

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