October 5, 2020

Vikram Iyengar

Vikram Iyengar #2

We are delighted to announce our full Cypriot cast for A Multitude of Drops.

 

Andreas Patsias

Antonia Filippou

Belinda Papavasileiou

Buğçe Bozkurt

Evie Demetriou

Lyda Karayianni

Marian Kyprianou

Marita Anastasi

Nayia T. Karacosta

Öykü Özoğul

 

On Thursday, 1 October we had our first Zoom meeting with the cast. This introductory meeting was focussed on getting to know each other a little better, and sharing some personal thoughts and perspectives on environmental concerns. We were overwhelmed by the range of responses that were shared with us – personal stories and memories, Greek and English poetry, stories and poems written by our cast, original music, anecdotes and experiences of previous and current work, and brief but insightful perspectives on some of the environmental issues facing Cyprus.

 

screenshot from our first Zoom meeting

Most inspiring was the deep concern and commitment that came through so clearly. Some of this came through in individual practice: the experience and methodology of landscape performance where one discovers stillness and rest; working with a Native American choreographer where movement emerges from the external sensations from the environment and what one is wearing; the action and effort of pulling buried plastic from a previously pristine beach…

 

Much also came through the words and phrases individuals chose to describe what they thought and felt – disarmingly simple, but devastatingly impactful.

 

perhaps the trees cried for help as they were being cut, but the good citizens did not hear them…

losing a tree is like losing a friend

the world has started to change, and that terrifies me

how do I feel outside and inside nature? how do I collaborate with nature?

 

Phrases like these came straight from the heart!

 

For our part, we shared a series of images associated with the Ganges river. The first few were of its source as a snow and glacier fed river high up in the Himalayas. Then we moved to the end of the river’s journey – where she meets the see through the largest delta system in the world in the unique Sundarbans mangrove landscape.

 

 

Gaumukh – the source of the Ganges
a river in the Sundarbans delta

 

This awe-inspiring tidal landscape may look peaceful, but it is unpredictable and dangerous. In the network of hundreds of rivers, the tide rises up to 30 feet twice a day, drowning and revealing islands in an inexorable movement as old as time. This is the home of the Royal Bengal Tiger, the King Cobra and the Gangetic Crocodile. It is also the home of millions of people who live in one of the most densely populated, poverty-stricken, and ecologically fragile areas on earth. The fascinating mangroves are natures defence against the tides: with their network of aerial roots they hold the soil in place preventing erosion.

mangroves in the Sundarbans

 

But mankind knows better: in island after island these magnificent trees have been replaced with defences of concrete, brick, sandbags, and more. And in island after island, these defences have been repeatedly breached by the unstoppable waters of the rivers and the sea. The only success stories have been from areas where mangroves have been replanted as collaborative efforts between local communities, environmental agencies, and governmental departments. But even as these survive and thrive, other islands disappear forever in the swirling and rising waters.

 

 

devastated manmade defences, Sagar island

 

successful mangrove replantation, Sagar island

 

This is very different from the Cypriot experience of rivers and water. As one of the cast said, “We can’t even comprehend how water can be so dangerous”. At our next meeting we will be looking at getting to know more about the Cypriot relationship with water in all its complexity – elemental, mythological, physical, psychological, visual, ecological and more.