The wonderfully expressive face of actor Dana Mikhael animates the ritualistic process of "EPIPHANY: ‘Persephone’ in Beirut".(The Daily Star/ Hasan Shaaban)
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Greek myth made tragedy in BeirutThough she was the daughter of Zeus, king of the gods, and the harvest-goddess Demeter, Kore's life was that of an innocent young woman. Then Hades carried her off by to become the dread queen of the Underworld, where she was transformed into the goddess Persephone. From that point forth, Persephone began spending six months in the underworld, ruling at her husband's side, before returning to earth for six months, bringing springtime fertility with her. One of the most ancient of the Greek myths, Persephone's story served as inspiration for Waraq Collective's Hussein Nakhal and actress Dana Mikhael when they sat down to discuss a contemporary performance touching on life and death in Beirut.Nakhal and Mikhael's performance piece "EPIPHANY: 'Persephone' in Beirut" is an emotionally charged exploration of horror, suffering and redemption, enacted with unrelenting intensity by the unspeaking Mikhael.This mostly silent hour-long performance has minimal accompaniment. Mikhael ceases her violent contortions – intended to convey the stories of those killed by violence in Beirut – and takes on the calmer persona of Kore, goddess of spring and the harvest.Without directorial elaboration, the ties that bind the Persephone myth to contemporary Beirut are not immediately evident, but perhaps this is no bad thing.
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