THE GENTLEST WORK
A queer myth in pieces
Presented by By Jove Theatre Company | 7th-13th June 2021, with a live event at 8pm BST on 12th June
Loving you is the gentlest work
A delicate spin over a linoleum tile
And then you open your mouth to speak
Because you have to ruin everything
Tickets are now on sale for The Gentlest Work, a fragmented, digital installation exploring queerness, trauma, and joy in the myths surrounding Orestes through performance, poetry, and art. Since our inception, By Jove have been fascinated by the ancient characters from the Oresteia: our first two projects, in 2011 and 2012, drew on the underlying myths. For the past three years we have obsessed again over siblings Orestes, Electra, and Iphigenia, as well as Pylades, the man whose life becomes so tightly interwoven with theirs. We’ve read and re-read the tragedies around their lives by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and imagined moments within, between, and after these narratives. We’ve sought out the queerness that is latent or hidden or, in the past, actively excluded, as well as the queer pieces of ourselves we've found refracted in their stories and the history of their stories.
We’ve told this story twice already, and in trying to tell it again we’ve realised there’s no one way that’s best. So in The Gentlest Work you’ll find a myriad of different versions and responses – we invite you to chart your own course through the mosaic. And, as part of this, you will have the chance to leave your mark: respond to our responses, tell us your own story, celebrate and commiserate these mythic lives with us. The installation will open on Monday 7 June 2021 at 00:01 BST; it will be available until Sunday, 13 June 2021 at 23:59 BST, and the project will culminate in a live performance event via Zoom on Saturday, 12 June 2021 at 20:00 BST. Tickets are pay-what-you-can, with a range of suggested donations available.
This event is made possible through the support of Arts Council England, the Institute of Classical Studies, the Hellenic Society, SCS Classics Everywhere, the Open University, the Louis M. Rabinowitz Foundation, and our Patreon supporters.
Please be aware this performance includes strong language, discussions of violence and sexual abuse, scenes of a sexual nature, and extensive depiction of trauma. The event will include captioning and audio description throughout. Feel free to contact us with any access or content questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jove tell old stories in new ways. An award-winning collective of artists founded in 2011, we take myths, pull them apart, and weave them back together for a contemporary audience. With a focus on women and LGBTQ+ lives, our previous work includes: the European premiere of Margaret of Anjou, a global project to place one of Shakespeare's most complex and compelling women centre stage; Here She Comes, a spoken word reimagining of Euripides' Bacchae performed in an art gallery transformed into a forest; and a "bold and beautiful" new version of Medea, originally staged in 2017 and reimagined during the early stages of the pandemic last year for a one-off digital performance on YouTube.
**In case of problems with embedded links, please see https://gentlestwork.eventbrite.co.uk for tickets!**
Dr Christine Plastow FHEA (she/her) | Lecturer in Classical Studies
School of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Social Sciences
The Open University, Perry C, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, MK7 6AA, UK