DDF News — 12 Oct 2021

Awakening an ancient Greek myth – The Misunderstanding of Myrrha by Junk Ensemble

Awakening an ancient Greek myth – The Misunderstanding of Myrrha by Junk Ensemble

Award-winning dance innovators Junk Ensemble collaborate with acclaimed
visual artist Alice Maher to present the long-awaited premiere of The Misunderstanding of Myrrha, a solo dance work that reawakens and reimagines an ancient Greek tale.

Commissioned by Dublin Dance Festival and presented in partnership with the Abbey Theatre, the production will premiere with performances Tuesday 2nd and Wednesday 3rd November at O’Reilly Theatre as part of Dublin Dance Festival’s Winter 2021 Edition.

In the legend from Greek mythology and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Myrrha, cursed by Aphrodite to fall in love with her own father, soon falls pregnant with his child. To escape his wrath, Myrrha flees Arabia and begs the gods to take pity on her. Her prayers left unanswered by the gods, she is transformed into a myrrh tree, her tears of shame and sadness forming the resin that seeps from the tree’s bark.

In this bold and empowering retelling of the tale, Myrrha’s plight is told through her own, once-muted voice, and cycles through the trauma of her curse, the acceptance of her fate, and the rebirth of hope. Presented through intricate choreography, text, music and stunning visual design, Myrrha’s existence becomes a thing of beauty as she spits out her fate and declares herself a new being, beyond woman, man or tree.

Jessica and Megan Kennedy of Junk Ensemble say of The Misunderstanding of Myrrha, “We are interested in re-imagining Myrrha’s tale to give the narrative a fe-male voice and allow Myrrha to move beyond the trauma that befell her. We pick up the story after the birth of her child, where she rips the myth apart and forges a new path – however broken, it is her story to tell. Rather than repeating the myth, we are instead focusing on the cycle of trauma and the rippling, ricocheting effect that abuse can have on a person. The lens is directed towards how one moves forwards with that trauma, assimilating its impact and transforming destruction into reconstruction. We want to show the positive growth through adaptation and the beauty of transformation as an act of recreation.”

Alice Maher continues, “I think the human body itself is the ideal medium through which the foundation myths, laws and beliefs of civilization can be excavated, ex-posed and re-evaluated.”

Junk Ensemble is a multi-award winning company that has built a reputation as one of Ireland’s leading voices in dance – creating brave and imaginative work that sheds light on important human issues relevant to society today. Junk Ensemble’s co-founders and Co-Artistic Directors Megan and Jessica Kennedy are current Project Arts Centre Associate Artists and Dance Artists-in-Residence at RUA RED Arts Centre and previous Artists-in-Residence at The Tate. Alice Maher’s visual art touches on a wide range of subjects often reprising, challenging and expanding mythic and vernacular narratives. She was elected to Aosdána in 1996, and she has collaborated in many different fields, including theatre, literature, performance and film.

The Misunderstanding of Myrrha by Junk Ensemble © Fionn McCann
The Misunderstanding of Myrrha by Junk Ensemble © Fionn McCann
The Misunderstanding of Myrrha by Junk Ensemble © Fionn McCann
The Misunderstanding of Myrrha by Junk Ensemble © Fionn McCann
The Misunderstanding of Myrrha by Junk Ensemble © Fionn McCann
The Misunderstanding of Myrrha by Junk Ensemble © Fionn McCann

★★★★ “Junk Ensemble has created some of the most impressive contemporary dance in Ireland… Enthralling and exact” — The Sunday Times

★★★★ “Dolores combines visual eloquence with the gut-punch of a victim impact statement.” — The Irish Times (on Dolores)

★★★★ “Exquisite and unforgettable” — The Arts Review (on The Bystander)

PERFORMANCE DETAILS

O’Reilly Theatre, 6 Great Denmark Street, Dublin 1
Tues 2 & Wed 3 November, 7:30pm
€22 full price / €18 conc.
60 mins (no interval)
BOOK TICKETS

Commissioned by Dublin Dance Festival and supported by Mermaid Arts Centre, Dance Ireland, Project Arts Centre and Shawbrook Dance. Funded by The Arts Council of Ireland | An Chomhairle Ealaíon Arts Grant Fund and Dublin City Council.