Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Aphrodite and the Invisible Dramaturgy: Sam Donvito @ Edfringe 2018


Sex sells. Advertising giants reap enormous profits from images that sexualise and objectify women. But why aren’t these corporations accountable for maintaining a culture where self-harm and body dysmorphia are common?

Written by Sam Donvito, Aphrodite is devised and performed by the female power house duo of Sam Donvito and Ellen Graham. After a successful debut this year at the Adelaide Fringe, this show will make an impact at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018.  


The Goddess Aphrodite (played by Donvito) travels to the 21st century in search of more followers. Tempted by the allure of advertising she fully embraces contemporary culture. However, constantly shamed by the media and society for not meeting our impossible standards of beauty, the Goddess develops low self-esteem and body image issues.

Details: 8:35pm, 12-27 August (not 14, 21), preview 12-13, Running time 50 minutes
At: ZOO Charteris, Venue 124, 140 Pleasance, EH8 9RR

I’m interested in exploring the juxtaposition between an ancient Greek goddess and the god-like presence of capitalism in our society. Aphrodite is impulsive, visceral and flawed, as all Greek gods are, whereas capitalism uses advertising to create the worship of unattainable perfection (similar to the Christian god). By placing a fabulous and imperfect goddess in a modern setting, I hope to highlight the messages of shame we (particularly women) receive through the media if we can’t obtain god-like flawlessness.          

Given what I have said about religion's diminution in the Modern Era, do you have any concerns about how the work will be received?

The Goddess Aphrodite, as far as I know, hasn’t been dissed by the atheists or fundamentalists, but she is entirely at odds with the stuffy, dogmatic religion that concerns them. She knows what she wants and she wants to be worshiped, loved and pleasured -and she’s not shy about it. I think Australian and UK audiences may be confronted by female characters, particularly of the divine, that are too confident and self-assured.   

And does working with a religious content or theme introduce any particular kind of dramaturgy? I suppose I am asking about how far the way that you made the work reflects the content... classic dramaturgical question...

A play with gods gives an epic quality to the work. Archetypal extremes have been a friend, naturalism and too much subtlety not so much.  

How do you feel about being identified as a religious piece of theatre?
If it takes a show about a goddess to challenge our society’s rules and values about the representation of women in the media, I’m happy to go there!

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