Richard Move presents Move-It Productions Choreography, Direction, Production and Special Events

Baryshnikov Dance Foundation Presents;
THE SHOW (Achilles Heels)

STORY

 

          According to Greek legend, there was once an enchanting Goddess name Thetis.  So enchanting was Thetis that both Zeus and Poseidon competed for her hand.  That is, until it was understood that if one of the Gods wed her, the son borne would be mightier than the father.  As a result, the mortal Peleus was chosen as the husband for Thetis.  The Gods ever enthusiastic to play games with the lives of mere mortals, must have been pleased with the prophesy that the son of this union, Achilles of Thessaly, would die in battle because he would then in no way threaten their omnipotence.

          Thetis who often complained of her inferior wedlock, attempted to make Achilles    invulnerable by dipping him into the Rive Styx.  But she was careless and did not see to it that the river covered the part of the body she was holding, which was the heel of his foot.  This vulnerable heel is where the Trojans would land the murderous arrow.

          Later, the specifics of the fate of Achilles were revealed-the Greeks could not take Troy without him.  And the abduction of Helen of Troy "the face that launched a thousand ships",  a victim of fate as well but still the "cause of it all", would lead to the Trojan War, and thus the death of Achilles.  Thetis continued to go to great and futile lengths to avoid her son's fate, including disguising him as a female and sending him to live among the maidens on the island of Scyros.  This was not a difficult task since apparently Achilles was more beautiful than all of the heroes and was "without beard".  The belligerent Greek warriors, excited by the prospect of war and knowing that Achilles could lead them to victory, discovered him there, among the maidens.  Excessively vain, Achilles left the island aware that destiny had left him a choice to either die in the siege of Troy and win everlasting glory, or retreat shamefully home and live to an old age.

          After reluctantly agreeing to lead the Greeks, Achilles often stayed behind in numerous battles, brooding, refusing to fight, and ambivalent, avoiding what would certainly be his demise.  Achilles often cited the constant squabbling and in-fighting with his fellow Greeks (Agamemnon and Menelaus, in particular) for his refusal to fight "for men who have disgraced me".  But not even the pretense of defending his own honor among his fellow Greeks could postpone his fate.  Even his horse, Xanthus, spoke to Achilles to remind him of his doom-"Indeed, my dreaded master, the hour of your death is drawing near…"

          When Achilles learned of the death of his beloved Patroclus at the hands of the Trojoans, he was seized with loss and shocked into action.  Grief took hold of Achilles, so black that those around him feared for his life.  In order to avenge the death of Patroclus, Achilles furiously and wholeheartedly led the Greeks into battle-" I will kill the destroyer of him who I loved and then I will accept death when it comes", thus ensuring his place in the pantheon of Greek heroes.  After Achilles was burned on the funeral pyre, his remains were placed in the same urn that held those of his friend Patroclus, a most intimate act in Greek Culture.

          The Show (Achilles Heels) is a theatrical rendering of this character, set in the present day.  It is an illustration of certain aspects of his story most intriguing to me.  In particular, his loving loyalty, and the duality of the private life of the great warrior/hero.  His story is set amidst the bizarre context of the essentially innocent Helen- a pawn and the "excuse for war", whose only crime was her extreme good looks.

          Richard Move
          Creator and Director

 

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