07 Oct 2020
A dramatic new interpretation of the world’s oldest story by Irish theatre company Macnas has begun to unfold online and on the streets of Galway.
As part of Galway’s exciting cultural programme as 2020 European Capital of Culture, its acclaimed masters of storytelling and spectacle, Macnas, have created an innovative retelling of the 3,000-year-old legend of Gilgamesh.
In the lead-up to its full performance in March 2021 in the Black Box Theatre in Galway City, elements of the story will be revealed online and in pop-up live moments across County Galway.
The legend centres on Gilgamesh, a young tyrannical king who rules the majestic city of Uruk. Superhuman – two thirds god, one third man – Gilgamesh is obsessed with fame. A cruel and unjust king, he wants to find the secret to immortality become a god and live forever. The citizens of Uruk cry out to the gods for help. They listen and create Enkidu, a wild man sent to challenge and rival Gilgamesh.
The first reveal is a short film featuring Enlil, the father of the gods and enemy of Gilgamesh, as he looks down from the heavens on the chaos below. Its release was accompanied by live action on the streets of Galway City, where the central character of Uta – the one who cannot die – was seen wandering. The same character appeared in a stunning mural which went up overnight in the city.
Over the coming months, the Gilgamesh Experience will see audiences follow this bored, beautiful and tyrannical young man in his quest to live forever, from the city of Uruk to bogs and deserts, from the Underworld to meet the mighty gods.
They will see him forge battles, wreak havoc on his citizens and meet his match in the wild warrior Enkidu, bringing the contemporary themes of this ancient origin story to life.
The epic of Gilgamesh will play out on screens, in the west of Ireland where the ancient Euphrates meets the Atlantic Ocean, and will burst out onto the streets of Galway City and into the wilds of rural Galway, where audiences can also experience the adventure live.
Macnas is known for pushing the boundaries of theatre and storytelling and in Gilgamesh they are working in a new way and exploring new platforms.
The ambitious Galway 2020 programme, which will run to March 2021, presents both digital and live events which take place across the villages, towns, islands and the city of Galway and offer theatre, music, sport, poetry, film, visual art and much more.
Galway City Centre
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