Over the weekend, OMA’s design for the stage set at the historic Greek Theater in Syracuse, Sicily, was inaugurated with the performance of Aeschylus’s Prometheus Unbound, directed by Claudio Longhi. The scenography features three temporary architectural devices that reinterpret the spaces of the theater, which dates from the 5th century BCE.
Project Description from the Architects:
OMA’s interventions will be dramatically exploited and adapted at strategic moments within this summer’s cycle of plays staged by the Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico, which also includes Euripides’ Bacchae (dir. Antonio Calenda) and Aristophane’s The Birds (dir. RobertaTorre).
The first intervention, the Ring, is a suspended walkway that completes the semi-circle of the terraced seating, encompassing the stage and the backstage, and giving actors an alternative way of entering the scene.
The Machine is a fully adaptable backdrop for the plays: a sloping circular platform, seven metres high, mirroring the amphitheatre. The backdrop can rotate, symbolizing the passage of 13 centuries during Prometheus’s torture; split down the middle, it can also be opened, allowing the entrance of the actors, and symbolizing dramatic events like the Prometheus being swallowed in the bowels of the earth.
The Raft, a circular stage for the actors and dancers, reimagines the orchestra space as a modern thymele, the altar that in ancient times was dedicated to Dionysian rites.
The Greek Theatre scenography – executed by AMO, the unit within OMA dedicated to non-architectural and transient projects – is part of the office’s long history of designinginnovative performance spaces, from the Netherlands Dance Theatre (1987) and the Wyly Theatre in Dallas (with Rex, 2009), to the Taipei Performing Arts Centre – three adaptable theatres plugged into a central cube, now under construction in Taiwan. AMO has also designed scenography for ephemeral events such as Prada catwalk shows and Francesco Vezzoli’s 24-Hour Museum in Paris earlier this year.
Location: Teatro Greco, Syracuse, Italy
Project: Scenography for the 48th cycle of classic drama at the ancient Greek theatre of Syracuse
Client: Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico (INDA)
Program: Adaptable stage set for three classic dramas
Structure: aluminum scaffolding
Cladding: ultilayer marine plywood
Partner-in-Charge: Rem Koolhaas
Associate-in-Charge: Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli
Team: Francesco Moncada, Miguel Taborda, Barbara Materia