OPHELIA is a comment on how Western society has always placed stereotypical preconceptions upon matters of femininity and sexuality. From the Classical Era to the Renaissance, from the Enlightenment to the Modern Era, the female figure and the revelation of her skin has been represented in order to direct the male gaze as well as to establish how women should be looked at. Reinforced through advertising and the mass media, body image ideals constantly construct and re-construct specific standards a female body should abide to. Women are primed to treat their bodies as objects to be shaped and decorated.
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1599-1601), the character of Ophelia was also gender-structured; virtuous and vulnerable, she is assumed to go mad due to her lover’s actions and eventually drowns herself in the river.
On the contrary, this Ophelia, completely aware that she uses her body in order to attract and defuse the male gaze, does not appear as virtuous and innocent as the character in Shakespeare’s play. Yet, she is still a woman who has to abide to specific standards, still touched and broken. Through the symbolic use of colours and the constant alteration of the different states of the character, the focus laid on underscoring how contradictory the outer appearance with one’s emotional state can be. In a sort of manifesto, she exposes her thoughts and emotions, before committing suicide as an act of claiming agency of her body, her time and space.
- Concept: Penelope Morout
- Choreography: Penelope Morout
- Video & Editing: Dora Dimitrou
- Original Text: Penelope Morout
- Sound: Wolf Mother by Youtube Free Library