Ben Haggarty & Manya Maratou
Flyer - Gilgamesh

Flyer - Gilgamesh

Over 5000 years ago, an already old story, was being scribed onto clay tablets in ancient Mesopotamia (present day Iraq). An unlikely source for contemporary theatre, this epic is brought to the stage in an extraordinary and powerful performance, by storyteller, Ben Haggarty, and Greek percussionist and Ney (reed flute) player, Manya Maratou.

Gilgamesh, a story of a bored tyrant ruling a city so beautiful that even the Gods choose to make it their home, makes for a beguiling exploration into the nature of power; the search for eternal life; the threat of apocalypse, and the deepest secrets of the gods. This ultimate of quest stories, journeys through a vivid metaphorical landscape of pride, love, retribution and grief, where deities are irritated and appeased by turn, insults are freely traded and where our anti-hero turned hero, discovers what it really is to be a man.

Ben Haggarty’s unscripted and physical performance is packed with passion and quick-witted humour. This is a startling offering from a pioneering master of contemporary storytelling.

Gilgamesh is for adult audiences, (unsuitable for children under 12 years) and can also be used to specifically target classics audiences, and those interested in archaeology, historical literature and mythology, and its performance for contemporary audiences.

  Dominic Maxwell, The Times

Prices - available on request

Previous performances of Gilgamesh include The Barbican, London (see Times review below); The South Bank Centre, Cheltenham Literature Festivals, York Theatre Royal, The Stephen Joseph Theatre and numerous international storytelling festivals across England, Northern Europe and the USA.

As the musician is a resident of Greece, tour dates for Gilgamesh are grouped, unless the hiring venue can pay for the associated travel.

Gilgamesh is available for touring in Spring/Summer 2011.

Reviews for Gilgamesh

‘He knows how to harness the audience’s imagination offering up the story’s epic twists and turns in a way that animates them without over selling them…Haggarty’s telling is an adroit mixture of the imposingly epic and the reassuringly rhythmic, tempered by a twinkle that admits to the story’s heightened nature, without mocking it.’
  Dominic Maxwell, The Times

‘I was spellbound - I don't use the word lightly - as Ben turned the austere lecture theatre around us into a flickering cave of wonder… If you have a chance to hear the tales which have shaped the dreams of humankind, tales of the gods and monsters that haunt us still, then sit down and listen…’
  Erica Wagner, The Times

Review - Times

Biography for Ben Haggarty
Ben Haggarty in Gilgamesh

Having been trained in mime and theatre direction in the 1970s, and apprenticed as an image-maker with Welfare State, Ben Haggarty began telling stories professionally in 1981 - becoming a central figure in the re-visioning of storytelling as a contemporary performing art in the UK.

Today, Ben is a world-class performance storyteller, internationally respected for his playful, lively and challenging performances, for his knowledge of stories and diverse narrative traditions. He is one of the world’s shrewdest directors of storytellers and a much sought after teacher. His performances, including ‘Gilgamesh’, ‘Frankenstein’, ‘The Fly’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, his programmes of fairytales for grownups, and most recently ‘Mr Sandmann’, have earned him acclaim across the English-speaking world.

Ben is honorary professor of storytelling at the Arts University of Berlin (UDK) and is the official storyteller with Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. His graphic novel, Mezolith, with extraordinary art by Adam Brockbank, is published by Random House.

‘... and what a story this one was – it unravelled itself mischievously in Haggarty’s quietly skilful telling.’   The New Statesman

‘Haggarty tells his stories with enormous relish and gusto.’   The Independent

‘Haggarty is a commanding presence comfortable in the epic style … strong, in harmony with the speech of his body...’   The Times

Technical Specification
Gilgamesh is ideally suited for programming in black box studio theatres, but by no means exclusively. It has been perform in non-performance venues, specifically museum venues. Production is highly flexible and if any of the stated technical requirements present a difficulty or query, then please do contact us.

Minimum get-in (prior to house opening): 2 hours

Performance length: The performance is in two halves of 60 mins + 50 mins approximately, plus interval.

Interval: Yes, 15 – 20 minutes (max)

Target audience: Adult: (not suitable for children under 14 years)

Latecomers: Yes

Performance area: minimum dimensions: 5m width, 4m depth, 3m headroom.

The performance to take place in front of black backdrop/tabs if possible. (If not available free standing supports and fire-retardant drapes can be provided be the artists)

1 adjustable piano stool or an armless bench required

1 x small table required (18 inches – 2 foot in width/diameter)

3 x wool rugs (naturally fire retardant) provided by the artists – plus non-slip underlay.

Set includes x 8 ‘tea-light’ candles held in small brass bowls containing wet sand, which are placed directly on the stage floor.

If possible, incense is burnt in the theatre prior to the performance.

In venues where get in time or facilities are limited two lighting states can be used – a preset and a performance state of a warm wash.
The ideal lighting is a warm wash centre stage (the main working area of the performer), a spot on the musician up stage left, and a spot for the ‘throne’ up stage centre. The performance is unscripted, but simple lighting cues can be provided based on the position of the performer.
In venues without theatre lighting, a very basic 4-lamp portable lighting rig can be provided, which the artists will transport and erect - provided an additional member of staff can be accommodated overnight (twin room with one of the artists).

In smaller venues (up to approx 150 seating capacity) the performance can be self-sufficient with acoustic spoken word and music.

In larger venues, where audience capacity and venue demand full amplification, requirements are as follows, and a sound technician will be required:
1 lavalier type radio microphone for Ben
2 standing microphones for musician

Contact Details
For further information, and to book, please contact the programme manager, Kate Norgate
07791 157 437