Elpis, Captif de Pandore
“Only Hope was left within her unbreakable house,
she remained under the lip of the jar, and did not
fly away. Before [she could], Pandora replaced the
lid of the jar. This was the will of aegis-bearing
Zeus the Cloud-gatherer.”
-Hesiod, Works and Days, 96-99.
Antagonised by Prometheus through his act of stealing fire and giving it to man, Zeus creates Pandora, the first female to exist. Sent to visit man with her jar (later referred to as Pandora’s box), Pandora opens it and spills all the calamities unto man. Before Elpis - the personification of Hope in Greek Mythology, who was always depicted as a woman holding flowers – can escape the jar, Pandora replaces the lid, leaving Elpis as the only virtue to remain trapped.
There are many modern interpretations and theories as to why Elpis remained in the jar, with these interpretations generally falling into two opposing perspectives. Pandora either contains Elpis so that she may comfort man in his greatest misery and stimulate man to action, or to use her as a weapon; as idle hope to prolong man’s torment. In Hesiod’s writings, hope may be regarded as the greatest and only good amidst torment, or perhaps the greatest evil. Did Pandora contain (or imprison) Elpis to hold hope close to humanity as an antidote to suffering, or did she contain hope to prolong man’s torment?
Inspired by this Greek mythology as well as the Voleur de Soleil (Thief of the Sun), a fictional figure of hope created for Christine and the Queens’ song “Doesn’t Matter (Voleur de Soleil)”, Kathryn Adams and Alexis Luke are inspired to explore humanity’s complex and ever-shifting relationship to hope in the present day. They wish to devise a show using text, physical theatre and music to explore how hope is viewed, particularly through the lens of mental health, with which one seems to have a warped and complicated relationship with the concept of hope. Chris’ song "Doesn't Matter (Voleur de Soleil)" and the story of Elpis prompted us to think about our own relationships to hope in a different light. When have we sought hope, when have we refused it and when have we felt like it had abandoned us?
Elpis, Captif de Pandore (trans. Elpis, Pandora's Captive) will be AlleyKat Collective's first physically devised theatre production.
"Christine and the Queens - Doesn't Matter (Official Music Video)" is licensed by Because Music and 2 music rights societies.