ABOUT

ODC Ensemble is a radical theatre company based in Athens, Greece. ODC Ensemble makes theatre of the polis: theatre from, with & about citizens. ODC creates multidisciplinary performances that empower critical thinking with an emphasis on cutting edge music, new media and political discourse. ODC invents spaces of imagination that dislocate audiences beyond their comfort zone. The company fosters international partnerships in order to explore and break boundaries.ODC Ensemble is a proud partners in Creative Lenses and other Creative Europe programs.
Founder Elli Papakonstantinou and the company managed the cultural space Vyrsopdeseio’ from 2011 until 2017. During this period the company was committed to invent alternative production models, produce innovative artistic work, music and theatre festivals, workshops and educational programs with an emphasis on new dramaturgy. Recently, a publication on the activities of the company and the importance of Vyrsodepseio during the years of crisis was released supported by the Creative Lenses program: “Theatre in Crisis”, Nefeli publications, 2018.
Today, the company focuses on education and international partnerships and is based in Athens.
The company has been commissioned to create performances by the Cultural Capitals of Europe (Eleusis 21 and V18) and has been supported by The Greek Ministry of Culture the Arts Council UK and Arts Council Sweden.
ODC is a multi-awarded artistic company – among most recently artistic achievements, winners of the ‘Music Theater Now International 2018’ competition and the First Award Prize at the BE Festival for the REP, Birmingham, UK.
The company has toured extensively and presented work in places like:13th International Exhibition Prague Quadrennial(CZ),Edinburgh Festival 1997& 2004, (UK), the Royal Court Theatre(UK)Princeton University, (U.S.A.), OperaHouse Cairo (EG), LaMaMa theatre, NY, (USA), THEATERHAUS GESSNERALLEE Zurich (CH), National TheatreCyprus (CY), Antic Teatre International Barcelona (SP), International Festival of Experimental Theatre in Cairo (EG), Inauguration Ceremony of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (EG), NeukollnerOper Berlin (GE), Musikteatretage Festival (AU), etc.

Selected Reviews

Proud winners of the Music Theatre NOW 2018 competition
“Elli Papakonstantinou´s THE CAVE takes us by storm with its powerful sound and visuals from the very first minute. Very much like today´s worldwide “reality”: a cacophony of social media, “news,” non-stop visual information, and the voices of the multiple channels of information that bombard us from dawn to dusk. But, is this “reality” or are we still trapped in Socrates´s cave?”
Jury Statement, Shoshana Polanco for the Jury Members of the 2018 edition of MusicTheatreNOW competition

★★★★★★
Totally mad and mesmerizing… See it to believe it
THE GUARDIAN

★★★★★★
A work that redefines the meaning of contemporary musical theatre with social meaning away from any realistic reference to prosaic complaints. A substantial aesthetic event
www.greek-theatre.gr,
 Dimitris Tsatsoulis, Elli Papakonstantinou – ODC Ensemble, “The Cave”, the Athens Consert Hall (Megaron) 10/2018, 13/10/2018

★★★★★★
A  a veritable bombardment of all senses. Eye, ear and not least brain fought to keep up… strange and beautiful, ugly and cruel
NORDJYSKE.DK, Bent Stenbakken,Punkopera: It’s strange and beautiful, ugly and cloudy, 11/8/2018

 

★★★★★★
The Greek ODC Ensemble is avant-garde at it’s darkest – It’s a solid, courageous and multifaceted ensemble.
Sceneblog.dk, Se Mere, Cph Opera Festival goes avantgarde, 8/8/2018

★★★★★★
The piece was entirely stylised and completely interpretive. It was certainly memorable due to it being a piece that steered away from our usual concept of theatre…
A view from Behind the arras, BE Festival – Saturday, Birmingham REP,7/7/2018

★★★★★★
A brilliant performance…
DEUTSCHE WELLE

★★★★★★
A bomb exploding at the foundations of the Greek festival!..
ATHINORAMA, Iliana Dimadi, We saw REVOLT ATHENΣ, 16/6/2016

★★★★★★
Tremendous aesthetic craft… a perfect combination of different arts
CNN GREECE, Yorgos Pefanis, Historical Truth and Realistic Politics, 25/6/2016 

★★★★★★
An outstanding performance with a truly fresh approach
BBC WORLDWIDE

★★★★★★
When one decides to tackle issues such as human rights, the limits of revolution, the contemporary socio-political landscape, one should go about it in a political manner. The performance is deeply political insofar as its ensemble functions as a political entity, its every member investing the end result with freedom, equality, and fraternity – that is, the performance’s subject matter.
POPAGANDA, George Voudiklaris, We entered the Backstage of Revolution, 24/6/2017

Faith [Dimitra Kondylaki] page 36, 42, 48.

[…] Fortunately, ODC is as realist as it is romantic. If that was not the case, the Ensemble would have never gone on to tack-le a project as extroverted and collectively demanding as Loui-sette4, presented at the Old Oil Mill of Eleusis in the summer of 2017.
[…] ODC Ensemble […] through endless hours of group work in the hopes of creating a lively hot-spot, a meeting point for art and activism […] was fully aware that […] The space had to serve as a bridge between the past and the present, promoting the concept of continuity and highlighting the individual as an active agent.
[…] The shift from a theatre of convention (which by no means should be identified with con-ventional theatre) to a live spectacle, free of traditional conven-tions (which can, in turn, also become deadly, that is, conventional and dull, according to Brook) can be realised only if invested with a vital meaning. […] The idea was to reject formulaic and formalist art in favour of art that is substan-tial, grounded to reality, poignant and moving. That was my first time at Vyrso-depseio.

The Theatre of Consciousness [Grigoris Ioannidis] page 55, 56.

[…] Already in its first foray into the Greek theatre world, ODC decided almost unconsciously to set up its headquarters at this very spot: the agora. As a theatrical movement with a distinctly political fla-vour, the Ensemble wanted, first and foremost, to be part of the city and occupy a central place in its consciousness.
[…] Let us take a look at the past: we can trace ODC’s distant ancestors to the stage experiments of Malina and Beck’s Living Theatre, the 1960s and 1970s conceptualisations of theatre as a political act; a space where artists can communicate among themselves, where artists and audiences can interact with the city.
[…] The buzz of a journey that is both ancient and timeless, a jour-ney about individual and political self-awareness can be heard by the young people who are active players in this city, by Elli Pa-pakonstantinou and her Ensemble, by artists and audiences. The vessel making this voyage will, once again, bear the initials ‘ODC.’

ODC and the Politics of Desire [Philip Hager] page 120, 125.

[…] A key element in ODC’s work is their multi-disciplinary practice, which I see as an expression of the idea of multiplicity……; a multiplicity from which emerges ODC’s politics of desire, not only as a narrative device (that too), but merely as an aesthetic and ethical proposition. The political, in this sense, is not merely related to what ODC’s work means, but what it does.
[…] In this sense, the performance devised by ODC produced an affective multiplicity, an assemblage that interacted with spectators and space not as way into the ancient text, but as a way out of habitual conceptions and ideological uses of ancient Greek literary tradition.

Lived Aesthetics of Crisis and Performance Politics of Discontent [Maria Konomi] page 180

[…] ODC’s performative energies and live art strategies go beyond the representation or anticipated avant-garde theatricality. Capitalising on lived experiences and socio-political awareness, ODC’s work bursts with the power of live art, urging us to revolt by way of questioning our empirical reality and critically engaging with it.

Performances of Engagement and Disruption [Filimon Patsakis] page 103

[…] Upon watching ODC’s performances we get a sense of intense loneliness, as well as the gruelling endeavour to create something new.

Greek Theatre in the Age of Depression (Greece) [Savvas Patsalidis]

As Elli Papakonstantinou, director of the avant-garde multi-ethnic performance group ODC, claims, “[our] ensemble is a politically oriented group. As practitioners and as citizens of a country that stands as a worldwide ‘showcase’ for politicians and bankers and for the ongoing struggle to preserve democracy, we are motivated by an urge to reinvent the role of Art. For us, Art must now stand in the front line of opposition and questioning.

ODC ensemble creates engaged art, out of the box, in unexpected spaces and with the participation of volunteers who have no previous art experience. Our aim is to provoke, question and in times of national shock, break taboos and theatrical conventions” (www.vyrsodepseio.com). An observation that recalls Walter Benjamin’s description of the Dadaists’ art as an “instrument of ballistics that hits the spectators like a bullet” (Benjamin 1968: 197), removing them beyond their realm of understanding to a new way of perceiving actions and events.

ODC’s deconstructive work on the end of grand narratives engages fiercely with the postmodern dramatic idiom and local forms of popular entertainment and political rhetoric. A good example of that is META, the group’s recent site- specific performance put on in an abandoned tannery in Botanicos (Vyrsodepsio, 2010), with the help of experienced actors and activists. As the director makes the point in ODC’s electronic page, “META is not just a performance; [but] a public discussion on WHAT COMES AFTER (META)?”; a work on the meaning of the end (TELOS) of narratives and the relation of people to society in a moment of crisis.” (www.vyrsodepseio.com)

This same idea of loss is also central in their next site-specific project, Derma (Skin, 2012), a “tribute to mechanical work, monotony, mourning and apathy,” as the director claims (www.vyrsodepseio.com). By incorporating dance, music and visual arts, both performances dramatize what is going on now in Greece and the world in general and at the same time bridge the gap between the real and the theatrical, the professional actor and the amateur, the realistic and the bizarre. It is the ensemble’s answer to the question of the country’s two major national theatres, “What is a homeland?”: a series of estrangements.

Greek Theatre in the Age of Depression (Greece), Critical Stages: The IATC webjournal, June 2013, Issue No.8