Stoicism is a school of philosophy founded in Ancient Greece in the early third century BC. Its name is derived from the Greek stoa; meaning "porch" or "covered shelter", where stoicism was first taught. The philosophy asserts that virtue (self-control, courage, justice and wisdom) equals happiness and that our perceptions of matter; things - rather than the things themselves - cause most of our sorrow in life. Stoicism teaches that we can use our "reasoned choice" to decide how we categorize, respond, and reorient ourselves to external events. Today the word stoic is often used to mean simply "emotionless", which of course does a great disservice to the actual philosophy.
In Stoic, I try to portray a small community of characters who exist in a fictional library or art gallery. They experience the art and each other intensely, face a variety of social addictions, and through different interactions and theatrical events, they eventually unravel, slowly lose their masks, and reveal more essential layers of themselves.
The movement material is created in close collaboration with all the performers, going from urban dance styles like angular "tutting" and structured "whacking" to more flowing and liquid contemporary dance sequences. A constant sense of ritual and folklore permeates the piece, contrasting with its more aristocratic setting.
This is my third collaboration with GöteborgsOperans Danskompani: after Noetic (2014) and Icon (2016), which were both developed with the visual artist Antony Gormley, Stoic (2018) ends a trilogy in which I use Greek wisdom as a starting point. For Stoic I worked closely with the gifted visual artist Hans Op de Beeck, who created the impressive grey concrete "library" in which the action takes place. He also developed the 1950's-inspired costumes, which bring a very theatrical reality into the piece. The soundscape was crafted by Felix Buxton of Basement Jaxx; electro and drum and bass intertwine with live traditional music from Morocco, Congo, and Japan to create a very dense musical/theatrical experience. Stoic is also the second time - first time was in Icon - that dancers from my own contemporary dance company, Eastman, will collaborate and share the stage with GöteborgsOperans Danskompani. I would like to thank Artistic director of GöteborgsOperans Danskompani Katrín Hall, for this cooperation. - Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, 2018