SYCORAX the mother of Caliban in The Tempest by William Shakespeare. An interpretation of her destiny with and by Benedikte Esperi performed at Röda Sten Art exhibition hall in Gothenburg, November 2014, as part of a group exhibition co-curated by The Academy of Music and Drama.

‘Vad skulle ske om Sycorax, Calibans mor i pjäsen “Stormen” av Shakespeare, fick möjligheten att berätta en annan version om sitt öde?’ Benedikte har bearbetat epilogen och gestaltar en föreställd kropp och röst. Videon är en del av ett större verk som iscensattes på Röda Stens Konsthall november 2014. Under utställningsperioden framträdde Benedikte även med en skuggspelskoreografi där postkolonialism, förtryck och utnyttjandet av kvinnors kroppar genom historien och i nutid problematiseras. Videon är inspelad i Grekland(Aegina) och Sverige(Göta Älv).

‘What if SYCORAX, the mother of Caliban in the play “The Tempest” by Shakespeare, had the chance to tell another story?’ Within this process Benedikte re-wrote the epilogue of the play and embodied it into a voice and imagined body of Sycorax. This piece is not only about one person it represents the amount of seduced and oppressed female bodies without their chance to tell their story – her story.

Documentation from rehearsal

In this act an embodied version of Sycorax is presented in the shape of three shadows.
By using a sail and strong back-light, between the spectators and the live act, it can be perceived as a fantasy / an illusion. Together with the composer Nils Rydell, there´s a sound installation made by recording the epilogue from the play read in Swedish. The perspective is changed from Prospero to the voice of Sycorax; talking to the society. (transl. Dramaten, Stockholm, 1982)

Sycorax is the mother of Caliban, whom Prospero refers to as an evil “blue-eyed-hag”. She´s referred to as a witch but what if that´s only a way of disclaiming the guilt of a society?
This is a re-written story about Sycorax´s destiny; once a playful person called The Queen and then, due to unknown circumstances, she was sacrificed and dismissed from her land and by her people to the Island. She had to develop strategies to survive alone with her child.
A sound and video installation (projected towards one of the big walls in the cathedral).

SYCORAX – a destiny tracked to our present day
8 min. loop
Audio Visual Installation: video
Choreography / light / sound / voice / video: Benedikte Esperi
Sound Composer: Nils Rydell
Camera: Stefan Sundström
Thanks Birgitta Hansson for keeping an eye on my text and Hélène Hedström & Björn Danielsen for the sail!
Here´s Sycorax, the mother of Caliban, embodied. In the play it´s said that she was left alone, pregnant, on the island and gave birth to a son and later on died. She´s neither given a voice nor a body in the play, but here she comes alive and speaks to the audience. Esperi has re-written Prospero’s epilogue for Sycorax and present a twisted approach. Sycorax is also the name of one of Uranus’ moons, and becomes a symbol of the magical powers contained in many of Shakespeare’s characters. Esperi searches visual imagery, where fiction and authenticity creates openness for the viewer to associate freely. The video is partly recorded at Röda Sten.
Esperi mostly creates site-specific physical and audiovisual solos.

In the presence of SYCORAX
8 min.
Choreography / light / sound / voice / video: Benedikte Esperi
Sound Composer: Nils Rydell
Thanks to Birgitta Hansson for keeping an eye on my text and Hélène Hedström & Björn Danielsen for the sail!
This is a portrait of Sycorax, Caliban’s mother, but in the play she isn´t embodied but used as a means of Prospero’s power. Esperi find similes in today´s strategies where individuals, communities and nations are controlled. A parallel is drawn to girls’ and women’s destinies when prevailing norms and gender order excludes interference. To defame the deviant is the phenomenon in which evil deeds are legitimized. By re-writing the epilogue, for Sycorax, the perspectives are rotated and Esperi searches a performative language inspired by Shakespeare’s plays, with embodiment of various spirits.
Esperi creates primarily site-specific physical and audiovisual solos.

peer Luisa Greenfield, Staffan Mossenmark and Ming Tsao