The Jhiva of Nietzsche @ The Surgeons' Hall
From under a bed of discarded clothes and rags, perhaps a metaphor for the karma of countless past lives, the Jhiva (living principle, or soul) of Nietzsche emerges in an innocent awakening, like a fawn or rabbit, curious-eyed and eager to gain understanding.
This piece, which starts so promisingly, never reaches the summit of its potential. The weight of playwright and actress Korina Kontaxaki’s skill as a physical actress is too much overshadowed by a disengagingly cerebral voiceover which mechanises the potentially exciting journey of Nietzsche’s soul into some banal computer program. In this cool and clinical paradigm, simply nothing seems spiritual, incarnation is like a production line, “Congratulations, you have just cleared action forty-seven, from like one-million, four-hundred-thousand, three-hundred and forty-one.” After a slow ten minutes, this soul is finally born and the action can begin.
The visuals are better than the audio. The piece is accompanied by some great video footage (credited to Eleni Cosma) as the story of Nietzsche’s journey through his life to the final loss of touch with his soul, a short time before his death unfolds. The climactic moments, such as the beginning of Nietzsche’s romance with music, are the best.
There is a maxim among some writers which is ‘don’t tell, show.’ Too much of this story is told and not enough shown, for what is shown is the most engaging. With a leaner script and more emphasis on Kontaxaki's talents in movement, the piece certainly has potential for future production, should it be endowed with a breath of spirited life to match the title of the piece and its undertones.