Lucrezia Maniscotti

Visiting Artist Presentation Series

Date: Friday, May 6th, 2022
Time: 11:00am EDT

Mīnākṣī and Hippolyta

Fascinated by the richness of Greek mythology, especially in connection to the ancient world of theater, Lucrezia found many relatable parallels between Greek and Indian cultures during her Indological academic studies and through the decades of her performing experience. Therefore she decided to focus her project on a comparative work between the extraordinary Indian and Greek Mythologies carrying on a research on the respective ancient performing art forms.

Mīnākṣī and Hippolyta are both queens and female warriors. Mīnākṣī is a goddess belonging to south Indian mythology, born with three breasts, and ready to conquer the world; Hippolyta is the queen of the Amazons, the women-ruling society located at the end of the world. Both Mīnākṣī and Hippolyta share a certain kind of invincible feature in their own beings. A remarkable point is when Mīnākṣī meets Śiva, her predestined husband, and when Hippolyta is kidnapped by the civilizing hero Theseus, while she is defending her community. The encounters with characters considered as outsiders, marked a definitive shift in the predisposition of the warrior queens in both stories.

There are many crossing topics in the two myths: The breast, the female warriors, the disguise and their masculine attributes, the armor of Mīnākṣī and the belt of Hippolyta, the concept of justice (dharma and dikē). However, what has mostly captivated Lucrezia’s attention, was the in-depth moment of surrender, occurring to the two heroines; the rediscovery of their hidden (perhaps even overcompensated) femininity, of a delicacy that for too long had to disguise itself as something else; the surrender which becomes a victory because the ego that disappears makes room for something bigger, precious; the celebration of predestined meetings, the happening of the unexpected in life, of what is sometimes inexplicable.

As a visiting artist at CHS, Lucrezia will carry on a research investigating the original texts referring to both myths, in order to select the most significant passages to derive a connection that can potentially delve deeper into the apparent synonymity of Mīnākṣī and Hippolyta’s stories. With the collaboration of Domenico Muscianisi, Lucrezia will give both practical and theoretical presentations.

On the performative level, the idea is to investigate the artistic languages of India and Greece, which actually share a lot of similarities. Interestingly the concept of Nāṭya (theatre, drama) in Sanskrit, includes music, literature, and dance as integral elements constituting the live performance. This is directly comparable to the so- called Mousikē Tekhnē in Greek. Even the detailed usage of hand gestures plays a leading role in actual performance: It is a common trait that has been referred to as Kheironomia in Greek and Mudrā in Sanskrit, respectively.

The final aim is to create and develop a solo performance to be presented in the West, as well as in the Eastern countries, with a unique language crossing the different forms, from theater to dance, being able to talk about the contemporary world and challenges, using the epic and mythological power of the ancients, and challenging the boundaries of time and space.

This talk is part of the visiting artist presentation series.

About Lucrezia

Lucrezia Maniscotti is a Bharatanāṭyam and a western drama theatre artist. After completing her MA degree from University of Milan, in Indological studies, she has been a recipient of a prestigious scholarship to master her art in India.

Founder and Director of “Accademia Sangam”, Lucrezia pursues a key role of bringing the Indian classical arts to the forefront in Europe. She has worked with important cultural and academic organizations across Europe as well as Indian. Lucrezia has been trained in Chennai from eminent gurus such as Padmashri Adyar K Lakshman and presented her debut performance in Bharatanāṭyam at Kapalishwara Temple, Chennai, in 2009. She has given solo performances during the Madras Music and Dance Season, and in many different major venues. Recipient of awards such as “Natya Ratna” from Trinity Arts Festival from India, Milapfest fellowship from the UK. Currently, she is continuing her creative journey under the mentorship of the renowned artists Miss Leela Samsonand Mavin Khoo.

Deeply anchored in the traditional heritage of Indian cultural aesthetics while carrying inside her own western cultural inheritance, Lucrezia finds a unique voice in her constantly evolving artistic journey that enables her to investigate newer ways of artistic expressions.