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Jocasta to screen at NYIIFVF

Jocasta: an experimental performance film, 52 minutes with stereo sound from MiShinnah Productions Team lead by Artistic Director Elise Kermani will screen at the Village East Cinemas, 181 2nd Ave @ 12th Street, New York City, 10003 Saturday, March 21st, 2009, 10pm
Tickets: $12 online at or $15 at the door.

Jocasta is a 52 minute experimental narrative created by Elise Kermani in collaboration with visual artists, musicians, actors, dancers and filmmakers. It was inspired by Brian Swann and Peter Burian's English translation of Euripides' ancient Greek play "The Phoenician Women" (c. 400 B.C.) Jocasta was digitally filmed on location at the Great Stone Barn in a Shaker Village in New Lebanon, New York the summer of 2006.
Project web site:

Description: In collaboration with visual artists, dancers, and musicians, Elise Kermani directs an experimental genre of film, an interdisciplinary “performance for camera” on location at a 5-story ruin, 10,000 sq. ft. Shaker Stone Barn in upstate New York.

During the summer of 2006 artists gathered at the barn to film a performance of Euripides' play “The Phoenician Women” (written 410 BCE) but what resulted was a reversal of the Oedipus myth. As the actors Marty New and Michael Potts contemplate their roles as Jocasta and Oedipus they uncover a more ancient story: that of the origins of writing.

Jocasta is the companion film to Elise Kermani's media philosophy book “Sonic Soma: Sound, Body and the Origins of the Alphabet” published by Atropos Press. Both the Jocasta DVD and the Sonic Soma book are available from

Elise Kermani - Director/Sound Designer/Editor
Barbara Kilpatrick - Production Design
Alan McIntyre Smith - Director of Photography
Melli Hoppe - Choreography
Jay Stern - Post Production Supervisor

Jocasta - Marty New
Oedipus/Polyneikes/Eteokles/Euripides - Michael Potts
Antigone - Melli Hoppe
Chorus Leaser - Vicky Shick
Musicians - Kevin James (leader), Chris McIntyre, Steve Swell, Mike Selzer

The Story
In Sophocles' play Oedipus Rex Jocasta hangs herself shortly after finding out that Oedipus is both her husband and son. In Euripides' play The Phoenician Women, Jocasta stays alive a little bit longer to try and reconcile her sons but stabs herself shortly after they kill each other during the war at Thebes. But in Kermani's Jocasta, Jocasta stays alive after her sons' mutual murders to perform a ritual sacrifice in order to save Thebes, and to satiate Ares' ancient fury of Kadmos' slaying of the dragon. Jocasta chooses the creative act of writing over suicide. Her ritual act re-members that Body is Presence (Plato's 'ousia' and Heidegger's 'Ereignis') and Jocasta reminds us that she (aka Iocasta) is related to Io, the Great Cow goddess of Egypt. The origins of writing are sacred manifestations of ousia/hestia...esti/Being. She reverses the taboo of incest, and reestablishes the holy symbollic image of mother and son. Jocasta's sacrifice was inspired by an ancient Persian ritual of ingesting the holy word in order to cure illness.

Jocasta might take its genesis from an ancient Greek play, but it displays a contemporary condition of exile and also communicates how ancient wars resonate for modern America. Jocasta reflects a historical mirror on the tenuous present in which we are living.

On one level, the film is structured as a play within the play. With a voice-over, the actors Marty New (as Jocasta) and Michael Potts (as Oedipus) question their own characters motivations. The playwright, a modern Euripides (also portrayed by Potts), struggles to finish the play. The film shows the playwright in the midst of the creative act of writing and shows him finding an appropriate ending to the play that satisfies his own scholarship. The playwright decides that the traditional version of the Oedipus story must be reversed and that Oedipus, Jocasta and Antigone will be reunited in a dance. Eventually, the proscenium falls and the cast and crew are revealed for who they really are behind the scene: mothers, sisters, sons, friends.

For more information about Jocasta contact MiShinnah Productions by emailing:


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