An lullaby from Mesopotamia. Shadow Theater for all ages over 5
The ancient lullaby will be sung in Hebrew and Akkadian at the end.
The show brings to life the story of a young couple and their village somewhere in Mesopotamia, 4000 years ago. It develops throughout 8 scenes that begin with the creation of the Mesopotamian world and ends with the birth of a baby that will only calm down if his mother sings to him.
When I first read the lullaby in its Hebrew translation, I was amazed to find it mentioned Enkidu. A figure dear to me since the time I formed part of a Shadow Theater group in Buenos Aires in the 70's, "Transparencias" and we created a Shadow Show on the epic of Gilgamesh, I wondered what had Enkidu to do in a text meant to lull a baby to sleep?. There started my journey of research about the lullaby.
Lullabies are not stories mothers tell their babies. The last thing they want is to keep the baby alert and curious. It is her voice, the rocking and feeling of the mother's body that make the baby sleepy. As it falls asleep, mothers add their own words to the melody, whatever is in their minds, very often what worries them or makes them impatient....
I found out that Enkidu, the hero known for his strength, his connection with nature and animals and his unique friendship with Gilgamesh, is a figure that appears in many old sayings of the time. Mesopotamian women in the pangs of birth would cry out: " May the baby slip out of the House of Darkness ( the womb) as quickly as a gazelle!!!" and " May Enkidu's embrace not hold you back in the womb".
Enkidu was known to stay awake at night watching out against hunters, protecting the animals in the waterholes, so mothers would beg him" "Enkidu! If you stay awake please give your share of sleep to my baby!" also " Sleep my baby! May sleep get hold of you as strongly as the embrace of Enkidu!
All are visualized in the show:
Akkadian lullaby: Anonymous. Mesopotamia, about 2500 BC.
Direction, Cutouts for Scenery and Shadow Puppets: Patricia O'Donovan.
Adaptation of the lullaby into a story: Patricia O'Donovan incorporating Akkadian sayings.
Music: Yarden Erez.
Metal work and body lamp: Mario Keizman.
On stage: Patricia O'Donovan and Yarden Erez
Production 2008: Train Theater of Jerusalem
Re-Production 2017: AMBULO company ( can be played in Hebrew, English and Spanish)
Lullaby: German translation of Akkadian lullaby by Z.A. Farber (*)
Hebrew translation: Nadav Linial
Consultants: Kamal Kizel, student of Babylonian language at the Department of Linguistics of Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJ), Dr. Uri Gabbay and Professor Wayne Horowitz from the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Studies at HUJ, Atida Braun German translator
Cuneiform clay replica of lullaby tablet: Dr. Uri Gabbay.
First production: Train Theater of Jerusalem 2008
(*) Farber, Z.A (1981) Baby –Beschworungen, 34-35.Literature: Farber, Antophos,85(1990), 140-143.( needs correction)
Watch here a vimeo clip in Hebrew.
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