My Own Route is Zoe Sorrell’s newest flute-based performance piece, making its debut at Carnegie Stage September 14th and 15th. Using voice, text, flute and movement, My Own Route focuses on the stories of four Greek mythological characters: Pandora, Athena, Caenis and Syrinx. Sorrell says she came up with the idea for the project while getting her undergraduate degree at Oberlin College: “I was studying this Debussy piece... (this) beautiful solo flute piece called Syrinx. And as the diligent, dutiful student that I was... I started to look into the background of this piece and I discovered that there’s a whole story about Syrinx and Pan and this relationship that they had... that Pan wanted to have and Syrinx did not.”
As the Greek story goes, one day Pan (God of Nature and often associated with sexuality) approached Syrinx (Wood nymph, who valued her chastity) in hopes of wooing her. Syrinx, not being ‘that into’ Pan, rejected him but he continued his pursuit. Desperate to get away from his unwanted advances, Syrinx made a run for it towards the River Ladon. When she got there, she saw that there was no way she’d be able to cross it. With Pan fast approaching, Syrinx prayed to be transformed and soon she was... into a reed. With Syrinx gone, Pan stood at the rivers’ edge grief stricken, while listening to the sound of wind rushing through the reeds. That’s when he came up with the idea of making a reed into a flute, so he could always have Syrinx by his side.
Pan and Syrinx by Jean-François de Troy (French, 1679 - 1752). With permission from Getty’s Open Content Program
In an age of #metoo and nouveau feminism, narratives like these are being turned on their heads. Why couldn’t Pan just leave Syrinx alone when she said no? Why did Synrix have to change herself in order to protect herself? What kind of f-ed up, a$$hole carves a woman into a flute (hunh?) … a woman who clearly wanted NOTHING TO DO WITH HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE!? And Debussy makes a beautiful, lyrical musical piece out of this story? WHAT THE WHAT?
Sorrell asks, “How can we give these women back their power?... I wanted to rewrite their stories for them and give them their autonomy ... re-empower them!”
Join us at the premiere of My Own Route as we support Zoe, Athena, Syrinx, Pandora, Caenis and all the women whose stories need to be heard.
Learn more about My Own Route in the interview with Zoe Sorrell below.