Photo by John Kouskoutis
Photo by John Kouskoutis
Photo by John Kouskoutis
Photo by John Kouskoutis
Photo by John Kouskoutis


By Romeo Castellucci

ΜΑ – a one-word title interpreted in multiple languages: the first clear word of an infant calling its mother; the root of the word ‘‘matrice,’’ i.e. the womb which opens itself to earth in order to generate, and the mold that gives form to lifeless matter.

Two thousand years after the Eleusinian Mysteries, the internationally renowned Italian director introduces a contemporary ritual, in the context of a site-specific performance specially designed for the Eleusis archaeological site.

Romeo Castellucci’s central character is a matricide who is not of Greek origin, a foreigner in this context. His arrival at the archaeological site disrupts and challenges the established cult, which strictly prohibited entry to those who had stained their hands with blood. Touching a mother was seen as a disruption of the natural order, for a mother who gives life can also bring death. A child, unable to give birth to its mother, likewise cannot take her life. Barbarians were also barred from participating in the Eleusinian Mysteries because their language lacked the concept of logos (discourse), the interplay of words and silence, and the understanding of rhythm, which governs meaning, expectations, pulses, and pauses, acting as a measure to contain and organize chaos.

Romeo Castellucci’s approach doesn’t seek to faithfully replicate the archaic ritual according to archaeological typology, nor does it aim for a contemporary reinterpretation of the history of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Instead, he places the uninitiated, the barbarians, and the matricides at the center of attention to emphasize the symbolism and allegorical aspects of the drama. In the profound silence of the Eleusis archaeological site, devoid of consumable energy, under the bright daylight, a man, having served his sentence, traverses the sacred grounds. Yet, it is through sacrilege that the sanctuary can be reactivated. Forgiveness and the longed-for reconciliation can only be achieved through desecration.
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Ingo Starz, Die internationale Kulturplattform 


The use of the archaeological site is convincing; Castellucci has the ability to revive ideas and rituals from antiquity. The contemporary relevance created by Filippo Addamo raises interesting questions and expands upon what has been discussed in the past. It’s particularly impressive how the sound, created by his son using traditional instruments, seems to emanate from the earth, emphasizing the mystical nature of the event. Castellucci’s “MA” provides the opportunity to perceive the archaeological site in a different, more emotional manner. Through this performance, the European Capital of Culture encapsulates its concept centered around mysteries. The audience highly approves of this.

Days of Art 


Without resorting to a representation of the archaic ritual according to archaeological typology, nor to a contemporary re-interpretation and re-articulation of the history of the Eleusinian Mysteries, Romeo Castellucci places the uninitiated, the barbarians and the matricides at the center of attention, to highlight the symbolism and the allegorical dimension of the drama.

Theodore Antonopoulos  LiFo Mag 


The imaginative and revolutionary performance conceived and directed by Romeo Castellucci, especially for the archaeological site of Eleusis, was both deeply moving and thought-provoking. It presented a profound allegory on birth, the womb, motherhood, life, and death, with a real matricide as the central character, a man who has been released from prison (Filippo Addamo, the only male actor in a production dominated by the female body as a unity and multiplicity). This concept had been gestating for years in the mind of the creator and underwent numerous transformations before being realized. It was a genuine initiation into a profound mystery.
Conceived & Directed Romeo Castellucci Original Music Demetrio Castellucci Choreography Gloria Dorliguzzo Dramaturgy Associate Lucia Amara Assistant Director Silvano Voltolina Assistant Choreographer Camilla Neri Starring Filippo Addamo Also participating Alexia Dimitrakoulia, Katerina Douvi, Penny Eleftheriadou, Faidra Ntaioglou, Stefania Gogou, Dafni Kafetzi, Katerina Kalochristianaki, Stella Kapetaniou, Gabriela Kokkini, Polena Kolia Petersen, Iro Konti, Christiana Kosiari, Konstantina Koutsaftaki, Eirini Kyriakou, Athina Kyrousi, Laura Mamakos, Eirini Mastora, Afroditi Michailidou, Erifili Panagiotarea, Fotini Papachristopoulou, Kristie Papadopoulou, Katerina Papandreou, Maria Psarologou, Antonia Pitoulidou, Maro Stavrinou, Serafina Sideri, Rafaela Tsobanoudi, Eleni Vergeti, Chryssi Vidalaki, Ioanna Chloe Voulgari, Eleni Zafiri And the children Theano Christinaki, Athena Makri, Maria Passa, Emilia Roussi Musicians Aggelos Christakis, Renato Kousis, Menelaos Moraitis, Spiros Tzekos Production Management (IT) SOCIETAS Technical Direction Eugenio Resta Costumes Chiara Venturini Production & Tour Giulia Colla Stage Sculptures Plastikart Studio (Istvan Zimmermann & Giovanna Amoroso) Costume Making Atélier Grazia Bagnaresi Production Manager Benedetta Briglia Promotion & Distribution Gilda Biasini Project Organisation Caterina Soranzo On-site Technical Team Carmen Castellucci, Francesca Di Serio, Gionni Gardini, Lorenzo Camera Administration Michela Medri, Elisa Bruno, Simona Barducci Economic Consulting Massimiliano Coli Line Production & Management (GR) TooFarEast Production Management Nikos Mavrakis, Christos Christopoulos Location & Venue Manager Anastasia Tsopelaki Line Production Konstantina Douka-Gkosi, Aristidis Kreatsoulas Production Assistants Panagiotis Babas, Nafsika Keke Wardrobe Crew Emmanouela Mastora, Dionisis Argyropoulos Ioannou Stage Managers Katerina Georgoudaki, Giorgos Antonopoulos Stage Technicians Manager Giannis Kougias Stage Technicians Christos Tsiropoulos, Thanos Roumeliotis, Dimitris Ioannou, Giorgos Kalyvas, Stergios Karvouniaris Frontline Staff Danai Androni, Varvara Zouka, Spyros Lambrou, Eirini Mpakoula, Giorgos Dimitrakopoulos    
ΜΑ Video Credits: Cinematography Cenote Productions, Director of photography / Editor Nikos Nikolopoulos, Production sound mixer Stefanos Efthymiou, Sound assistant Alex Κoulouris, Camera operator Alexandros Asplind,  Camera operators: Pantelis Ladas, Nikos Papaevangeliou, Thomas Tsiftelis, Camera Rental: Rentphotovideo
Project Coordination (2023 Eleusis) Isavella-Dimitra Karouti Collaborator of 2023 Eleusis – consultant on the work of Romeo Castellucci Dio Kangelari The altarpiece was produced by the Opéra National de Paris for Il primo omicidio by Romeo Castellucci. A production of Eleusis 2023 European Capital of Culture With the support of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Western Attica 


For their unconditional contribution, we would like to express our gratitude to the following individuals: Kalliopi Papaggeli, former Head of the Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities and Museums Department, Dio Kangelari, Assistant Professor of School of Drama – Faculty of Fine Arts, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Director of Studies, Drama School, National Theatre of Greece, Elena Papalexiou, Associate Professor at the Department of Theatre Studies, University of the Peloponnese, & scientific director of the research project “Genesis: Genetic Research and Digital Visualization in the Performing Arts” (funded by Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation), and Avra Xepapadakou, Associate Professor, University of Nicosia,

Christina Merkouri, Head of the Ephorate of Antiquities of West Attica, and Efstathia Anesti, archaeologist at the Ephorate of Antiquities of West Attica, Dr. Eleni-Eva Toumbakari, Project Manager of the Department of Restoration of Ancient Monuments in Elefsina, as well as all the security staff at the Eleusis archaeological site.

Many thanks to the parents and families of the children who participated in the performance, for their continuous presence and support. Supported by the Ephorate of Antiquities of West Attica.

Special thanks to Kelly Diapouli, former Artistic Director of Eleusis 2021, European Capital of Culture, who wholeheartedly extended her invitation of collaboration.   The project Mystery 11 MA is realized in the framework of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan “Greece 2.0” with funding from the European Union – NextGenerationEU.

Premiered in September 2023 at the Archaeological Site of Elefsina, Greece.


The video of the performance will be available for touring from December 2023.