Grendelkin: Ethical Readings and Avant-Garde Performances of Beowulf

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Location: 3rd Floor Theater, Washington Hall

Grendelkin Poster

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Most of us in the English-speaking world have read Beowulf, in translation and in high school. It is generally taught as an ancient text with insights into Anglo-Saxon culture, whispering from our distant past. But can these whispers speak meaningfully to us today, aside from mining historical gems from the text?

Beowulf is a medieval poem about heroes and monsters. But it also a poem cautioning against the destructive forces of violence and greed, the very same combination of forces which most trouble the world today.

For those who read the text in the original language, Beowulf is a playful, at times suspenseful, poem which masks its monsters in ambiguous language and draws verbal parallels between the heroic protagonists and their monstrous antagonists in ways that challenge a reader’s assumptions. And, of course, it was performed!

Are there ways of performing Beowulf that speak both to then and now? This is the mission behind Grendelkin.

Grendelkin is a two day production sponsored by Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute that seeks to highlight the ethical concerns expressed in Beowulf through professional storytelling and avant-garde performance. Grendelkin interrogates the function of reciprocal and sanctioned violence within the text and challenges tribalism and the warrior ethos of the poem, while keeping a modern audience and their contemporary concerns in focus.

The event is free (no ticket charge) and open to the public. Tickets will be given at the door and programs will be available at the venue. The performances run from 7:30pm until 9:00 pm, with refreshments the following hour on both evenings. 

Read more about the event schedule and artist biographies