If You Want Happiness, Do This First

If You Want Happiness, Do This First

When Ariadne is dumped on an island and Theseus leaves, it’s kind of like you know what? She doesn’t need anyone, you know? She’s got herself.
— Olivia Gard (Ariadne)

Happiness comes from within. Cliche as right? But it's true.

Nobody learns this more than Ariadne in our new dance work. Everybody says it. They want to be happy. But what exactly does this "being happy" entail?

Ariadne's story suggests it must come from within.

Choreographer Alex Dellaportas set out to create a work that would both tell the timeless tale of Theseus, the Minotaur and Ariadne, but also one that carried a significant emotional meaning.

“The Minotaur is sort of that inside part of us that may be the, you know, the darkest part, the ugliest part, the part that we don't like so much. Ariadne goes through the whole story really relating to this Minotaur… but she is the one that eventually decides ‘I will help Theseus to kill this Minotaur’, and there's this sort of like metaphor there that she's choosing to kill that part of herself”.

Ariadne spends most of the dance work wanting to leave her home island and explore the world. She believes there is something more to life and something more to herself that she hasn’t yet discovered. She believes that she can find happiness elsewhere. There are undertones of mental illness throughout the whole piece, Ariadne herself depicting symptoms of depression and low self-esteem.

She feels alone and isolated and feels that she might somehow be able to take away her sadness by searching for happiness somewhere else. She has to realise though that true happiness must come from within yourself, first.

This brings on a complex relationship with the Minotaur. In the real story of Theseus and the Minotaur, the Minotaur is actually Ariadne’s half-brother. So it makes sense that these two should have some kind of a strong connection in any retelling of the story.

When she meets the Minotaur face to face, she finds solace in the quiet beauty of its flaws. It is real and unedited for society and she longs to feel that way. The Minotaur helps her to find that part inside herself. But this is where it goes wrong; once she discovers this part, Ariadne decides it is better to run away from the ugly, the real. And thus comes her decision to kill the Minotaur and leave the island.

She’s your typical young person. She doesn’t have good self-esteem and she relies heavily on others to help tell her who she is and what she should do. This metaphor comes in the form of the Golden Thread which Theseus uses to find his way in and out of the labyrinth. Ariadne fears letting go of this and forms a strong attachment to her thread – relying on others to get her out of her sadness and somehow magically whisk her off to happy land.

“I definitely relate to her a lot because it kind of feels like we're the same person. Ariadne has really helped me figure out who I am, and I'm really grateful.” Olivia Gard plays the troubled woman Ariadne and believes others can relate to the character as much as she has.

“By the end of the story, she kind of figures out who she is and kind of believes in herself a bit more. When Ariadne is dumped on an island and Theseus leaves, it's kind of like you know what? She doesn't need anyone, you know? She's got herself. She finally figures out who she is… she's a strong, brave woman.”

So how do you get there? Inner happiness, that is? Working through your own labyrinth of consturcted walls and dead ends to find your deepest self is the way to go. For some, this might take therapy, for others it might mean spending more time reflecting on your life and taking 15 mins each day to be honest with yourself - to list the things that you truly love about yourself. For some, it's as simple as realising that you are the only one in control of your happiness and self-esteem.

Nobody can take that away from you.

If you're interested in seeing these concepts live in ARIADNE, book tickets today to the world-premiere on the 27th and 28th September 2018.