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Epidaurus festival aims high April 17, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Festivals.

Annual ancient drama event to continue tradition while injecting modern elements > Fiona Shaw is set to appear in Samuel Beckett’s ’Happy Days.’

The Festival of Ancient Drama in Epidaurus hopes to achieve two separate goals this year: On the one hand, organizers want to continue the 50-year tradition, while on the other, they also wish to renew the festival through a combination of ancient drama and modern takes on it, as seen in works by Samuel Beckett, for instance.

It is also hoped that this year’s performances, four Greek productions, a Cypriot one and two distinguished productions from Germany and Britain, will turn the ancient theater into an international meeting point.

This summer’s event will open with a repetition of Lefteris Vogiatzis’s take on Sophocles’ “Antigone” on June 29 and 30, which also marked the successful ending of last year’s festival. Those who missed out on the opportunity to see it last year will be able to do so now, although no two performances by Vogiatzis are ever identical. Luigi Cherubini’s “Medea” will follow on July 14, bringing to a climax the tribute to Maria Callas on the 30-year anniversary of her death. Acclaimed Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci will play the part of Medea.

On July 20 and 21, the Greek National Theater will stage Racine’s “Andromache” directed by Dimitris Mavrikios and starring Lydia Fotopoulou in the title role, Nikos Karathanos as Pyrrus, Maria Kechagioglou as Hermione and Christos Loulis as Orestes. On July 27-28, the National Theater of Northern Greece will present Aristophanes’ comedy “Lysistrata” starring Renia Louizidou, and on August 3 and 4 the Cyprus Theater Organization will stage Euripides’ “Iphigenia in Taurus.”

A week later, another National Theater production will hit the stage, namely Sophocles’ “Electra” directed by Peter Stein. The main roles will be played by Stefania Goulioti (Electra), Kora Karvouni (Chrysothemis), Apostolis Totsikas (Orestes), Karyofyllia Karabeti (Clytemnestra), Yiannis Fertis (Paedagogus), Lazaros Georgakopoulos (Aegisthus) and Miltos Sotiriadis (Pylades).

Two major foreign productions are set to follow: On August 17-18, the Frankfurt Schauspiel Theater Organization will stage Aeschylus’ trilogy “The Oresteia” directed by Karin Neuheuser. Neuheuser’s approach is based on contemporary references and indirect memories from her country’s past. One of Europe’s oldest theater organizations, the Schauspiel first opened in 1782 as Frankfurt’s National Theater. Today it is well known for its modern interpretations of classical works as well as the promotion of young playwrights.

Finally, on August 24-25, theater lovers will be able to see Samuel Beckett’s “Happy Days” by the British National Theater, directed by Deborah Warner and starring Fiona Shaw as Winnie. The production has received an enthusiastic response from British critics, both regarding Warner’s direction, considered one of Europe’s top directors, and Shaw’s interpretation.

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