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An all-puppet version of “The Sound of Music” March 29, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Stage & Theater.
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The von Trapp family singers as marionettes in “The Sound of Music”, the world’s oldest marionette theater, is coming to Athens next week

Finally, great entertainment for the family: The Salzburg Marionettes will be presenting the true story of the von Trapp family of singers in an all-puppet version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music”.

The company is the biggest and oldest marionette theater in the world, founded in Salzburg, Austria by sculptor Anton Aicher in 1913, and now directed by his granddaughter Gretel. The company gives 160 performances a year of classics such as “The Magic Flute”, “Tales of Hoffmann” and Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

“The Sound of Music”, adapted from the 1965 film starring Julie Andrews, premiered on November 2, 2007, in Dallas, Texas, at the beginning of a five-week US tour. In Athens, there will be five performances, beginning on 4, 5 and 6  April at the ACS Theater in Halandri, Athens, organized by Maria Frezadou. 

Frezadou was also responsible for bringing Mikhail Gorbachev to Athens, as well as Umberto Eco, Marlon Brando, Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli and Placido Domingo. Part of the proceeds will be donated toward Special Olympics Hellas. Performances will have Greek supertitles.

ACS Theater, 53 Garyttou Street, Halandri, Athens, tel 210 639334. For information and tickets call 210 7234567.


Celebrating today’s World Theater Day March 27, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Stage & Theater.
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Performance > Thessaloniki > Tonight

Celebrating today’s World Theater Day, the National Theater of Northern Greece will stage Anneli Xiroyianni’s play “Volume” at the Lazariston Monastery Small Theater tonight, directed by Christina Hadzivassileiou. Admission is free. Advance bookings are necessary.
Lazariston Monastery, 21 Kolokotroni Street, Thessaloniki, tel 2310 589102.

Theater Discussion > Athens > Tonight

The Ianos bookstore will host a discussion on theater today, on the occasion of World Theater Day, at 8 p.m. Participants will include academics Hara Bakonikola and Platon Mavromoustakos and others. There will also be a tribute to theater music, with live performances.
Ianos Bookstores, 24 Stadiou Street, Athens, tel 210 3217917.

Neverland takes Peter Pan to ice in Nicosia March 23, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Cyprus, Stage & Theater.
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The classic tale of Peter Pan gets its skates on next week for three performances in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Full of pirates and fairies, it’s a place where kids love to visit and adults love to remember. After all, there can’t be many grown ups out there who haven’t spent at least some of their childhood in this dreamy place. Now is the time to embrace the world of wild imagination as you and the kids join the mischievous Peter Pan, his hot tempered pixie pal, Tinkerbell, and the Darling children as they soar away to the mysterious Neverland, where childhood lasts forever.

But don’t think of theatre curtains drawing open and actors taking centre stage, this Neverland gang will be easing off the chill factor as they prance around on ice in a show at the Eleftheria Basketball Stadium in a week’s time.

A basketball stadium in the capital may not quite be what the Scottish JM Barrie had in mind when he thought up the tale, but then again, it’s all about forgetting reality as we’re taken to a world where boys fly and magically refuse to grow up. As the playful Peter arrives to blow fairy dust over Cypriot audiences you can expect a show featuring world class and Olympic champion skaters from the Russian Ice Stars in a production by the UK’s Wild Rose Company and John Yiannakis. “Having toured around the UK for the past two years, our performances are fully booked around the country until next summer,” says Yiannakis. “Because of the high standard of skating, the story may be for children but it’s also quite a visual experience for adults.”

It’s all things normal when the story starts off as we are introduced to the bedtime rituals of the Darling children living a proper middle class life in Edwardian London. Things take an unexpected turn when Peter Pan sneaks into the room one night to listen in on their bedtime stories. Convincing them to fly away with him out of the window and into the depths of Neverland, all sorts of adventures begin in the mysterious place. There are the mean pirates led by Captain Hook, while a whole bunch of Indians, mermaids and crocodiles transport the audience into a world of make believe. Having been so relentlessly hashed and re-hashed over the years, we often forget just how witty and delightfully odd the story is.

The character of Peter Pan first appeared in 1902 in a section of a novel for adults called The Little White Bird. It was so successful that Barrie reprinted it as a full story for children, first performed as a stage play 1904. Little did he know that it would become such a worldwide theatre success, a Walt Disney smash hit in 1953, adapted into the 1991 film Hook, and even providing the inspiration for the more recent Finding Neverland starring Johnny Depp.

All this action is under the direction of Italian Guiseppe Arena, a former member and teacher of La Scala Ballet Company in Milan, often regarded today as one of the most innovative ice choreographers throughout the world. In 2004 Giuseppe was rewarded by the Italian government for his contributions to dance and was bestowed with the Italian equivalent of knighthood and the title of ‘Cavaliere’. In 2006 he was responsible for the choreography of the opening ceremony of Turin’s 2006 Winter Olympic Games. The music of the show has been composed by Maestro Silvio Amato. Who can say no to a little make believe brought to life by real talent?

Peter Pan on Ice > The magical classic children’s tale brought to life by the Russian Ice Stars. March 30 and 31. Eleftheria Basketball Stadium, Makedonitissa, Nicosia. €25 adults/€12 children. March 30, 8pm. March 31, 5pm and 8pm. For information call 22 818212.

New theater places emphasis on technology March 23, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece, Arts Events Greece, Arts Museums, Stage & Theater.
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23-03-08_theatron1.jpg  The Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Center welcomes the Theatron [Theater]

23-03-08_theatron2.jpg  A digital view of the venue’s main hall, the Antigone, which can be transformed in 12 different ways so as to cater to all kinds of performances as well as conferences.

As of yesterday, the Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Center on Pireos Street can boast a new acquisition. The brand new theater, called the Theatron, makes its debut with a show commemorating the venue’s 10th anniversary, directed by Yiannis Kakleas. Fully equipped with the latest technology, the Theatron promises to become yet another cultural landmark on this fast-developing part of Pireos Street.

23-03-08_ime1.jpg  It comes just a year after the opening of the Tholos, the Hellenic Cosmos’s striking virtual-reality theater.

A guided tour of the theater on Tuesday revealed a highly efficient building with a high degree of functional diversity. Seating that can be re-arranged in various ways, excellent acoustics and sound-proofing and a stage with multiple possibilities are just some of the theater’s many features. “The sound-proofing is so good that theoretically we could have a rock concert downstairs and a poetry reading upstairs,” joked Dimitris Efraimoglou, Managing Director of the Foundation of the Hellenic World, the institution that has founded the Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Center, at the press conference.

23-03-08_theatron3.jpg  The three-level theater has two halls: the main one, Antigone, can be transformed in 12 different ways and can host anything from a theater performance to a large conference. The second, Iphigenia, can be used independently but can also open onto the main hall. Additional features include three foyers that can host exhibitions and other performances, rooms for rehearsals and a garage that will eventually have a 1000-car capacity. “We want to offer a hospitable venue to actors and dancers,” said Efraimoglou. He explained that the theater’s emphasis is on technology and one of the aims is to enable artists to combine live action with digital technology.

According to Thrasyvoulos Giatsios, program director of Hellenic Cosmos, the venue will focus mostly on contemporary spectacles and young artists without, however, excluding more classic-themed repertoires. “With the exception of our first performance, we will not host our own productions. We are interested in working with institutions that bring ensembles from abroad,” he said. Theater and dance shows as well as concerts by local and foreign artists will find a home at the Theatron. Giatsios did not rule out the possibility of booking the theater for an entire season for just one production, although there is a preference for ensembles giving a limited number of shows.

23-03-08_ime2.jpg  The program has yet to be announced, but there will be collaborations with the Attiki Cultural Society, the company that has brought actors such as Charlotte Rampling, Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant to Athens, a concert organized by the Athens College Alumni and a tribute to the work of lyricist Lina Nikolakopoulou.

“The Theatron is ideal for directors who love technology. You can experiment with mixed media on body movement, music and vocals without losing the warm atmosphere of traditional theaters” said director Yiannis Kakleas. “Personally, I love multimedia productions. So many possibilities open up when live action co-exists with different kinds of sets thanks to virtual reality. Within the context of theater or dance you can create a visually beautiful show. Most theaters don’t have the structure for that. But this one does.”

The opening performance, which bears Kakleas’s signature, is a tribute to the past, present and future of the Foundation of the Hellenic World featuring live music by Haris Alexiou, among other things. It premiered yesterday and will be staged again tonight.

Related Links > http://www.ime.gr

A common view for visual arts at the theater March 18, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Stage & Theater.
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The second part of “Common View” a project that aims to bring the visual arts into dialogue with theater, opened yesterday at the New Stage of the National Theater.

Curated by Ghislaine Dantan and Eleni Koukou and initiated by Yiannis Houvardas, director of the National Theater, the project invites visual artists to make works that address issues related to performance. The works have been placed in the foyer of the theater, the first part took place in the vestibule of the Rex Theater, part of the project’s challenge is to make contemporary art relevant to both a visual arts public and adherents of theater.

18-03-08_dimitra_vamiali.jpg  Installation view by artist Dimitra Vamiali

The newly inaugurated second part includes an installation by Dimitra Vamiali and a performance by Giorgos Sapountzis. Vamiali, who will also participate in the upcoming third and final part of Common View at the end of the month, has taken excerpts from the scripts of the plays performed this season by the National Theater and presented them in the form of panels that resemble old-fashioned commercial signage.

Giorgos Sapountzis, who has made several public performances aimed at sensitizing us to urban sites, will be showing a three-hour, audience-interactive performance scheduled for Friday night at the Pedion tou Areos. His performance makes reference to Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” which opens at the Kappa Theater on the same day. For participation, the general public should contact > commonview@n-t.gr.

Dimitra Vamiali’s installation is being shown at the National Theater’s New Stage, 41 Evmolpidon Street, Gazi, Athens. The installation is open during the theater’s hours of operation. Videos documenting four different performances by Giorgos Sapountzis are also presented alongside.

Related Links > www.n-t.gr

Theater takes on the challenge of Roidis’s controversial “Popess Joan” March 17, 2008

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Director Sotiris Hatzakis and art director Lydia Koniordou have opted to use puristic version > Emmanuel Roidis’s condemning language of 150 years ago remains contemporary,’ says director Sotiris Hatzakis. Performances of his theatrical adaptation begin March 21 at Patras’s Apollon Theater.

A century-and-a-half has elapsed since Emmanuel Roidis shocked the Nation and was excommunicated by the Greek Orthodox Church for his novel “I Papissa Ioanna”  [Popess Joan]. Even today, this legendary work continues to provoke, not so much as a scandalous literary outing but as a work that is extremely daring, disrespectful, biting and venomous. Its appeal is ongoing because this is a well-structured, imaginative and surprise-laden novel delivered in the writer’s typically scintillating and ironic style. The question is whether all these elements can be transfered to the stage. It is only natural to respond reservedly to a theater’s decision to stage Roidis’s “Popess Joan”. The concern is accentuated further by past attempts, such as those by Giorgos Roussos and Gerasimos Stavros, where the only aspect preserved was the plot. Now, Roidis’s old classic is being prepared for a staging by the Regional Municipal Theater of Patras, presently under the artistic direction of esteemed actress Lydia Koniordou. Performances, at the city’s Apollon Theater, begin on March 21. The production, Sotiris Hatzakis, will then be brought to Athens in May before returning to its base for performances around the region’s Achaia prefecture.

Initially, Hatzakis had intended to stage a theatrical adaptation of novelist Pavlos Matesis’s “Mitera tou Skylou” [Dog’s Mother] but that plan fell through and he subsequently proposed staging the Roidis classic, a work he had contemplated for a while, “because of its history and language,” in the director’s words.

“The play tells the story of an orphan girl who wanders through medieval gloom and learns about the art of survival. She is surrounded by violence and hypocrisy, but is armed with intelligence and power of reasoning, which help her adapt to the conditions and measure up to others. To survive, she resorts to transvestism by donning a male monk’s cassock and playing the role,” commented Hatzakis. “As a monk, she rises through the Catholic church’s hierarchy. She undergoes changes and the hot-blooded girl of the outdoor life and erotic and pagan stories is transformed into an icy traveler. When she is finally declared Pope, the little that remains of her moral values begins to be totally demolished. The moment she conquers the very top and calms down, the subsequent boredom she feels awakens her womb, which had hibernated for years … she gets wrapped up amid a flowering of feelings and ends up pregnant. And that is the beginning of her end.”

Considering the novel’s language, didn’t the director have second thoughts when thinking about taking this work to the stage?

“Yes, and they were even greater than the ones I felt when I thought about doing Alexandros Papadiamantis’s ‘The Murderess’, which we did with Lydia Koniordou. Because, here, apart from various other things, we have to deal with a relentless take on puristic Greek that is rigid and untouched, without the looser moments of Papadiamantis’s fused language,” said Hatzakis. “Here, we have a writer who is phlegmatic, possesses high-quality irony, and launches an attack on the Catholic Church in a cold-blooded fashion – all this through his use of language.”

In preserving Roidis’s old-school puristic Greek language, the director, responding to a question, said he was not worried about modern-day audiences having problems understanding the play.

“I’m not afraid of this at all. Of course, there were some concerns at first, as had also been the case with ‘The Murderess’, which ended up being groundless,” remarked Hatzakis, who added that when taking on such a project one should not be driven to concerns about whether it will be “understood by the people … It should be more a case of ‘let’s see how the public will react. It’s an opportunity to see how such a venture will work out. With this venture, I’m taking a stand against the recent trend to translate works into the vernacular.”

Asked whether it was possible to transfer the irony of Roidis’s language onto the stage, Hatzakis admitted that this proved to be a real challenge, and one that remains untested.

“We’ve taken a leap and only the end result will tell us if we’ve been successful. However, we have been having a great time at rehearsals, discovering a forward-looking text that was as controversial as could be during its time, and which still stirs waters today. Because when the break with power is truly revolutionary and relentless, it condemns its structure and abuse in a timeless fashion.”

European Theater Prize March 15, 2008

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French director Patrice Chereau, the subversive German directorial team Rimini Protokoll, German choreographer Sasha Waltz, Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski, the Belarus Free Theater and other groups and personalities from the world of theater, along with 300 journalists and theater critics from around Europe, will be coming together in Thessaloniki in April for the 12th European Theater Prize.

The National Theater of Northern Greece will be hosting and sponsoring (with 800,000 euros) the event for the second consecutive year.

The entire event, held at the lofty Vassiliko [Royal] Theater, will run from April 9-13 and will include groundbreaking performances from guest companies, as well as a symposium led by Chereau, the guest of honor this year. The acclaimed French director will also present “La Douleur”, a text written by Marguerite Duras, read by Dominique Blanc and Chereau and directed by Thierry Thieu Niang.

Waltz, Warlikowski and Rimini Protokoll will share the 10th prize for “new theatrical realities,” while a special mention will be made for the Belarus Free Theater for its “opposition to the oppression of its government,” as founder Nikolai Kalezin explains.