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Theatre beyond commercial success

04 November 2015 / 19:11:33  GRReporter
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What are the main accents of the Cultural Festival that each year takes place in the ancient Axiotea yard which houses the theatrical workshop?
Over time, the festival has expanded and become enriched, especially with concerts of selected quality music. This festival has its own specifics. On one hand, it is not interested in theatre formations that enjoy a noisy commercial success, in artists who respect the tastes of yet another "wider audience" or the "commercial Piazza" to put it another way; it is interested in artists who are accountable to their own art, who are consistent in their development, even if it often keeps them in marginal areas.
Our festival is thematically focused. The emphasis in our interests is on the Mediterranean culture and especially on its expression in the periphery, in more remote areas. Mainly the crossroads and impurities of culture capture our attention as well as the culture that is produced of idiomatic languages ​​and dialects, because it is not deprived of individuality by the dominant culture in a country. This peculiarity is still typical of those areas that have not yet fallen under the norms. Therefore, our choice falls on a few "logs" or "lonely" artists, on the feeling of closeness, on formations that fit very well into the homelike atmosphere of our festival. The stage is actually located in the courtyard of a house of traditional architecture on Axiotea Street in the old part of Nicosia.  
You have staged "Ballad of the Dead Brother'' and "The Bridge of Arta" - two motifs that are found in the oral tradition of all Balkan peoples. Publisher of "The Anthology of Balkan Poetry" (ed. "Friends of Andy magazine", 2006-2008) Christos Papoutsakis has even preferred the first of them as a motto that symbolizes the general expression of the Balkan soul. To what extent could Cyprus be considered part of the Balkans?
Before I answer let me say that I have really been systematically involved in the study of our folklore, both in my lectures at the University of Cyprus and in the activities of the theatrical workshop. However, only the adaptation of "The Bridge of Arta" ("Song of the Bridge" would be better) reached the stage. We have worked on many other stage adaptations ("Song of the Dead Brother", "Heliogeniti", "Haberdasher," "The Evil Mother", etc.), philologically and dramatically, but they have not been acted on stage. In every case, this study shows that regardless of how far Cyprus is from the Balkan Peninsula in terms of geography, spiritually and culturally it belongs to it as much as it belongs to the Levant. I am convinced that Cyprus’ strong relationship with the Balkan culture passes through its undeniable organic link with the Greek culture. This means that Crete, Cyprus and Rhodes belong to the Balkans as much as Greece.

Tags: Michalis PierisMetamorphoses of CitiesTheatrical workshop at the University of CyprusZdravka Mihaylova
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