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Theatre beyond commercial success

04 November 2015 / 19:11:33  GRReporter
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You yourself are the author of a play, "The House", which was staged at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation in Athens. In your theatre writing, critic Leanrdos Polenakis distinguishes some influences from Plato sneaking behind the seemingly ordinary but particularly complex dramaturgical structure. Advanced Pirandello’s technique is inserted in too, a game of opposing mirrors and endless reflections? What goal have you set by engaging the audience as a participant in the stage action?
I can say that the presence of Pirandello is quite deliberate (though not the result of preliminary intention). Just my theatrical education and talent, whatever it is, too early have passed through exploring the art of Pirandello and its charm. When I was a teenager, maybe in the third grade at high school, I was awarded the first prize for narrative in a literary contest at school and they rewarded me with a book with plays by Pirandello, which had just been translated into Greek. I read and reread them enchanted. By a happy coincidence, RIK (the Cyprus radio and television broadcaster) staged an avant-garde theatre play directed by Evi Gavriilidi at the same time; there were plays by Pirandello among the performances, which I saw as many times as I could. Therefore, I take for granted that, in the early period of my spiritual formation, Pirandello and of course, other important playwrights (Beckett, Pinter, Ionesco, Arabal and others) had a crucial influence on my orientations and on my theatre writing style.
As for the other part of your question (about the influence of Platonic ideas), it is not easy to give an answer. As a graduate of a good Philosophy School, such as that of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki at the time when I studied there (1972-1978), I am certainly familiar with Plato’s works. I even remember initially considering continuing to study philosophy when I had to choose the profile of specialization. But the lecturers at the Philosophy Schools did not inspire me then, unlike the lure of neo-Hellenists (especially G.P. Savidis but also D.N. Maronitis who was teaching Modern Greek poetry at that time). Therefore, I turned to Modern Greek literature that I combined with Theatre Studies and I have not repented of this choice. Later, Platonic ideas occupied my attention sometimes, either through my poetry or mainly through the study of other poets that had been engaged in dialogue with Platonic topics such as Cavafy. Thus, at the level of the architectonic form of the work, but with certain ideas presented in it, the knowledge of Plato probably had a "hypodermic" effect as an indispensable assistant.
You have also dealt with the relations between Cyprus and Spain in terms of their literary interaction. It is known that these relations have a long history and they are not limited to the commercial sphere alone. In the 14th century during the Lusignan era, the royal courts of Cyprus and Aragon, one of the most powerful Spanish kingdoms at that time, established closer relations. The most important dynastic marriage was between King Hugo’s son, Petros, and Eleanor, the daughter of the heir to the throne of Aragon. The marriage took place in 1353 and Petros was anointed King of Cyprus five years later. Eleonora of Aragon, already the Queen of Cyprus, played a crucial role in the political affairs of the island after King Petros passed away (1369), keeping power until 1380, when she returned to her homeland. How did the audience respond to the play about Eleonora that you staged with the theatrical workshop? Have you had the opportunity to visit Spain with it?
Our play on motives of the medieval "Cyprus Chronicle" with protagonists Peter I and Eleonora of Aragon was performed with great success, both in Cyprus and in many other European countries (Greece, Germany, France, England). It was scheduled twice to be performed in Spain but to no avail: the first time at the invitation of an unforgettable Catalan friend, Hellenist, Alexis-Eudald Sola, to be staged in Barcelona, ​​and the second time at the proposal of university professor Moshos Morfakidis to be presented during a major neo-Hellenistic Congress in Granada. Ultimately, this idea was implemented with great success in April 2012 when, at the invitation of neo-Hellenist Claire Fotini Skandami, a large part of the work (that which refers to Eleonora) was presented in Barcelona. The play was a great success and our friends in Barcelona welcomed it with enthusiasm as we had taken care for the key moments of the play to be in the Catalan language so that the Catalan audience could get a taste of the turbulent life of this controversial and magnetic personality. Thus, Eleonora of Aragon, the Queen of Cyprus for a decade (1359-1369), returned to her homeland through a Cypriot work.

 

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