Imagine that you’re inside a piano. Now imagine that the piano is the size of a concert hall. This installation-musical piece is inspired by the idea of the prepared piano. It involves a mechanically altered piano, which became famous when used in compositions by John Cage and others, where screws, metal sheets and other objects are placed on the piano’s strings, changing its sound.
Stavros Gasparatos’s performance Expanded Piano transforms this idea into an original electronic form. An acoustic piano is wired up, with different kinds of microphones placed on its main body, on its chords and inside its playing mechanism. The signal from each one of these microphones is processed live by a computer and in turn distributed to a 24-channel surround installation, which places the audience “inside” the piano.
Expanded Piano” by Stavros Gasparatos was commissioned by EMPAC / Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY.
Three generations of a bourgeois family in disintegration. Broken, hypocritical relationships allegorically reveal the means by which the threads of the history of modern Greek capitalist society are woven. Humorous children’s songs and disembodied voices comment on the guilt-ridden passions and latent violence that unfold on stage. Director Victor Ardittis approaches Maria Efstathiadis’ world by weaving together text, melody and movement to mount a tapestry of scenes depicting the course of the upper class in the 20th century. Until the young daughter burns it all down.
“While political corruption rules, Dikaiopolis takes on an initiative for Peace, Justice and Meritocracy. Aristophanes the politician is in fine form!” remarks Yannis Kakleas about The Acharnians, while he too seems to be in fine form as he takes on yet another Aristophanean endeavour. Unpredictable as always, he continues to explore the scenic Aristophanean form, with a host of outstanding comic actors in a play which praises the benefits of peaceful co-existence, mocking the warmongers.
In an Athens ravaged by the Peloponnesian War, Dikaiopolis commits to the cause of peace. He begins negotiations with Sparta and succeeds in persuading the Acharnians, who fought at Marathon and constitute the largest deme of Attica, to concur. The market place opens and desperation leads to all kind of merchandise being put up for sale: geese, hares, and even maidens disguised as piglets.
Heading up a stellar cast and crew, Vangelis Theodoropoulos stages the Greek premiere of Sophocles’ Ajax translated by D.N. Maronitis at the ancient theatre of Epidaurus.
In this tragedy, which was presented around 440 BC and is set during the tenth year of the Trojan War, Ajax, the greatest warrior of the Greek camp following the death of Achilles, lays claim to the dead hero’s armour, but the Greek leaders decide to award it to Odysseus. Deeply offended by this terrible injustice, he takes his sword and goes out into the night to wreak revenge, but Athena makes him go mad, turning his anger into a wild rage which he unleashes onto the flocks of the Greeks, slaughtering them. When he realizes what he has done, his dignity cannot bear the humiliation and he commits suicide. As often is the case in history, the politicians – represented here by Odysseus – get the upper hand compared to the warriors, who, despite having fought selflessly, are overridden by the new order of things.
Andonis Foniadakis, a Greek of the diaspora with a prominent international career, is making his first appearance at the Athens Festival in a performance of his solo work Priority. The title has both a literal and a symbolic meaning: it refers to a bar back in his teenage years but also to an early experience that has been of seminal importance in his relationship to dance and his search for identity. The starting point and main thrust of the work is precisely this notion of priority, the exploration of the preconscious, here through the use of movement: inceptive, primordial, and stripped to its essence.
Pretending to be dying, Filumena Marturano convinces Domenico Soriano, her lover from the time she worked in the brothels of Napes, to marry her. When Soriano learns the truth, he cancels the wedding. However, Filumena has another weapon at her disposal. She tells him that she has three sons, who she raised using Soriano’s money, and that one of them is his. But shortly before the ceremony, Domenico asks Filumena to tell him which of the three is his son, threatening to cancel the wedding. Filumena does not want to distinguish between her children and keeps the secret. Domenico is thus faced with a difficult decision.
The life and times of the legendary heroine Filumena Marturano in a male-dominated society and a new perspective on the violence that underlies human relationships.
Winnie and Willie are in the middle of a bare and desolate plain. Winnie, sunk up to her waist in a mound of earth into which she is gradually sinking, passes another “happy day” between the sound of the bell for waking and the bell for sleep, indulging in a daily repetition of actions, in a routine that she follows with ceremonial reverence. She talks incessantly, quotes from the classics, brushes her teeth, mumbles half-forgotten prayers… Time passes tortuously and Willie behind her, an almost invisible figure, remains silent, the sole recipient of her endless monologue.
It is a mythic work and an enormous challenge for the actor, a landmark of western culture written in a language that is uniquely clear and elliptical.
In 16th century England, Henry VIII wants to divorce Catherine of Aragon so that he can marry Anne Boleyn, have a male heir and thereby secure the Tudor dynasty. His plan meets with opposition both from the Vatican and from within his own court. While the efforts of the king΄s advisors focus on effecting the royal will, there is one man who stands in his way. Sir Thomas More chooses to remain faithful to his beliefs and his conscience rather than facilitating the king΄s ambitions. A schism is thus inevitable. Henry VIII proclaims himself head of the Anglican church and marries Anne Boleyn. Sir Thomas More, unshakeable in his convictions, is imprisoned in the Tower of London, tried for high treason and sentenced to death.
First performance: 22/11/2014
In the twilight years of the Middle Ages, acclaimed theologian and philosopher Pierre Abelard and his pupil Heloise Fulbert embark on a torrid love affair that scandalises the Church and Paris society, becoming the protagonists of a tragic tale of love which marked that era. Yannis Kalavrianos is back at the Athens Festival for the third time – following Paraloges or Short Everyday Tragedies and Sons and Daughters – and introduces us, along with Eleni Kokkidou, Yorgos Glastras, Christina Maxouri and 13 amateur players, to a couple that has become an eternal symbol of love. Because in love there are no compromises….
1-2 June, 21:00
Peiraios 260, Building D
Eight years on from Draft B, Konstantinos Rigos returns to the Athens Festival with a production about the (futile) quest for happiness. Arcadia, as both a starting point and a final destination, provides a broad perspective for the episodes that comprise the production. Twelve dancers attempt to invoke collective images inspired by the idyllic land of Arcadia in the audience’s memory. But the world of eternal innocence, of happiness and freedom has been lost forever. Arcadiais a requiem for nature, for the utopian dream of Arcadia is in retreat, forced back by the frenzied destruction of the natural environment and the acceptance of our mortality.
16-17 June, 21:00
Peiraios 260, Building H
Ermira Goro, who has spent invaluable years at the side of DV8-founder Lloyd Newson, as both a dancer and artistic assistant, presents a personal work to Athens Festival audiences for the first time. She transforms the stage into a kaleidoscope of identities, an ideal place where different music and dance cultures, stripped of any folkloristic elements, connect and coexist in harmony. Memories of lost homelands intertwine in a singular ritual, with immigrants and natives given equal status in this multicultural production that seeks to shift the borders between “us” and “the Others”.
7-8 July, 21:00
Peiraios 260, Building D
Following on from her Golden Dragon (National Theatre of Greece, 2010), Katerina Evangelatos undertakes the Greek premiere of another work by Roland Schimmelpfennig. This time, the award-winning German author is inspired by the myth of Idomeneus. Returning from the Trojan War, the king of Crete is swept up into a terrible storm. Facing death, he vows a human sacrifice to the gods, but in so doing, without meaning to, he puts his son’s life in danger.
In the production, a cast of ten men and women including Akilas Karazisis, Yiannis Dalianis, Alexandra Pantelaki, Pantelis Dentakis, Amalia Ninou, Iro Bezou and Sofia Kokkali undertakes to narrate before a hundred people’s eyes alternative versions of the story as it could have unfolded. “A turning point in the evolution of contemporary dramaturgy and a challenge for the director” is how Katerina Evangelatos describes Idomeneus, her first collaboration with the Athens Festival.
20-22 July, 21:00
Peiraios 260, Building D
What can save the city? The momentum of modernisation or the grandeur of the past? Euripides or Aeschylus? Realism or the supernatural? The dilemma posed by Aristophanes in The Frogs takes centre stage in Yiannis Kakleas’ production, which examines the importance of art in times of transition such as ours. The power of art, the poorness of modern critique, theatre as an artistic and political act, comprise elements of a performance that explores new theatrical forms and the value of verse, while demonstrating the timelessness of Aristophanes’ quandary.
1-2 August, 21:00
Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus
"Wisteria Maiden", the new creation by Andonis Foniadakis/Apotosoma Dance Co, borrows the title from a Kabuki play that narrates the story of an unrequited love; a girl in a painting that comes to life out of her desire for the man she has fallen in love, only to be rejected and return to her painting in despair. Apart from the story, what was intriguing for Andonis Foniadakis, is that in Kabuki, all the female roles are interpreted by male actors. The notion of transformation in this context and the questions on the construction of gender that rise were the starting point for a process that was further enriched with other elements that led the piece to explore new directions: disguise, role-play, presence/absence through the use of masks, and the romance of the Other.
The result is a personal universe through the play and distortion of several references, coming not only from traditional Japanese theatre - Kabuki, Noh, Bunraku puppets - but also from Japanese painting, photography, ghost stories and myths and symbols.
The choreography functions as a ritual and shifts from being a batterie calligraphy to slowing down in order to reveal the power of the precision of the gesture. A continuation of powerful images that come and go, reminding us the perpetual aspect of natural phenomena, picturing another representation of nature and revealing the realness of the artificial.
Sakis Birbilis is a visionary Lighting Designer, passionately devoted to theatrical and musical productions since 1996.
He has begun his professional career working along with Emmy award winner lighting designer Eleftheria Deko .
Since then he has designed the lighting for more than 300 theatrical plays releasing original creativity and technical artistry, contributing essentially to acclaimed work of artistic & production value.