The Wound and the Ineffable Dream
A girl goes to the club on a Saturday night and never arrives back home. This is the simple premise on which director Yiannis Paraskevopoulos is called to work on by Kozani’s Municipal and Regional Theatre, a sadly notorious and topical drama (both in the West and the East) that would need a deeper, wider and more pungent reflection than the one offered by Elise Wilk’s The Green Cat.
Ένα κορίτσι πηγαίνει στο κλαμπ ένα Σάββατο βράδυ και δεν φτάνει ποτέ στο σπίτι. Αυτή είναι η απλή προϋπόθεση για την οποία ο σκηνοθέτης Γιάννης Παρασκευόπουλος καλείται να δημιουργεί από το ΔΗΠΕΘΕ Κοζάνης. Ένα δυστυχώς διαβόητο και επίκαιρο δράμα (τόσο στη Δύση όσο και στην Ανατολή) που θα χρειαζόταν μια βαθύτερη, ευρύτερη και πιο καυστική σκέψη από εκείνη που προσφέρει η Πράσινη γάτα της Elise Wilk.
Un’adolescente va in discoteca il sabato sera e non torna mai più a casa. Questa la semplice premessa su cui il regista Yiannis Paraskevopoulos è chiamato a dirigere dal Teatro Municipale e Regionale di Kozani; un dramma tristemente noto e quantomai attuale (sia all’ovest che all’est) che avrebbe però bisogno di una riflessione più profondo, ampia e pungente di quella offerta da Il gatto verde di Elise Wilk.
As Indo-Canadian novelist and playwright Anosh Irani says in a piece he wrote for the Magazine of New Writing “Granta”, «as human beings, all of us have a wound, a point of deep pain, and whether we are aware of this point or not, many of the decisions we make in life arise from this wound. What we think of as choices are, many a time, reactions. And if it is true in life, it is perhaps even truer in fiction. What is destiny if not a long string of choices, a reaction to the things that have happened to us? Destiny in life becomes plot in fiction». Indeed, the superposition of life and theatre – our form of fiction –, other than unavoidable, is always related to a path, an evolution both in terms of story or of character that leads to a resolution, a choice/reaction which shapes our world.
In Elise Wilk’s The Green Cat, the world is shaped by the death of a young girl, Bianca, whom, on a provincial and suburban Saturday night, decides to play the role that society imposed on teenagers to the very end, accepting the hackneyed lift from a stranger and driving herself to an untimely demise. The play is a «love story. Like many adolescent love stories, this love is unrequited. […] It is a story about a crime, a story we all know: we read it in the newspapers or we see it in the news», says the Romanian playwright, adding, however, that the one true protagonist is the redeeming force of fantasy on our dull, dismal lives, hence the polychromous and unwonted animal, a two-faced symbol of liberation and captivity, of otherness and sameness, a wound that will lead to unspeakable reactions.
And if the story is shaped by a wound, the direction tries to give form to an appropriate setting for this wound to crawl and wriggle its way upstream where, lead by a trail of rhythmical and muscular confessions, nests the «poetic environment» created by «transferring the [theatrical] space into the protagonist’s fantasy», as purported by director Yiannis Paraskevopoulos. It is here, in this fictional dimension, this ineffable dream built on and by non-fictional actors – young, energetic and convincing actors – that the plot can unhinge the doors of reality and, conversely, that destiny can pour into the act of make-believe.
Almost nothing, however, in this ill-fated representation of Eastern European adolescence manages to bring together the storytelling on the one hand (the wound) and the catharsis on the other (the ineffable dream), probably because too much effort goes into the construction of an artful structure that ultimately lacks contents. Indeed, the architecture of the play is strong and entangling, but the furniture is old, worn-out and unfit for the polyhedral, fleeting and short-lived adolescence of our times where kids are forced to be judge and jury of their own choices, whilst parents are lost in their own infantile navel, tormentedly looking for their long-gone umbilical cord. Proper analytical thoughts are scant, leaving too much space to trite and erroneous topoi that water down a drink that could otherwise have been very though to digest. The times are a-changing, and, if we do not want to be blown away with the dust, so should stories.
The show was played at
26th October Street, 35 – Thessaloniki
from 13th to 18th February 2018
Kozani’s Municipal and Regional Theatre presents
The Green Cat – Η Πράσινη Γάτα
by Elise Wilk
translation Vangelis Doukoutselis
direction Yannis Paraskevopoulos
music Manos Mylonakis
sets-lighting Richard Anthony
costumes Demis Araniadis
editing Tasos Papadopoulos
video Konstantinos Kostoudas
photo of poster-test Artemis Charalambidis
assistant director Maria Nefeli Paraskevopoulou
cast Ioanna Demertzidou, Yannis Karabambas, Alkiviadis Bakoyannis, Chrissi Bahcevani, Miltos Tsiados, Maria Christofidou