The theatre of August Strindberg is revived at the Performance Studio Vis Motrix with Creditors by Giorgos Karavasilis, who brings to Thessaloniki a theoretically riveting psychological thriller with few deceptions and lots of yawns.
Il teatro di August Strindberg rivive al Performance Studio Vis Motrix con i Creditori di Giorgos Karavasilis, il quale porta a Salonicco un thriller psicologico in teoria affascinante dove gli inganni sono pochi e gli sbadigli abbondano.
Το θέατρο του August Strindberg αναβιώνει στο Studio Performance Vis Motrix με τους Δανειστές του Γιώργου Καραβασίλη, ο οποίος φέρνει στη Θεσσαλονίκη ένα θεωρητικά καθηλωτικό ψυχολογικό θρίλερ με λίγες εξαπατήσεις και χασμουρητά.
In 1880, Èmile Zola published an essay called Naturalism on Stage, advocating for a wider integration of his literary theories also to the world of theatre. Eight years later, Swedish playwright August Strindberg wrote one of the most successful examples of this new form of dramatic representation, Miss Julie, created specifically to adhere with the three principles of this revolutionary school of thoughts: faire vrai, faire grand and faire simple. However, it is only in 1889 that Strindberg will produce his «most mature work» yet, Creditors, a carefully studied play on human behaviour and psychology with flesh-and-blood characters placed in a realistic and not-at-all flamboyant setting.
The text, albeit narratively simple, boasts a polished language – synonym of its times – and a thought-provoking subversion of paradigms, questioning the roles of both female sexuality and male anxiety in a relationship. «Adolph and Tekla spend their holidays, like every summer, at the seaside resort where they first met. When Tekla leaves for a few days, her husband will meet a mysterious guy named Gustav. Adolph, believing him to be trusted, begins to talk to him openly about his wife, revealing his problematic relationship with her. Once Tekla returns the truth will be revealed and it will be particularly painful for all three».
Through director Giorgos Karavasilis’ eyes, Strindberg’s ode to naturalism takes a slightly obnoxious turn, unavoidably losing the theoretical premise so noteworthy and groundbreaking in its time (and practically conservative nowadays) and withholding only its stiff structure. As Frank Zappa once said, «the young guys are more conservative and dangerous to the art form than the old guys with the cigars ever were», suggesting that when faced with a so-called classic, very few have the “guts” to pick it apart and understand what made it tick then and what could make it tick again now, hence offering – most of the times – an inconsequential and superficial reinterpretation of the original.
On top of that, the monotonous and verbose interpretations of Konstantinos Gerardos and Dimitris Sporidis – playing the part of a devious Iago-like character and of a gullible artist respectively – give a very negative meaning to the world realism, plunging the audience into an hour-long travail made of repeated movements and inexpressive fingers pointed left and centre. The only performance that manages, within the limits of a very strict context, to break through the thick veil of primness is that of Magdalini Bekri, playing the role of the ageing woman that has yet to learn how to ignore the deterioration of the flesh, valuing other types of less worldly possessions. An interesting conclusive note that may give some food for thoughts in an otherwise sterile play is the death of all three characters (not present in the original) as a possible way to absolve all of them from their perishing humanity or, alternatively, as a reference to the topical abundance of feminicides (“crimes of passion” they say) all around the world.
The show is still playing
Performance Studio Vis Motrix
Edisson 4 – Thessaloniki
4 to 6 May 2018
Friday and Saturday at 21.00
Sunday at 19.00
Creditors – Οι Δανειστές
by August Strindberg
translation Elena Fotiadou
direction Giorgos Karavasilis
assistant director Konstantinos Tsonis
cast Konstantinos Gerardos, Magdalini Bekri, Dimitris Sporidis
stage design Olga Spetsa
music Giorgos Dousos
lighting design Eleni Choumou
production organization Vasilios Dimitriadis