Take an ancient house with squeaking doors, jolty floorboards and a lingering smell of foreboding, fill it with an audience and let the actors lead them from room to room, disentangling a domestic drama magnified by the unbearable pressure of religious fanaticism and lack of empathy: you’ll get an Exorcism.
Prendete un’antica casa con porte cigolanti, assi del pavimento sconnesse e un odore stantio di inquietudine, riempitela con un pubblico e lasciate che gli attori li accompagnino di stanza in stanza, sbrogliando il filo di un dramma familiare ingigantito dall’insopportabile pressione del fanatismo religioso e della mancanza di empatia: avrete un Esorcismo.
Πάρτε ένα παλιό σπίτι με πόρτες που τσιρίζουν, χαλασμένες σανίδες και μια παρατεταμένη μυρωδιά προαισθήματος, γεμίστε το με ένα κοινό και αφήστε τους ηθοποιούς να το οδηγήσει από δωμάτιο σε δωμάτιο, εξιστορώνδας ένα οικιακό δράμα μεγεθυνόμενο από την αφόρητη πίεση του θρησκευτικού φανατισμού και την έλλειψη συμπάθειας: θα καταλήγετε με έναν Εξορκισμό.
The English language entertains two words to describe what we feel when we are scared: terror and horror. The first one is experienced before the scary event takes place, while the second on is a sort of recollection of frights past. Hence the difference between terrible and horrible, between anxiety (or fearfulness) and shock (or scare). As Gothic writer Ann Radcliffe puts it, terror is characterized by indeterminacy in how the potentially horrible events are going to be dealt with, an indeterminacy that, in turn, leads to the sublime. It «expands the soul and awakens the faculties to a high degree of life». Horror, on the other hand, «freezes and nearly annihilates them» with its sheer, unambiguous display of atrocity. To put it more simply, the difference between the two is the same physical, tangible one there is between «the smell of death and stumbling against a corpse» (Devendra Varma).
In the play Exorcism by Greek theatre company Theatre of Aforetime (Θέατρο του Άλλοτε), we are presented with a rather classic representation of horror: a zealously Christian family –so God-fearing as to deem impious the walk down to the greengrocer, as if it were the long forgotten 8th capital sin– has its faith put to test by an evil force that could or could not be what we might expect. «Personality disorder? Divine intervention? Mental illness? Psychological disorder? Demonic possession? Psychopathology? Schizophrenia? No one will ever know…», this is the indeterminacy on which the play is staged, an indefiniteness, that turns out to be far too determinate to lead us to the aforementioned sublime.
As a matter of fact, other than the open-stage approach that has us wandering around the room of this perfect house that is the Bensousan Han (very much like sick voyeurs waiting for their fix of pain and gore), the surprises, a fundamental element in the machinery of shock, are rather few. The domestic drama unravels in front of our eyes with a language that can hardly be as convincing on a stage as it is on the silver screen, confirming once again that getting scared is a very intimate circumstance, seldom recreated in a theatre, even when the lights go out.
The show was played in
6, Edessis street – Thessaloniki
from October 5, every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
the Theatre of Aforetime presents
Exorcism – Εξορχισμός
written by Maria Raptis
direction Barbara Doumanidou
set design Theatre of Aforetime
stage objects Μη με λισμόνει
technical support Maria Semertzidou
costume design Katerina Abrikidou
poster creation Fotini Filoxenidou
trailer by Tomas Vrakas, Kostas Vrakas
photos Nikos Garras
cast Olga Kalamara, Dimitris Vassiliadis, Barbara Doumanidou, Georgia Vogiatzoglou, Stergios Konstanzikis