Much Ado About Nothing
After more than 300 shows around Greece throughout the years, Dimitris Tarlow’s take on his grandfather and renowned writer M. Karagatsis’ novel The Great Chimera arrives in Thessaloniki with a new set design that dazzles an easily awe-struck audience while hardly bringing anything worth of notice to the table.
Dopo più di 300 rappresentazioni in Grecia e non solo, la reinterpretazione di Dimitris Tarlow del romanzo La grande chimera, scritto dal nonno e rinomato scrittore M. Karagatsis, arriva a Salonicco con una nuova scenografia perfetta per lasciare a bocca aperta il facile pubblico locale e gettare fumo negli occhi a chiunque altro.
Μετά από περισσότερες από 300 παραστάσεις στην Ελλάδα και στο εξωτερικό, ο Δημήτρης Τάρλοου ξαναφέρνει στην Θεσσαλονίκη το μυθιστόρημα του παππού του και μυθιστορηματογράφου Μ. Καραγκάτση Η Μεγάλη Χίμαιρα με ένα νέο σκηνικό σχεδιασμό που θαμπώνει ένα κοινό που καταπλήσσεται με ευκολία, χωρίς να προσθέτει, όμως, τίποτα που αξίζει να σημειωθεί στο θεατρικό κόσμο.
Falling into steps with the so-called Generation of the 30s, M. Karagatsis dramatic novel The Great Chimera is an exquisitely well-written record of Greece’s “roaring age” that, with its lavish high-class get-togethers, its fear of social humiliation and besmirching and its fatally self-consuming bourgeoisie-ness, works as a perfect backdrop for an excruciating yet redeeming modern-day tragedy in the land of yore.
Marina Baret, a French Hellenist living in her homeland together with her high-class prostitute of a mother, experiences on her very skin the torments and afflictions of the hypocrisy of love, a mere tool on the path to carnal satisfaction, and decides to shatter the remaining speck of decency that so falsely hovers around her by selling her own virginity for a paltry 20 francs, thus actively inducing a death by broken heart. With a bag full of inheritance money and inescapable childhood traumas, she will then run into the caring and gentle arms of a Greek ship owner with whom she will elope towards her so-oft dreamed promised land.
In her acclimatization under Apollo, this foreigner will try her best to fit in a «”wonderfully” inhospitable Greece» where dreams and nightmares are made of the same stuff, a chimera of past, present and tragic future, but to no avail. In Stratis Paschalis’ adaptation for the stage, the illusory reality of persons and situations depicted in the original focuses on the platonic ménage à trois between Marina, her husband Yiannis and his brother Minas, a well-read hedonist personifying the modern Greek imbued in the ancient glory of the classics but lured astray by the debauchery of his times, constantly stressing the Manichean duality between East and West, past and present, Ancient sophisticated expressiveness and coarse Modern informality.
If the novel can easily be defined as a seminal piece of art in the Hellenic literature, the same cannot be said about Dimitris Tarlow’s direction which, through over-explanatory cinematic projections, painstakingly redundant movements, canned laughs and textbook stage solutions, gently takes the hand of the audience and smothers it throughout the whole play, whispering to its hear that everything will be alright, that no one will leave the theatre puzzled, displeased or, God forbid, less patriotic.
Indeed, every potential source of doubt, contradictory feelings or introspection is pre-emptively flattened out like an unwanted grease on your best cocktail dress both by the antiseptic and unconvincing performance of the whole cast and the aforementioned directorial insipidity, producing an easy to digest three hour-long ode to a resplendent and hackneyed Greekness made of tragic women, hard-working sailors, unforgiving seas, widows, childless mothers, egotistic sons and, reigning above them all, Fate – the unavoidable Greek god that dethroned the ancient ones and survived over the centuries, punishing every hubris and smiting all sinners – leaving nothing new under the sun.
The show was is still playing at
Thessaloniki Concert Hall
Martiou 25 & Paralia – Thessaloniki
from 12 to 23 of April 2018
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 20.30
Sundays at 19.30
Saturday 21 of April at 17.00
the Piraeus Municipal Theatre presents
The Great Chimera – Η Μεγάλη Χήμαιρα
by M. Karagatsis
adaptation Stratis Paschalis
director Dimitris Tarlow
set designer – costume designer Eleni Manolopoulou
music Katerina Polemi
lighting Alekos Anastassiou
movement – choreography Zoe Chatziantoniou
director of cinematic portion Christos Dimas
assistant directors Anna Pasparaki, Dimitra Koutsokosta
assistant set designer Tina Tzoka
assistant choreographer Korina Kokkali
photographer Vassia Anagnostopoulou
cast Alexandra Aidini, Maximos Moumouris, Dimitris Mothoneos, Sophia Seirli, Irene Fanarioti, Anastasia Yiannioti, Irene Broulidaki, Myrto Broulidaki, Manio Tarlow, Rasme Tsipelia, Dimitris Tarlow