Death By Water
The small but cosy stage of Thessaloniki’s T Theatre (Theatro T) is black and bare, because the path we are going to take – led by the sure hand of Giota Festa – is inward, and it goes as deep as a bulky stone dropped in the abysmal seas. The Identification (I Anagnorisi) by Akis Dimou is a poetic descent in one act toward the core of any human’s life: to love, to be loved and to keep going.
Il piccolo ma accogliente palcoscenico del Theatro T di Salonicco si veste di nero e nulla più per un viaggio verso dentro guidato dalla mano sicura di Giota Festa. Con Il riconoscimento (I Anagnorisi) di Akis Dimou, andiamo giù come un grosso sasso che sprofonda negli abissi del mare, scendendo in un atto unico fino al fondale di qualsiasi vita: amare, essere amati e andare avanti.
Η μικρή, μα φιλόξενη, σκηνή του Θεάτρου Τ της Θεσσαλονίκης, ντύνεται στα μαύρα για ενα εσωτερικό οδοιπορικό υπό την έμπειρη καθοδήγηση του Γιώτα Φέστα. Με την Η Αναγνώριση του Άκη Δήμου, όπως μια πέτρα βαριά βουλιάζει στα βάθη του ωκεανού, έτσι κι εμείς βυθιζόμαστε μεσα σε αυτή τη μοναδική παράσταση, διεισδύωντας μέχρι τον πυθμένα κάθε ανθρώπινης ζωής: το να αγαπάς, να αγαπιέσαι και να προχωράς μπροστά.
The seat next to me has to remain empty. Our host is waiting for someone. A man. Who will never come. This flesh-and-bone version of Godot is laying on a cold slab of metal, waiting to be identified. A body, dead, filled with salty water and a story to tell. Giota Festa, in an anonymous dress and a time-weathered gait, walks down the steps of a morgue to find her long lost love, now gone forever, and spit her rage at him before finally letting go.
The mirror that is held up to us is of uncommon make. This woman is indeed a loved one, but the kind you would not introduce to your family: she’s a lover, a paramour, a concubine. And she was called upon to recognize the man that hugged her and possessed her every Thursday’s afternoon for seven years. The playwright thus uses this stratagem to begin his j’accuse to our hypocritical society and its empty, holier-than-thou rules. It is easy to point a finger to the shameless, selfish vixen that steals another woman’s husband (apparently the blame’s always on a she, never a he), much more harder to listen to her reasons, her lament, and her heartsick love.
Giota Festa then plays the part of a person that believes in the rightness of doing things wrong, a person who has learned to swim in the stink and not to sink in it, but at a price: Her days, now, are all dust. «I had nothing to do this afternoon. Or yesterday. Or tomorrow, for that matter». Bones are not the only part of our body that gets crippled. Our souls can get stiff too. And when winter comes, when on that last Thursday he denied his hugs and faced the wall, she faced her fall from grace, aching and shaking and small. For that’s what lovers do: They promise each other not to take vital parts, while in the end, they’re giving up their hearts.
Resonating for a moment with T.S. Eliot’s poetry, before veering violently into the opposite direction, Akis Dimou’s sensitive quill is a mixture of solid-grounded storytelling and fleeting oneiric images. Indeed, like a torrid, sun-drenched landscape in the middle of August, The Identification sails forward to its foreseeable end with only a few gushes of squall-bearing winds to save it from the dead calm of a seen-before poetic inventory. «If I ask you, will you tell me? How is the sea from below? I want to know. […] Is it true what they say about its depths? That they hide sunken loves? What do the seeds of the waves look like? Do shipwrecks deserve to be remembered? Do nets turn into silk again? And how come that my phone number was saved? Did you entrust it to the oysters as if it were a pearl? I want to know: do fishes reach the heart, or do they munch on the skin only?».
As a matter of fact, when the ship of their relations is far past broken-keeled, Giota Festa gives voice to a series of exquisite lines that shake us and conquer us for a brief moment, before vanishing into the repository of nice words with weak meanings. First published in 2002 and premiered in 2005, this pièce could need not only a revision, but also a better grip on its evocativeness, finding stronger seeds to throw in our ears, seeds that take root and sprout.
The show is still playing
T Theatre (Theatro T)
Alexandrou Fleming 16 street – Thessaloniki
from 3 to 12 March 2017
Fridays and Saturdays 21.30
The Identification (I Anagnorisi)
a play by Akis Dimou
direction Fraso Mastrokalou, Giota Festa
cast Giota Festa
sound design Sofia Kamagianni
photography Anna Kei
production Pan Entertainment