Death of a Greek Salesman
For two more shows, one of Thessaloniki’s oldest houses, the so-called Bensousan Han, hosted in its decrepit rooms blurred by the passing of time The Life of Eustratius – First Writing, a suggestive tale narrated with the torn rhythm of a rusty carillon singing its final melody.
Tagliati i ponti con il passato, l’unica direzione percorribile è quella che conduce al futuro, ma quanto si può sperare di costruire se a ogni passo tocca risotterrare le conseguenze di quelle azioni che inevitabilmente tornano a chiedere il conto? La vita di Eustratio – Prima stesura tenta di analizzare cosa significhi quel “un bel giorno me ne andrò da questo posto” che tanto sentiamo e che spesso e volentieri vediamo realizzarsi in temporanei slanci pronti, ancor prima di partire, a tornare indietro. Dando voce e sostanza alle foto ingiallite di un’altra epoca, la giovane compagnia messa insieme da Thomas Velissaris ipnotizza con le sue polifonie e lancia fiera il proprio grido di sfida: esiste un teatro fuori dai teatri.
Καίγοντας τις γέφυρες προς το παρελθόν η μόνη δυνατή κατεύθυνση που μπορούμε να πάρουμε είναι αυτή που οδηγεί προς το μελλον. Ωστόσο, με τι αισιοδοξία μπορεί κάποιος να ελπίζει σε ένα καλύτερο μέλλον όταν τα φαντάσματα του παρελθόντος συνεχίζουν να τον στοιχειώνουν; Ο βίος του Ευστράτιου επιχειρεί να αναλύσει το τι σημαίνει η φράση “μια ωραία πρωία θα φύγω από εδώ” που ακούμε συχνά και βλέπουμε να πραγματοποιείται μέσα από προσωρινά άλματα που ακόμα πριν ξεκινήσουν είναι έτοιμα να γυρίσουν πίσω. Δίνοντας φωνή και ουσία στις κιτρινισμένες φωτογραφίες μιας άλλης εποχής η νεαρή ομάδα που δημιούργησε ο Θωμάς Βελισσάρης υπνοτίζει με τις πολυφωνίες της, αλαλάζοντας περήφανα την ιαχή: Υπάρχει ένα θέατρο διαφορετικό από τα υπόλοιπα.
Greece, 1950. But also Greece, 2017. A small village at the foot of the Olympus, under the silent eyes of the ancient gods. The exhausted lives of its inhabitants struggle not to snap under the brunt of their immobility. It is in this environment where free will is completely submitted to the whims of time that the young Susanna decides to go look for the hushed secrets of her dying father, Eustratius. Nine chairs support the choir of this peculiar, head-over-heels Bildungsroman in which the present must learn its own past in order to hope for a different future. Nine actors take their turn in this sui generis representation of a not-so bygone era, thinning the air of the small room where 40 people breathe in their sorrows and their timeless quest for self-identification.
As author and director Thomas Velissaris says, the tragedy «outlines life in the Greek province, not by studying their manners and morals, but by capturing those human desires, constraints and passions that rebuilt the education and the culture of a country looking for its personal identity». The Life of Eustratius – First Writing is thus so much more than a simple play; it is a solid link between the glory of the Ancient Greek Theatre and a contemporary language still struggling for words to address its own issues. Within a “canonical” choral structure, the polyphonic music becomes the base for a hallucinatory descent into the memories and illusions of a past crossed out for the sake of a “Hellenic Dream” made of entrepreneurial prowess and self-made-manship. Just like its capitalistic counterpart overseas, this dream will inevitably lead to the realization that status is nothing without values, and that if a whole country is built on appearances, sooner or later everything will crumble apart.
But what is striking about this parable of the prodigal father who returns after years in the tawdry wilderness of consumerism only to find out that everything he crushed under his feet is now sticking to his wealthy soles, dragging him down, is the commingling of voices, languages and techniques that add up to a strikingly original and humble production, consequence of years of economic crisis that managed to cut the arms and legs of most artists, but not their wings. In a system that has been plucking out our eyes just for blaming us of our blindness, knowing that our bare will can still generate such a complex storytelling also without the support of the Leviathan we call National Theatres is, after all, a much-needed source of comfort.
The show was played in
6, Edessis street – Thessaloniki
10, 11 and 24 April 2017
and 14,15 May 2017
The Life of Eustratios – First Writing Ο Βίος του Ευστράτου – Γραφή Πρώτη
written and directed by Thomas Velissaris
assistant director Tatiana Nikolaidou, Marina Kazoli
music teaching-editing Eftychia Kavalika
production organization Tatiana Nikolaidou and company
scenography-costume design by the company
cast Maria Alexandridou, Maria Arutzidou, Eftychia Kavalika, Maro Karageorgou, Dimitris Koustolidis, Vangelis Mageiros, Elena Pantelidou, Natalia-Lyda Pappa, Kostas Chatzigeorgiou