Comrade Love

With a series of presentations in various venues, directress Eleana Tsichli brings to the audience her vision of a controversial yet beloved poet of last century, giving evidence of an exquisite aesthetic sensitivity and a wise use of her actors’ many talents that scream at the top of their voice: «Hey, you! Heaven! Off with your hat! I am coming!».


Tramite una serie di presentazioni in vari spazi, la regista Eleana Tsichli consegna al pubblico la propria visione di un poeta del secolo scorso controverso e al contempo amato, dando mostra di una sensibilità estetica squisita e un’oculatezza nel gestire i molteplici talenti dei suoi attori, tutti presi a gridare a squarciagola: «Ehi voi! Cielo! Toglietevi il cappello! Sto arrivando!».




Με μια σειρά παρουσιάσεων σε διάφορους χώρους, η σκηνοθέτησα Ελεάνα Τσίχλη φέρνει στο κοινό το όραμά της για έναν αμφιλεγόμενο αλλά αγαπημένο ποιητή του περασμένου αιώνα, δίνοντας στοιχεία για μια εξαίσια αισθητική ευαισθησία και σοφή χρήση των πολυάριθμων ταλέντων των ηθοποιών της που κραυγάζουν στην κορυφή της φωνής τους: « Έι, εσείς! Ουρανέ! Βγάλτε το καπέλο σας! Περνάω εγώ!».



Greece always had a fling with communism, whether through Soviet-Maoist ideas dominating its post-war economy or by way of artistic and political expressions. It is not surprising, then, to find heaps of people waiting in line to see a performance about the life and death of the «best and the most talented poet of our Soviet epoch», as Stalin once put it. What truly amazes about The Story of V.M. – A Man with a Yellow Blouse, other than being an attendance success, is its fresh, young and dynamic direction, perfectly matched by the biting interpretation of the four little Mayakovskys that take the State Museum of Contemporary Art by storm.

Born in 1893 in Georgia (then part of the Russian Empire) by Cossacks and Ukrainians, Vladimir Konstantinovich Mayakovsky quickly made his way to Moscow, where he extinguished his ardent revolutionary activism with the soothing waters of poetry. As the alternating and constantly hair-rising impersonations recount, after creating the group Hylaea, expression of the nascent Russian Futurism, Mayakovsky kept experimenting with words until the day of his death, moved by a feverish passion for Socialism («There’d be no higher art for me than “The Foreword” by Marx») and Art («I stopped my Party activities. Sat down and started to learn… Now my intention was to make the Socialist art»).

The image created by Katerina Alexi, Fani Apostolidou, Nikos Milias, Giorgos Nousis, however, is much more complex than a simple biographical depiction of a regular scandal-maker poet. Nothing is left to chance (despite the many bumps on the road) – from the careful selection of clothes to the multi-layered, collage-like narration, which literally glues the audience to its seats – nor to a vagueness that too often has showed its face in Thessaloniki’s theatre scene, giving this play the right to demand a bigger scene and a wider audience. Here, directress Eleana Tsichli carefully crafts a humane bed for the impetuous actorial river and heads it, with quirky bends and poetic falls, towards our present days, drawing a parallelism that works, persuades and makes you wonder. And if the whole performance/manifesto bears scrutiny, it is thanks to a feverish passion for Theatre not unlike Mayakovsky’s. Because after all is said and done, only love keeps us going, then and now, alike.

The show is still playing
different locations
Kolokotroni 25-27, Stavroupoli – Thessaloniki
from 4 January to 1 March
see performance schedule of NTNG for more info on days and locations

The National Theatre of Northern Greece presents
The Story of V.M. – A Man with a Yellow Blouse – Η ιστορία του Β.Μ. – ενός ανθρώπου με κίτρινη μπλούζα
concept, idea and dramaturgy Eleana Tsichli, Giorgos Nousis
direction Eleana Tsichli
set-costumes Tina Tzoka
photography Tasos Thomoglou
production co-ordinator Filothei Eleftheriadou
cast Katerina Alexi, Fani Apostolidou, Nikos Milias, Giorgos Nousis


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