De Bello Hominum
The second appointment of the 1st Meeting of Young Artists of Southeast Europe “Ancient Drama and Politics”, Tracing Limits and Possibilities, welcomed on the scene of the ΕΜΣ Theatre a truly South-eastern production by Teatr Andra under the direction of Alexandra Kazazou, who took the recent yet renowned piece Troas by Dimitris Dimitriadis and filtered it through her own unconscious, breathing life into an intimate and excruciating deconstruction of humanity which, alas, misses its aim by half of the world’s population.
Il secondo appuntamento con il I° Incontro di giovani artisti dell’Europa del sud-est “Dramma antico e politica”, Tracciare limiti e possibilità, ha dato i benvenuto sul palcoscenico del Teatro ΕΜΣ una produzione veramente sud-orientale realizzata dal Teatr Andra per la regia di Alexandra Kazazou, la quale ha preso in mano la recente eppur rinomata pièce Troas di Dimitris Dimitriadis, e l’ha filtrata attraverso il proprio inconscio, dando vita a una decostruzione intima e insopportabile dell’umanità tutta che, purtroppo, manca il bersaglio di mezza popolazione mondiale.
Το δεύτερο ραντεβού της 1ης Συνάντησης Νέων Καλλιτεχνών της Νοτιοανατολικής Ευρώπης, Αρχαίο Δράμα & Πολιτική, Aνίχνευσης – Όρια και δυνατότητες, καλωσόρισε στη σκηνή του Θεάτρου ΕΜΣ μια πραγματικά νοτιοανατολική παραγωγή του Teatr Andra υπό την σκηνοθεσία της Αλεξάνδρας Καζάζου, που πήρε το πρόσφατο αλλά φημισμένο κομμάτι Τρωάς του Δημήτρη Δημητριάδη και το διήνυσε μέσα από τη δική της ασυνείδητη, δίνοντας ζωή σε μια οικεία και μανιώδη αποδόμηση της ανθρωπότητας η οποία, αλίμονο, χάνει το στόχο της κατά το ήμισυ του παγκόσμιου πληθυσμού.
What is a man? Many have tried to define the essence of us human beings (as opposed to all other living beings on the planet), referring to qualities such as consciousness, soul, awareness, and so on and so forth. According to Dimitris Dimitradis, however, this plethora of definitions falls short of honesty and proper self-analysis, as what we all must accept is that we’re nothing but a tool of war, pain and destruction. As a matter of fact, the writer himself maintains that the only animal capable of waging a conflict is actually that mammalian biped that inhabits our cities, and so it is our duty to «break our iced cores and find out what we’re all made of». And what better way to discover what’s hidden inside our bodies than the welcoming stage of a theatre, «where one can safely fail in his search for truth»?
Hence Troas, a genealogical triptych of men who devoted their life to war, or where prematurely mowed down by it. The first one on the scene is the great Priamus, King of Troy, followed by his son Hector and his nephew, Astyanax. Slowly and poetically claiming that war is an innate necessity of all human beings, this lineage of rulers waits in line presenting its personal take on the ars bellis, bringing to the fore the point of view of the pugnacious, the soldier and the son of war respectively. Led by the exquisite and visually violent direction of Alexandra Kazazou, the three Turkish actors from Istanbul-based Teatr Andra, mix and merge one with the other, playing interchangeably all three roles with captivating rapture and outstanding virtuosity, before being swallowed whole by the defeated soil of Troy, true protagonist of this play.
During the marvellous post-show meeting, which, if nothing else, proved that the Greek audience is extremely aware, critical and actively engaged in theatre – thus raising the bar from niche entertainment to actual cathartic experience –, when asked about the apparent one-gendered take of the play, which apparently admits men as only epitome of mankind as a whole, the slightly self-conceited writer declares that Troas would have worked just fine also with three women on stage, adducing that female characters are present in the Homeric work (hinting at Hecuba and Andromache, defined in their sufferings and woes by men and men only) and that victims play as much of an active part in war as the executioners do, going as far as maintaining that there’s some sort of «hedonistic pleasure» in those who die by the hand of the oppressor.
What is surprising about this whole phallogocentric and patriarchal play, however, is not so much its author’s reluctance in admitting the impossibility of defining the human being without taking into account both genders, but rather the director’s lack of critical stance toward the text, which is filtered only from an aesthetic point of view, without being used as an actual stepping stone for a truthful and in-depth analysis (mentioned but dutifully avoided) of why men can’t help but shed blood to generate death, whilst women are “doomed” to do the same to generate life. It may seem like an arbitrary remonstration, but the need to introduce a female character, as young and un-sexualized as it is, betrays a level of discomfort that prevented Alexandra Kazazou from cutting the umbilical cord with her creation before making this addition, perhaps as a defence from the rampant androcentrism of Troy. «I felt that the play was not ready», said the half-Greek half-Polish actress/director, «without the girl», whom, in all her purity and blamelessness, plays life in a dark-wine sea filled with manly blood, while the most deafening sound breaks through the loudspeakers. Let us not forget, as pointed out by the audience, that Troy was sieged for 9 years because of a man who could not control his possessiveness over a woman.
The show was played at
Theatre of the Society for Macedonian Studies (ΕΜΣ) – National Theatre of Northern Greece
Ethnikis Amynis str. 2 – Thessaloniki
Tuesday 26 September 2017
The 1st Meeting of Young Artists of Southeast Europe “Ancient Drama and Politics” and the Teatr Andra present
by Dimitris Dimitridis
direction Alexandra Kazazou
cast Kerem Karaboğa, Slih Usta, Cem Üzümoğlu, Ayça Guler
scenograpy-lighting design Karol Jarek
music composition Nefeli Stamatogiannopoulou, Petros Malamas
sound design Stelios Koupetoris
assistant diretors Îpek Seyalioğlou, Mertcan Semerci
technical support Didem Kiriş, Îpek Seyalioğlou
photo Karol Jarek