The Backyard of Miracles


14 years after his last collaboration with the National Theatre of Northern Greece, Kostas Tsianos, one of the most important Greek directors, returns in order to stage a landmark work of modern Greek dramaturgy, the “Backyard of Μiracles” by Iakovos Kambanellis.


The end of the 1950s. A backyard, in a working-class neighbourhood of Athens, is the meeting point of various characters from different backgrounds: an old refugee from Asia Minor who sleeps on the rooftop loaded with his mattresses; his wife who calls her lost grandson holding a slice of bread in her hand, a widow; a dreamer; a young couple at times hugging and at times quarreling, while planning to move to Australia; the neighbourhood’s beauty who dreams of becoming a movie star; a plumber who will play a decisive role in the story.

This small space is home to all Greeks. Just before it collapses, a question arises: Are we experiencing a dead-end situation or a miracle?


The Backyard of Miracles is based on the lack of stability and the sense of insecurity that characterises the life of Greek people. Everything in Greece goes up and down, flows, and changes. The common desire of Greeks is to settle somewhere, to make sure things are stable”, as highlighted by Iakovos Kambanellis in the first historical performance of the play in 1957 by the Greek Art Theatre Karolos Koun.

A play, which 60 years after its first performance remains timeless, is now brought to the stage by the National Theatre of Northern Greece with new songs composed by Dionysis Tsaknis and lyrics written by Lina Nikolakopoulou.

With Sofia Kalemkeridou in the role of Anneto and Dimitris Kolovos in the role of Iordanis.


Director’s Note
The Backyard of Miracles was first staged with great success in 1957 by the Greek Art Theatre Karolos Koun. Ever since the play has been restaged several times, making hundreds of spectators feel deeply moved. This play is a landmark of Modern Greek dramaturgy and has influenced many younger playwrights. It is the fourth time that I have “intervened” with this masterpiece by Iakovos Kambanellis and every time I realize its virtues, Greekness, excellent dramatic structure, well-rounded and relatable characters, its genuine representation of the post-civil war era and the originality of the life of a multifaceted working-class community living in a poor backyard in Athens. In this courtyard different kinds of people live together: uprooted refugees, internal migrants coming from various Greek regions, as well as underprivileged people, sharing their happiness, sadness, love stories, quarrels, disappointments and their unfulfilled dreams of a better life.

Every single day the tenants of this backyard confront poverty, a miserable life, uncertainty, unemployment, a need for migration, and their upcoming displacement from their neighbourhood due to a relentless rebuilding that will suffocate cities with cement apartment blocks.

 

I believe that the Backyard of Miracles should not be staged as a contemporary play (at least not yet) and it should not be modernised, deconstructed, narrativised, or be deprived of its virtue, because all of its essence, rhythm and aura will be lost.

The play itself seems contemporary to the audience, because Greece is currently facing the same trials and tribulations as when the play was written. The only thing I attempted to do is to shed some light on the period in which the play is set, adding four songs written by Dionysis Tsaknis and Lina Nikolakopoulou, used as intermezzi. I also added some videos depicting scenes of the destruction of Asia Minor, of various poor neighborhoods, migration scenes, as well as scenes showing the results of a disastrous flat-for-land system called “antiparochi” (antiparochi system: a uniquely Greek arrangement, whereby the owner of a building plot was compensated with apartments in lieu of payment for the land that he relinquished to the contactor who built an apartment block on it).

It is a great honour that the National Theatre of Northern Greece has entrusted me with the direction of this great play by Iakovos Kambanellis and given me the opportunity to cooperate with the wonderful crew and cast of the performance. I thank them all.


 
CREDITS:
Director: Kostas Tsianos
Sets-Costumes: Ioulia Stavridou
Music: Dionysis Tsaknis
Lyrics: Lina Nikolakopoulou
Lighting: Stelios Tzolopoulos
Video supervision: Kleanthis Karapiperis
Music supervision: Kostas Tsianos
Assistant Director: Kiki Strataki
Second Assistant Director: Ilias Berberis
Assistant Set-Costumes Designer: Chryssa Serdari
Production Co-ordinator: Marleen Verschuuren
Photographs: Tasos Thomoglou

Cast: Eleftheria Aggelitsa (Voula), Ilias Berberis (1st Engineer), Natassa Daliaka (Maria), Thanassis Dislis (Babis), Theodoros Ignatiadis (Man, Policeman), Dimitris Kalantzis (Stelios), Sofia Kalemkeridou (Anneto), Pandelis Kalpakoglou (2nd Engineer), Maria Karamitri (Asta), Dimitris Kolovos (Iordanis), Lefteris Litharis (Postman), Eirini Mourelatou (Olga), Charis Papadopoulos (Stratos), Evi Sarmi (Dora), Aristotelis Zacharakis (Yannis)
 
 

FIX HELLAS…SPENDS THE WINTER AT THE NTNG!
 
"During the 3rd year of a successful cooperation, Fix Hellas is bringing this year’s curtain down, supporting “The Backyard of Miracles”; this winter’s performance of the National Theatre of Northern Greece, intended for a wide audience.
 
Being the great sponsor of the NTNG’s Forest Festival, since its establishment, FIX HELLAS continues to support the activities of the NTNG and this winter’s performances of Lazaristes Monastery.
 
“The Backyard of Miracles” by Iakovos Kambanellis, directed by Kostas Tsianos, is an excellent all-time classic performance that you should enjoy with your favorite Greek beer!"
 

LAZARISTES MONASTERY – SOKRATIS KARANTINOS STAGE
Launch: 7 October 2016

NTNG Box Offices 
  • Vassiliko Theatre
    - Tuesday - Sunday 8:30 - 21:30 
  • Aristotelous Square
    - Monday, Wednesday, Saturday: 10:00 - 15:30
    - Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10:00 - 14:00 & 17:30 - 20:00

TICKET PRICES
WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY 
General admission: € 5

FRIDAY
Regular ticket (orchestra seats): €10
Discount ticket (balcony seats, students, 65+): €8
Group ticket: €7 (for groups over 20 persons)

SATURDAY & SUNDAY
Regular ticket (orchestra seats): €13
Regular ticket (balcony seats): €10
Discount ticket (Students, 65+): €8
Group ticket (for groups over 20 persons): €7 

UNEMPLOYED  
Free admission on Friday, Saturday, Sunday 

DISABLED
Free admission

FREE ADMISSION CARDS
In case there are still available seats, the following free admission cards are valid: ESIEMTH (Journalists' Union of the Macedonia and Thrace Daily Newspapers), ESIEA (Journalists' Union of the Athens Daily Newspapers), SEI (Union of Greek Actors), Drama Departments, Drama Schools, Directors

MULTI-MEMBER FAMILIES: €5 

TEACHERS/PROFESSORS:  €10

Information: National Theatre of Northern Greece | www.ntng.gr | Τ. 2315 200 200
 
Part of the text was translated from Greek by students at the Joint Postgraduate Studies Program (J.P.P.S.) “Conference Interpreting and Translation” of the Faculty of Philosophy of the Aristotle University, under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Lees.


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