A house. A family. A couple: a man and a woman. Her brother. Three people who, by the end of the play, will have discovered what boundaries are and how they are crossed. The dramatically timeless play by Dennis Kelly, one of the most prominent voices of the modern British repertoire, returns due to the audience’s demand, to the EMS Foyer
, following an extremely successful sequence of sold out performances.
What kind of orphanhood is the one that haunts us the most? Which one is more threatening to one’s life? The one of death’s loss and family abandonment or the one of the misdirection of a social system, that first promises and then abandons?
The play explores the personal responsibility and social conscience of each of us, when our family and its interests are threatened directly or indirectly in a society past the verge of moral bankruptcy.
Its protagonists, familiar yet distant, struggle to achieve stability for their family when everything around them is fluid and unsettled. A transgressive act enters their home and family to reveal their rotten foundations. Over an evening, on which the couple is celebrating the coming of their second child—in a strict unity of time and place—their home is torn apart and commitments and ideologies with it. Each of the characters will present their arguments using rhetorical devices and specious ideologies but they will be forced to reconsider and reject them a few moments later. Then, stripped quite bare, they will be sent into the void.
When our children’s safety is at stake, how fine can the line separating us from transgressive behaviours be? And what else can we expect but the void, when morality is set aside to protect a family’s vested interests? What sort of resistance can they mount? What choices can they make to get on with their lives? By the end, everyone and everything has changed, including us, the onlookers. Those questions have received contradictory answers and the ethical dilemmas remain unresolved.
And then what? How can we continue? In the play’s dark universe, the power of theatre is set against hope and light, and it is this confrontation that drives the on-stage action. A journey towards self-knowledge for the protagonists and for the audience as well. A journey which stirs our empathy and compassion for the Other, the foreigner, the one who «returns home, to his wife and children», to his family.
I must thank the NTNG Artistic Director, Yannis Anastasakis, for giving me the opportunity to embark on this journey and direct “Orphans”, a multivalent, ideologically charged work which transcends the on-stage act and becomes an act of life.
Of course, I should also thank my companions on the journey, the three wonderful actors, the theatre staff, and everyone else who contributed in some way.
The play is suitable for people who are over 15 years old.
Translation: Koralia Sotiriadou
Director: Takis Tzamargias
Sets-Costumes: Edouard Georgiou
Music: Giorgos Christianakis
Movement: Froso Korrou
Lighting: Stratos Koutrakis
Assistant Director: Zacharoula Oikonomou
Assistant Set-Costume Designer: Danai Pana
Second Assistant Set-Costume Designer: Thrasivoulos Kalaitzidis
Assistant Lighting Designers: Maria Ossa, Eleni Tzimika, Georgia Tselepi
Production Photography: Tasos Thomoglou
Production Coordinator: Valentini Kalpini
Christos Diamantoudis (Liam), Eleni Thimiopoulou (Helen), Christos Stylianou (Danny)
“The big advantage of this two-hour performance is Christos Stylianou. This actor, who can identify with his role, who uses every cell of his body, who automatically deactivates the spectators’ sluggishness, whose internal world pulsates and whose expression lures even the most distant of them…”
Pavlos Lemontzis, thesspress.gr
“Tzamargia’s direction moved to the rhythm of the aesthetics of the in-yer-face theatre, having as a basic tool the text’s language... We see Eleni Thymiopoulou at her best. She is top of the show. Exuberant in her silence, poised and correct in her outbursts”.
Savvas Patsalidis, parallaximag.gr
Eleni Thymiopoulou is magnificent in the role of the older sister, who unleashes her despotic protectiveness in every direction. Christos Stylianou grips you with his performance as a sacred, astonished city dweller, trapped in his beliefs like a pigeon with nailed wings, before he gives in the sentimental blackmail and becomes an accomplice with dire consequences. At the same time, Christos Diamantoudis enacts Liam perfectly, like a crazy cauldron full of energy that overflows with social rage, latent love and keeps tightly the family’s fate into his shaking hands… The suitable word to describe the NTNG performance presented at the Foyer of the Society for Macedonian Studies is overwhelming.
Dimitris Karathanos, Athens Voice
“One more “precious” gift from the NTNG: the “Orphans”, a great success hosted at the Foyer of EMS until Sunday. As I gleaned, the production will return this fall for some more performances. Takis Tzamargias, who amazed us with “Our Class” and thrilled us with his superb “Misery”, now, with the “Orphans”, achieves one of his greatest “victories” … He leads his actors in stunning performances… Tzamargias rocks the contemporary text… The directing approach of this specific performance, through the exceptionally inspired scenography by Edouard Georgiou and the marvellous music by Giorgos Christianakis, enliven all the strands of the play and offer a “precious” gift to the viewers who sit within reach of the actors – sometimes… even breathlessly”!
Vasilis Bouziotis, enikos.gr
“I know Liam well… He is my friend’s son or daughter, my nephew, my “own” child, your child, –not necessarily an orphan– (not necessarily a poor child – not at all, not necessarily with dead parents – to the contrary, they are perfectly “alive”, in terms of benefits, of competition between them, – but not in terms of opinion, tenderness, “sheltered” ideology). I know Liam well, even if some of you, the viewers of Dennis Kelly’s play, came down to earth with that… I know Liam well. I also know Danny –he’s probably me– I have probably been Danny once; and Helen, I have her in mind –maybe she was one of my friends that I grew apart from, I never liked this “kind” of women– but… I know her well”.
Vicky Charisopoulou, Athens-Macedonian News Agency