I Have Never Forgotten You
The National Theatre of Northern Greece presents the work by Leon A. Nar
I have never forgotten you, directed by Mihalis Sionas
, at ‘Aimilios Riadis’ Hall
of Thessaloniki Concert Hall
, in the context of the thematic unit “War – Refugee Waves – Migration.”
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A music-theatre production about the life of a celebrated singer who sings ten Sephardic and rebetika songs on stage, some of which will already be familiar to Greek audiences through popular Greek versions.
A production that reminds audiences how many of us are immigrants ourselves or are descended from people who came from elsewhere, that honours the history of Thessaloniki's Jewish Community, and that reminds us how Orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims once lived peacefully together as brothers in this city.
Directed by: Mihalis Sionas
Sets-Costumes: Giannis Katranitsas
Lighting & Camera Instructor: Haris Pallas
Video Mapping: Kleanthis Karapiperis
Assistant Director: Lila Vlachopoulou
Production Co-ordinator: Natalia Lambropoulou
Giannis Harissis - Grigoris Papadopoulos
Musicians on stage
Stella Kampouridou (kaval)
Giorgos Minacheilis (kanun)
Ilias Sarigiannidis (lute)
The grandson. The grandmother. Both recall images and experiences.
He in order to define, perhaps, the relationship of Sephardic culture with his present life; she because, since she was little, she has always sung, she has always narrated.
A story where past and present coexist; a trip via memory, which is not always willing to co-operate.
In the case of Zana, through memories, in the case of Ido, through words and images.
In any case, whatever we do and say in the present depends on how we perceive the past.
Zana, Gabi, Ido, Gracia and all the other protagonists of the play (because for me all the narrators of the story are protagonists) restore the historical memory of a world that was wiped out violently and forgotten unjustly. They raise several issues: the indifference that many citizens have shown about the fate of their neighbours as well as the support that some other citizens have shown at the same time; love, the love that is present and dominant, even in conditions of utmost destitution, at times when most are constantly persecuted, when nearly all are fighting, when the majority is exterminated, but especially when the minority survives; migration, continual condition of life for the Jewish people as well as for many other peoples who are suffering.
All these compose my own heritage. Sephardic, the language that I heard my grandparents and parents speak at home; a language of which, unfortanately, my generation understands only a few words. The concern of emotional detachment that might stigmatize future generations. As well as the ultimate need to deal with the memory of many who are "absent”. And especially the battle −often unequal− against those who deny the undeniable.
My friend Athina Vosinaki was the one who first prompted me to write this work and I thank her warmly for doing this. So, I said let’s give it a try: let’s combine images that narrate the story on their own, sounds that reflect various aspects of Sephardic culture and also prose, into which I "delve" for the first time.
I owe many thanks to the NTNG for this honour, to the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki for the constant encouragement and to my family for their continuous support.