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Who discovered America?

Lazaristes Monastery – Studio Theatre
“WHO DISCOVERED AMERICA?” by Chrysa Spilioti
Direction: Sophia Paschou

OPENING: 18/01/2020 
DAYS & TIMES: Wednesday at 19:00 | Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 21:15 | Sunday at 20:00
RUNNING TIME: 70 (no interval)
TICKET SALES: NTNG Box Offices (Τ. 2315 200 200) | VIVA.gr | Τ. 11876 
 
The NTNG honours Chrysa Spilioti, who left us too early.
 
A few words about the play
Who discovered America? Lisa and Kaiti grow up together trying, each in her own way, to answer the questions they’re posed at school and by life. For the two heroines, the road to adulthood and maturity is paved with struggles, dreams and frustrations. In the end, they find themselves together again, trying to answer the same question about life with which the play opened (and which is posed by the play’s title): who is the one doing the discovering and what did they find after all that searching?
  

Chrysa Spilioti’s “Who discovered America?” is an important example of contemporary Greek writing. It is a miniature masterpiece whose utterly real and convincing relationships and characters are drawn with psychological precision. With a light and humorous touch, her heroines succeed in getting down an entire society and generation. The rapid dialogues drawn the audience into a journey that seems to be over in a flash. Just like life itself.

Director’s Note
So how many stopping-off points are there in our lives?
Who discovered America?
Who discovered something they shouldn’t have?
Who discovered themselves?
Two women supporting each other to the end.
 
When I read Chrysa’s play for the first time, I was moved by Kaiti and Lisa’s relationship and their struggle to discover their own private America, but I was blown away by the final scene in the old people’s home.
 
As I imagine it, the old people’s home is the starting point where nothing matters anymore. Where “they won’t tell you where all the years have gone”. Where memories, moments, feelings leap up in front of you anew. Where the body remains stationary but the mind gets up to wander. What do we remember, I wonder, as the end draws near?

 
Sofia Paschou
 

Assistant Director’s Note
 
One through the other, Kaiti and Lisa set off in search of their own America, meaning their real selves but also their own gendered place in the society of their times—let’s say the mid-Nineties, when the play was first staged. As well as a serving as a tribute to the playwright, a rare ray of light who was taken from us all too young, this new staging of her well-written, well-oiled, popular —almost televisual— comedy provides us with an opportunity to ask ourselves this: what has been achieved socially in terms of gender roles and identities since Chrysa Spilioti’s America? How many personal and collective battles have still to be fought and won?
 
Alexandros Michail

  

Biography of Chrysa Spilioti
Chrysa Spilioti was born in Athens. She was an actor, director and writer. She graduated from the Greek National Theatre Drama School, attended improvisation classes in France, and worked for many years as an actor, playing important roles from the international repertoire in productions directed by Giorgos Sevastikoglou, Minos Volanakis, Giorgos Michailidis, Yannis Houvardas, Vaggelis Theodoropoulos, Niketi Kontouri, Giannis Margaritis et al.
She was a key member of Giorgos Michailidis’ Open Theatre and the Theatro Anoixis; she also collaborated with among others the Amore Theatro tou Notou, the Theatre on Kefallinias Street, the National Theatre of Greece and the Free Theatre.
She participated in a number of TV series and several movies.
In 1996, her primary focus shifted to writing plays. Her works were published by Sokoli, Dodoni and Kastaniotis Editions, while her collection of short stories entitled “Chameno dikio” was published by Kedros.
   

Her play “Who discovered America?” has been staged in 30 different productions and translated into seven languages (English, French, Polish, German, Croatian, Dutch and Portuguese). It was included in Polish in “Z Parnasu I Olimpu”, an anthology of Greek texts. Her play “Fire and Water” has been translated into English and staged at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London.
She served as the general secretary of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) and sat on its Board (2012–2014).
She led seminars in writing for the theatre at the Theatro ton Allagon for many years, as well as at the International Theatre Institute, the Panhellenic Association of Theatre Specialists, the Cyprus Theatre Organization and the Open Theatre of Cyprus. Participants at her seminars have presented their plays professionally in theatres in Athens and Nicosia.
She also worked in radio for many years as a producer of talk radio shows and as a writer, mostly at ERT, the Greek state radio and television organization, but also with private-sector broadcasters. She wrote scripts for television series and programmes on ERT, as well as for many of ERT’s children's programmes.
She was also involved in teenage theatre and worked with teenage theatre groups.
Chrysa Spilioti was a member of the NTNG Board of Directors, which she served consistently from 2015 to 2018 as a representative of the Association of Greek Playwrights.
 
List of works
“O gios mou Nikolaos Mantzaros” (My son Nikolaos Mantzaros), 2017
“I alithini sou istoria?” (Your true story?), 2013
“Portes”, (Doors), 2012
“To mati tis Tigris” (The Eye of the Tiger), 2012
“Poios koimatai appose?” (Who is Sleeping Tonight?), 2010
“Fotia kai Nero” (Fire and Water), 2007
“Me diafora stithous” (Winning by a breast), 2004
“Agka-sfi kai fi” (Hug, Squeeze and Kiss), 2003
“Skotseziko Ntous” (Scottish Shower), 2000
“Who discovered America?”, 1996
 
For the first time at the NTNG 
 
CREDITS
Director: Sofia Paschou
Sets-Costumes: Magdalini Avgerinou
Music: Nikos Galenianos
Movement Consultant-Assistant Director: Alexandros Michail
Lighting: Sofia Alexiadou
Production Photography: Tasos Thomoglou
Production Coordinators: Dimosthenis Panos, Eirini Chatzikyriakidou
 
CAST
Momo Vlachou: Lisa
Chrysa Toumanidou: Kaiti