For 2016-2017 theatre season, the National Theatre of Northern Greece has scheduled a rich and exciting programme of theatre productions, cultural events and educational activities.
Theatre of the Society for Macedonian Studies (EMS)
“MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN
” by Bertolt Brecht
Translation: Giorgos Depastas
Direction: Nikita Milivojevic
Opening: 20 October 2016
Bertolt Brecht’s play, the classic anti-war masterpiece, written in 1939, while the author was in exile in Sweden, marks a double return to the National Theatre of Northern Greece. The Serbian director Nikita Milivojevic returns after 13 years to direct a new translation by Giorgos Depastas of one extremely current Brecht play. Moreover, the actress Lydia Fotopoulou, returns eight years after her last collaboration with the NTNG to her birthplace, to portray the title role.
According to Nikita Milivojevic: “Reflecting our present situation, the main theme of the play can’t be interpreted as the absurdity of war, but as that of greed. Greed is one of the major plagues in our society. ‘Mother Courage’ appeals to the very young generation and therefore in our performance, the titular character shall be surrounded by a cast of young actors, who will take part as all the characters around Mother Courage”.
The production is part of “Dimitria” International Festival organized by the Municipality of Thessaloniki.
” by Emily Bronte
Adaptation-Direction: Yannis Kalavrianos
Opening: 10 February 2017
“Wuthering Heights” were written by the English author Emily Bronte in 1847, when she was only 27 years old. Being one of the most famous works of world literature, it has been adapted for theatre, cinema, opera, musical and ballet.
The characters are the members of two families living in isolated houses in the moorlands of Yorkshire and are marked by the love between Heathcliff and Catherine. Bronte presents the story of their destruction, bringing to the surface the desperate and passionate depths of human existence, in manner that reminds of ancient tragedy.
Yannis Kalavrianos, who collaborates for the first time with the National Theatre of Northern Greece, adapts for theatre and directs the Victorian novel. He notes that there could be no better description of the novel than the words of the English poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti: “The action is laid in hell – only it seems places and people have English names there”.
“THE CELEBRATION” (FESTEN)
by Thomas Vintenberg, Mogens Rukov, Bo Hr. Hansen
Theatrical adaptation: David Eldridge
Translation: Aliki Danezi Knutsen-Manolis Dounias
Direction: Giannis Paraskevopoulos.
Opening: 25 November 2016
“Festen” was introduced to the Greek audience by the Thomas Vinterberg film, which rocked the cinematic world of the time when it was first screened in 1998. It was the first film of Dogme 95, the filmmaking movement created by Lars von Trier, together with other Danish filmmakers to create a film form, which would not rely on the technical means, special effects and contracts that give viewers an illusion of reality. “What we did in ‘Festen’ was closely connected to theatre, I guess the most the two arts can connect”, said Vinterberg. In 2004, the British David Eldridge adapted the screenplay for the theatre, depositing a masterpiece to the modern repertoire. A play that focuses on family and could be considered a modern tragedy.
Giannis Paraskevopoulos, who has already directed 13 plays for the NTNG, says: “Dogme 95 was created by a group of directors and aimed at creating a more pure cinematic form. It was a way for directors to react against the domination of producers and film traditions giving viewers the illusion of reality. The film industry became a ‘glamorous situation’ at the expense of the characters and the plot, at the expense of the character seen on the screen. At a time when the theatre in many cases is also a ‘glamorous open situation’, the potential of putting on ‘Festen’ makes me feel the need to create along with my colleagues our DOGME and to look again at what the core of theatre is: Man”.
” (Original title: GIF) by Lot Vekemans
Translation-Direction: Yannis Moschos
Opening: 17 February 2017
The audience of Thessaloniki will have the opportunity to get to know a contemporary playwright from Holland. Born in 1965, Lot Vekemans studied Theatre Writing and Social Geography. She started writing plays for children and adults in 1995. Her works enjoyed great success in the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, Romania, South Africa, Namibia, Mexico, China, Russia, Spain, Argentina and Brazil. This is the first time one of her plays is presented in Greece.
Written in 2009, “Poison” won the award “Best Dutch theatre play of 2009-2010 season”. Based on a true story, the play has been a great success, when presented in Germany and Austria. “He” and “She”, two ordinary people, are forced to face a difficult situation. Life, according to the author, “is like jumping from an airplane without a parachute”. They try to be strong, choosing diametrically different ways, in a world where victims are not welcome. Although what is not said is equally or even more important than what is said, the dialogue is essential, the two heroes truly communicate. A cycle closes after many years, and they continue their separate ways, reconciled, at last, with reality.
“A man and a woman. A couple. An encounter nine years after their separation. A past that haunts their present. A couple trying to let go of the past and look at the future. A play of semitones and nuances. A touching and tender sonata for two”. This is how the director Yannis Moschos describes the play. This is his first collaboration with the National Theatre of Northern Greece.
“A FLEA IN HER EAR
” by Georges Feydeau
Translation: Minos Volanakis
Direction: Yannis Anastasakis
Opening: 18 November 2016
What happens when you put a flea in the ears of married couples for the “sin of Unfaithfulness”? Who is the victim and who the aggressor, when the erotic impulses of both sexes grow dangerously and the marital fidelity is threatened? Unfaithfulness is as old as the institution of marriage, however, the social disdain varies from time to time, from society to society, from civilization to civilization.
Surrealism is at its peak in this comedy by Georges Feydeau, the master of farce. The comic plays a dominant role in a game of misunderstandings and reversals through which the bourgeoisie of early 20th century recognizes itself, its fantasies and its unfulfilled desires.
The director notes: “Feydeau writes an outrageous farce that tests our logic and causes effortless laughter! The amazing similarity of Victor with Poche (both characters are performed by the same actor) brings the universe in turmoil! But the point of the comedy is not just this diabolical coincidence. With merciless humour this great French writer mocks the civil society and its mores and sets an explosive mechanism that if triggered, there will be nothing left... The excellent translation by Minos Volanakis captures in an ingenious way the sparkling spirit of the play and the sweet innocence of his heroes”.
” by William Shakespeare
Translation: Nikos Hatzopoulos
Direction: Nikos Mastorakis
Opening: 3 February 2017
A shipwreck brings young Viola to the mythical kingdom of Illyria. She ends up there alone, having lost her twin brother. To survive, she has to dress up as a boy called Cesario and serve Duke Orsino as go-between, delivering the duke’s messages to his beloved, the Countess Olivia. The misunderstandings begin: Orsino loves Olivia, Olivia loves Cesario, Cesario loves Orsino. The circle closes but does not end, misunderstandings do not stop there. The key characters are surrounded by a motley crowd of witty jesters, drunken relatives, mischievous servants and megalomaniac Chamberlains.
An extremely popular comedy of the great Elizabethan bard about the great and irrational power of love. A comic masquerade full of surprises and twists that, however, does not lack the tragic element: laughter hides tears, light hides dark.
The director, Nikos Mastorakis says in his note: “In the contemporary world, gender identity has become, both due to external elements and social freedom, increasingly flexible and undefined. In the world of the theatre, however, both in antiquity and also in Shakespeare’s time, the ‘roles’ of women were written to be played by male actors who conventionally pretended to be women. What would happen, then, in a play where male actors play women who are playing men? The answer on stage”.
Texts-Direction: Christos Papadimitriou.
Opening: 28 April 2017
“BAND-ages”, the group formed by NTNG young actors, are back with a new revue, full of witty acts, cheerful music and brilliant dance.
Christos Papadimitriou takes on the new venture of the team. He says: “The saga of the Greek crisis is ongoing and is generously offering material for tragicomic rhapsodies to be written. A new revue written from scratch is in the making. The title is still unknown, as are the events that will inspire its creation. Stay tuned, BAND-ages are coming”.
Lazaristes Monastery – Sokratis Karantinos Stage
“THE THIRD WEDDING
” by Costas Taktsis
Theatrical adaptation: Stamatis Fassoulis-Thanasis Niarchos
Direction: Thanasis Papageorgiou
Opening: 7 October 2016
The unique novel by Kostas Taktsis will be presented at the Sokratis Karantinos Stage in Lazaristes Monastery, directed by Thanasis Papageorgiou, in his first collaboration with the NTNG.
Critics have characterized Taktsis autobiographical novel as a masterpiece, a great achievement of postwar literature, the most important novel of Modern Greek literature. The author himself characterizes it as “a modern Greek tragicomedy”, adding that “it reflects and will for a long time reflect the Greek psyche”.
Through the personal stories of two women, Ekavi and Nina, the mirror of Modern Greek society is painted with all its contradictions.
According to Thanasis Papageorgiou: “ ‘The Third Wedding’ does not describe Greece through historical facts or documents. It’s the people who have built this country, the people who have shaped the conditions of intellectual development by their way of thinking and their lifestyle. A country organizes its life and moves on the way the people want, because the people are the country.”
Lazaristes Monastery – STUDIO THEATRE
«SOTIRIA IS MY NAME
» by Sofia Adamidou
Direction: Christina Chatzivasileiou.
Opening: 4 November 2016
The play written by the journalist Sofia Adamidou “Sotiria is my name” with the gripping performance of Efi Stamouli as Sotiria Bellou, after last year's sold out performances at numerous venues, returns to the stage from which it started.
A few hours before major surgery that resulted in her losing her voice, the popular folk singer Sotiria Bellou doesn’t stop talking about her turbulent life: growing up in Chalkida, leaving for Athens a day after the outbreak of the Greek-Italian war, cooperating with Tsitsanis... Hardness gets confused with sensitivity, present with past, love with hate, revealing an explosive personality who never lost, not even for one moment, her humour and her passion for life.
In her note on the programme of the performance Christina Chatzivasileiou states: “Bellou never feared death. She feared the anticipation of death. We meet her the moment she will attempt, while she still has her voice, to kill this anticipation filling the air with her words. An untamed beast in the cage”.
“ON THE ROAD WITH PAOK
” by Stavros Tsiolis
Direction: Taxiarhis Hanos
Opening: November 2016
Inspired by the historical trip of 2.500 PAOK FC supporters to Athens by rail to watch their favourite team play against Olympiakos FC in 1999 and a fortuitous encounter with two girls he himself had on the same day, the great cinematographer Stavros Tsiolis writes a play with humour and affection for two women with broken wings and a trip that was never completed. The two girls travel together with other PAOK fans but never arrive at the stadium, they stay in the Larissa Train Station, holding a photo signed by a famous singer, hoping that he would come to meet them.
Taxiarhis Hanos talks about the play: “Larissa Train Station. The football game of Olympiakos versus PAOK is heard on the background. On a bench, two young women wait... meet... dream... hope... while traveling with the PAOK train, where nobody asks them for tickets”.
” by Dimosthenis Papamarkos
Adaptation-Direction: Georgia Mavragani
Opening: 13 January 2017
Born in 1983 in Malesina, Locris, Dimosthenis Papamarkos began writing in 1998. “Gkiak” is his latest work. In 2015, it was awarded the Academy of Athens Award and the Literary Short Story Award of “Anagnostis” Magazine.
Georgia Mavragani talks about the performance: “At a wedding table somewhere in the villages of Locris, the diners unfold their stories, stories of Gkiak. Gkiak, in the language of Arvanites, means blood, consanguinity, vendetta, revenge and race. The protagonists of these stories, Arvanites from the villages of Locris, have fought in Asia Minor and experienced the violence of war. When they return home they are not the same anymore. They will collide with the traditional values of the society they grew up and they will be deeply shocked when they realize that nothing is the same. They will confide their stories and reveal to us moral and psychological dilemmas while, at the same time, they will present their personal ‘document’ about the violent transformation of the modern Greek state”.
IN SELECTED VENUES
«I HAVE NEVER FORGOTTEN YOU
» by Leon A. Nar
Opening: November 2016
A musical performance for a love that, though unfulfilled, seeks vindication. A performance about the life of a famous singer. A performance including 13 Sephardic songs –some of which, such as “Misirlou”, we know in their Greek version– which reminds us of the fact that most of us were once immigrants. The performance honours the history of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki, a city where once Orthodox, Jews and Ottomans lived together peacefully.
«Seven against Thebes
» by Aeschylus
Director: Cezaris Graužinis
A uniquely energetic, poetic, political tragedy, that the public does not often have the opportunity to attend, was the summer production of the National Theatre of Northern Greece. It was presented at Athens & Epidaurus Festival and numerus festivals all over Greece. The audience had the unique chance to enjoy the tragedy in a new powerful and clear translation made by the leading Greek poet Yorgos Blanas directed by the internationally renowned Lithuanian director Cezaris Graužinis.
The conflict between the two sons of Oedipus is the theme of the play. After his appalling actions were revealed to him, Oedipus left the throne to his two sons, Eteocles and Polynices. The two agreed to rule Thebes alternately. However, when the time came for Polynices to take reign, Eteocles did not keep his promise. This provoked the wrath of Polynices, who allied with the king of Argos Adrastus and organized a military campaign against Thebes. Seven leaders of each of the two rival armies lined up on either side of the seven gates of Thebes. Eteocles and Polynices faced one another in front of the seventh gate.
According to the director: “We need a tragedy, in order to rediscover again that we are humans and that our human fate is to be united. The iron and steel will turn to dust, we will remain in existence”.
» by Xenia Kalogeropoulou-Thomas Moschopoulos
Director: Stella Mihailidou
Opening: 9 October 2016
Venue: VASSILIKO THEATRE
A performance about the story of the flood. While the whole world is sinking, an ark is struggling with the waves. Thoughtful Noah, his children and grandchildren, along with dozens of animals, not only domestic but also wild, are traveling and are fighting for survival.
They do not only have to cope with the waves, but at times, also, with the relationships they have one with the other. In the confined space of the ark, the roommates clash and reconcile, become angry and forgive, disagree and cooperate, get disappointed and hope. They get to know the others and themselves better. They also wonder about a lot of things: nature, our place in the world, history and what we can learn by it, how open we are to new things. Although they rarely get a satisfactory answer, they learn to raise questions and to recognize the value of the journey.
As Stella Mihailidou notes, “Noah’s Family” is: “a performance full of energy, tenderness and humour. A performance for children and adults alike, that reflects our world, our relationships, our lives”.
«BOY WITH A SUITCASE
» by Mike Kenny
Direction: Mihalis Sionas.
Opening: 16 October 2016
Venue: LAZARISTES MONASTERY-SOKRATIS KARANTINOS STAGE
The multi-award winning British playwright Mike Kenny touches upon a highly topical issue in a production that raises the big refugees issue and the issue of forced migration.
A handmade performance without stunning sets and costumes, based on the basic materials of theatre: play, transformation, true feelings, improvisation, imagination, communication of actors with the public.
” by Victor Hugo
Adaptation-Direction: Nikos Voudouris
Opening: 8 November 2016
NTNG is celebrating 15 years of continuous operation of its educational programmes in classrooms with a project based on a globally acclaimed novel.
Nikos Voudouris states: "The ongoing crisis of culture and society makes us choose reports about poverty and inequality this year too. This time having as starting point textual excerpts from "Les Misérables" by Victor Hugo, we unfold on stage our thoughts and our concerns for the socio-cultural context in which we live and have to put up with."
Addressed to students of the fifth and sixth grade of elementary school and of the first, second and third grade of high school.
NTNG PUPPET THEATRE
” The gift is given and love is offered”
Direction: Koldo Vío
After many years, a puppet show shall be part of the repertory of The National Theatre of Northern Greece. It is a show of object theatre, a contemporary form of puppet theatre, in which the objects come to life through their symbolic and utilitarian nature, substituting the traditional puppets. The puppeteer is visible to the audience, while he is not only operating the puppet, but is also actively involved in the action. The text is the result of collective creation and improvisation of the whole group.
In the show entitled “The Gift”, we follow the adventure of a scavenger trying by all means to give his child the gift he promised. With the help of a friend, he will seek a solution in the world of “waste” materials. The old objects will come to life and then change into animals, humans and in whatever our imagination allows us. Will he be able to give his daughter the much desired gift? What is the real value of a gift? Can love be offered as a gift?
“The Gift”, a show with live music, which approaches a sensitive social issue, with humour and sensitivity.
A performance for students of all grades of elementary school. The performances will take place inside the classroom.
Theatre Workshops for Children and Teenagers
For the second consecutive year, NTNG is organizing theatre workshops for children and teenagers. With the help of expert theatre educators and in our theatre environment, children find the opportunity to express themselves, act, experiment and create a new world through theatre games, dramatization, improvisation, role play and techniques of theatre in Education. Meanwhile, visits to the theatre and acquaintance with performers familiarize young participants with the magical world of theatre.
There are special classes for the ages: 4-5 years, 6-8 years, 9-11 years, 12-14 years and 15-17 years. The workshops take place every Saturday and Sunday at the Society for Macedonian Studies, Vassiliko Theatre and Lazaristes Monastery.
AT THE LAZARISTES MONASTERY- STUDIO THEATRE
A production of the Theatrical Group “Neos Logos”
” by Aris Alexandrou
Directed by: Fotis Makris, Kleopatra Tologkou
Performed by: Fotis Makris
22 – 25 September 2016
A production of Grotowski Institute and Avant Art
” by Dimitris Dimitriadis
Directed by: Petros Sevastikoglou
Performed by: Alexandra Kazazou
1 – 9 October 2016
A production of the Company “ithikon akmaiotaton”
“Memoirs of General Makriyannis
Directed & Performed by: Thanasis Sarantos
14 – 16 October 2016
A production of the Company “ithikon akmaiotaton”
” by Alexandros Papadiamantis
Adapted, Directed & Performed by: Thanasis Sarantos
20 – 23 October 2016
COLLABORATION WITH TSSO
5 CONCERTS OF THESSALONIKI STATE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
5, 12, 19 May and 2 June 2017