“Pro Patria” by Sophia Nikolaidou at Lazaristes Monastery – Studio Theatre (16/10/2018)


 
 
DATES: 20/10/2018 – 10/02/2019
DAYS & TIMES: Wednesday at 18:00, Thursday, Friday at 21:15, Saturday at 18:00 and 21:15, Sunday at 20:00
With English surtitles every Wednesday
RUNNING TIME: 75 min (no interval)
TICKET SALES: NTNG Box Offices (Τ. 2315 200 200) | VIVA.gr | Τ. 11876 

The National Theatre of Northern Greece presents “Pro Patria” by Sophia Nikolaidou, directed by Pigi Dimitrakopoulou. “Pro Patria” is a new theatrical play, staged for the first time, that investigates, after 70 years, the unsolved murder of Polk.
 
 
Author’s Note
 
1948-1949: An American journalist is murdered in Thessaloniki. The government is upset and foreigners intervene. An innocent man is imprisoned. The case closes.
 
Seventy years after the assassination of George Polk, a theatrical play gives voice to the faces of the drama that shocked the country. During the pernicious civil war, hunters and hunted, victims and victimizers, Pontian mothers, sneaky American women, merciless lawyers, police and spies unravel the thread of the case, in a group of narratives. And against them, there is a whole city, watching and commenting on facts. Some faces of History and some next door faces discourse and collide. Because History (with a capital H) is made up of people’s stories. An innocent man’s fate is judged by broken truths and powerful lies. And everything, always and everywhere, is decided “pro patria”. We can lose a man if it is to save a country.

 

 
 
Director’s Note
 
70 years after George Polk’s murder and Grigoris Staktopoulos’ arrest, all chances to find out what exactly had happened then seem to exist no more. Those who knew the exact, true facts had taken that secret to their grave.
 
Polk was murdered because he always wrote the truth while Staktopoulos –the Greek Dreyfus– was sentenced to life imprisonment because he spoke English.
 
This could have happened to anyone even today.
 

Was it the judges’ fault? Was the military police, the ministers or a decayed system,
a corrupt regime responsible for what had happened? Were all the aforementioned
responsible for that case?
 
Besides, it doesn’t make any difference now...
“Is there anyone like Staktopoulos nowadays?” I wonder.
 
Are there any scapegoats of a society that sweep all its “trash” under the carpet? Are
there any innocent people being rotten in prison? Are there any journalists that serve the interests of each time ruling power? Are there any police officers or judges who sacrifice any sense of right in order to serve the interests of a particular system?

 
 
Sophia Nikolaidou’s theatrical play is mainly focused on people’s great sorrow, those
people who broke apart due to the dominant History that literally “blew up” over
their head as a kind of forced “causality”, as the so-called “public good” or a kind of
“Pro Patria” duty. In the context of this pluralistic narration by all those people whose life had fallen apart because a particular ideology had to confirm its power, I tried to present distinct personalities and also to give a distinct rhythm throughout the whole narration. I struggled to conceive both the victimizer and victim from the same point of view, just like rings belonging to the same chain made of people who had lost their lives. I tried so hard to understand them as “defeated shadows” of a half –ruined reflect on which the History becomes blurred...

 
 
That was the main subject on which I started to work and that is –as far as I am concerned– the great bet I made regarding this play. In other words, my goal was to point out that there is no “clear” History but a great mess of injustice into a swampland of hatred. The only way to administer justice for the sake of all persons of the History that had lost their lives unfairly is to remember them and to stay alert.
 
We have to stay alert so as to prevent the present crime–today’s or tomorrow’s–which is always committed or is going to be committed somewhere around us and will always pretend to be “Pro Patria” committed...

 
Pigi Dimitrakopoulou, October 2018
 

CREDITS: Director-Dramaturgical Advising: Pigi Dimitrakopoulou, Sets-Costumes: Kostas Pappas, Music: Babis Papadopoulos, Movement: Alexis Tsiamoglou, Lighting: Dimitra Aloutzanidou, Assistant Directors: Katerina-Mayia Andrianou, Kiki Strataki, Assistant Set-Costume designer: Marina Kelidou, Production Photography: Tasos Thomoglou, Production Coordinator: Maria Lazaridou
 
CAST: Efi Drosou (The American mother), Sophia Kalemkeridou (The mother from Pontus), Giorgos Kolovos (The Lawyer), Christos Papadimitriou (The English Diplomat), Iosif Polyzoidis (The Major), Marianna Pouregka (The American’s widow), Giannis Tsemperlidis (The rebel cousin), Nikolaos Kousoulis, Fani Xenoudaki, Kiki Strataki (Chorus)
 

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