A few words about the play
“Prague”, a bold work which focuses on human relationships, their crystalline fragility but also their adamantine resilience, received its première in Madrid in 2013.
The playwright shines a light on contemporary social issues through a disagreement over the adoption of a child that puts the relationships of three friends under stress.
The heroes confront themselves, time and the constants in their lives, put the resilience of their relationships and their love to the test, try to understand the others, to drop their defences and defend the choices that will shape their future. Their language conveys truths, it hurts and wounds. How do the characters react to these truths? Do they defend themselves, escape, or dig in and renegotiate their lives and boundaries?
“When did we go to Prague? Do you remember?”
Benny and Charis are a couple who have been together for fifteen years. But they’re in a rut and their old balance is disappearing as they each begin to want different things from life. Benny wants to adopt a child, which Harry doesn’t even want to discuss. He’d feel satisfied and fulfilled if Benny agreed to marry him, so they could continue to live their life together as the dynamic duo they’ve always been.
Our story takes place in an apartment in Thessaloniki, over the course of one night. The two are preparing to welcome a very good friend of theirs, Susanna, for a dinner that may change the course of their lives. An evening packed with revelations, dreams, nightmares, loneliness, companionship, unspoken plans for the future, and ‘guilty’ secrets from the past. Three people feeling alone in the crowd as they try to renegotiate their lives along with terms like ‘love’, ‘friendship’, ‘parenthood’, ‘then’ and ‘now’.
Stage and stalls are united to form a visual participatory installation consisting of different chairs, each of them with a unique identity, memory and physicality. Guests are invited to leave their coats on a stand, so elements of their everyday selves can also play a role in the overall project. 360-degree peripheral vision. Allowing the space to speak for itself and inspired by its semi-circular form, we shine a light on it from every side. There are no black spots here; we’re all-inclusive. One of the goals of the art installation is sustainability and DIY practices rooted in recycling and putting the existing materials of the NTNG to good use. One unique collaboration involves the artist Angelos Mentis and the use of a number of his stage constructions (seven in all), which have been transformed and artistically processed.
“The Second Surprise of Love” by Marivaux (2021). Plants from different sites around the city raise awareness of permaculture; the hope is that, when the project comes to an end, the plants will be adopted by the building and taken care of by the people who work here. The art installation is inclusive and wishes to develop diverse dialogues with the people, the space and the building.
But what is Prague for these people? Prague symbolizes the ideal, the absolute, love at its best. Now that every new year is even worse than its predecessor, it symbolizes another time, when you brought the same appetite and enthusiasm to exploring a new love as you did to discovering a new city, a new country, a different culture. When you’d get out of your home, out of your sheltered little nest and experience something new, something different. That something that made you feel alive, not simply living. That ideal that makes you want to see deep down and not simply look.
The work tackles various issues on the spectrum of human existence, the unique importance of now and nostalgia for then. ‘Tomorrow’ seems utopian without a palpable ‘now’ and ‘now’ looks small beside the grandeur of ‘then’. Same-sex and single-parent procreation and adoption is a key issue that comes to underscore the characters’ feelings of loneliness and communication difficulties. So, how important is it to have something great to look back on in order to find the strength to move forward?
And in the background, a radio that brings the outside world in. A radio with tales from the city that persuade you that, ultimately, you’re not alone... We’re all @lone...
Translation: Maria Chatziemmanouil, Direction - Dramaturgical processing: Themis Theocharoglou, Art installation - Costume design: Nefeli Myrtidi, Music: Spyros Paraskevakos, Lighting: Zoi Molyvda Fameli, Assistant to the director: Sissy Theofilou, Assistant to the set – costumes designer: Sonia Maria Kaitatzi, Production Coordinator: Filothei Eleftheriadou
Cast: Christos Mastrogiannidis (Charis), Giannis Tomazos (Benny), Loukia Vasileiou (Suzanna)
Photos under That long black cloud
Info: National Theatre of Northern Greece | www.ntng.gr | Τ. 2315 200 200