CULTURE

Alternative shows for new Coronet

It’s encouraging to see that the modern cultural infrastructure of Athens is gradually developing and expanding the choices on offer to the public. The initiative by the people at the capital’s Half Note Jazz Club to relaunch an old defunct cinema in the central Pangrati region, the Coronet, as a transformed stage for alternative stage events, is not coincidental. The venue’s emergence has come at a time of growing maturity for Athens’s theatrical circuit. In recent years, audiences have shown support for productions that enrich theatrical language by offering elements from related fields of theatrical expression, such as dance, pantomime, new-school circus, comedy, and progressive musical currents. In years to come, the relaunched Coronet venue, its operators anticipate, will ripen into the home of theater’s various artistic offshoots with one- or two-month residency performances by troupes from all over the world. The roots of a sturdy local scene already seem to have taken grip. If the public’s strong response to recent events – such as last winter’s series of 24 sold-out performances by Canada’s Cirque Eloize, a spectacular new-school musical circus act, and the current sell-out performances by a French trapeze team, Les Arts Sauts – are any indication, then the brave bet made by the team at Half Note Jazz Club, in collaboration with Megafon Live Activities, seems to be a winning one. This winter’s later half at the Coronet will be dominated by the Black Light Theater of Prague. The new venue was inaugurated by the present act, the Image Theater, also from Prague. The troupe was founded by Alexander Tsihar, a musician, and Eva Asterova, a choreographer, and the ensemble’s artistic director. Image Theater combines modern dance, pantomime, and interactive entertainment. For Athens, the troupe has prepared two productions: the current «Fiction,» a postmodern fable featuring impressive choreography, until Thursday, and «Pictures: The Very Best of Images,» a loaded compilation of the troupe’s highlights since its establishment in 1989. The second show runs between November 22 and December 5. In the weeks to come, the venue will present the founder of Prague’s Black Light Theater, Jiri Srnec, in two performances, «Flying Bicycle,» and «Alice in Wonderland.» For early in the new year, the venue has booked a sensual acrobatic musical from India, as well as a stand-up comedy team, Men in Coats.