CULTURE

Lydia Koniordou to direct and star in Euripides’ ‘Ion’

Lydia Koniordou has been chosen to direct Euripides’ «Ion,» which the National Theater will present along with the playwright’s «Medea,» at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus this summer. Koniordou will also play the part of Creusa, while for the part of Ion she has chosen the young actor Christos Loulis who was recently presented with the Dimitris Horn Award. The play was initially to be directed by Spyros Evangelatos but, as he was unable to do so, Nikos Kourkoulos, director of the National Theater suggested that Koniordou, who has by now established her presence at the National Theater, take on the direction of the tragedy. «I was reluctant at first,» admits Koniordou, «because we will be abroad for the whole of March performing ‘Antigone’ and there is hardly any time. But it was such a temptation that despite my initial refusal I really wanted to do it. ‘Ion’ is a very interesting play, and I don’t understand why it is not presented more often. Probably because it is such a cruel play. It shows how Ion, who is pure and innocent, is corrupted by power. The play focuses on a very contemporary issue, the confrontation of two different worlds. ‘Ion’ also gives me the opportunity to continue my work as a director of tragedy, which I started when I directed ‘Alcestis.’ I would be happier if we had some more time but since the play will not be presented until August, it is not that bad. I chose Christos (Loulis) for the part of Ion because he has the requisite pureness and also because of his fine voice, since he will be expected to do a lot of singing. The rest of the cast has also been decided upon, but has yet to be finalized. Costumes and stage design will be done by Dionysis Fotopoulos.» Where Koniordou’s collaboration with the National Theater is concerned, it should also be mentioned that in next year’s production of «Lysistrata,» which will be directed by Costas Tsianos, the music is a Manos Hadjidakis original score. Initially composed for the National Theater’s first performance of «Lysistrata» in 1957, which was directed by Alexis Solomos with Mairi Aroni in the leading role, the performance met with such success that it remained on stage for about two decades. Hadjidakis orchestrated his original composition for another performance of «Lysistrata» at Epidaurus in 1986 with Aliki Vouyiouklaki, once more directed by Solomos. Hadjidakis’s composition is today considered as more or less established for «Lysistrata;» its most popular part being the chorus «Ena Mytho Tha Sas Po.» Medea It should finally be noted that «Medea,» which will also be performed by the National Theater this summer, will be a co-production with the National Theater’s Experimental Stage. That is why Stathis Livathinos (responsible for the Experimental Stage) accepted Kourkoulos’s offer to direct the play. «All of us, meaning the Directing and Acting Workshop, the actors of the Experimental Stage and other actors chosen in auditions, will go to Epidaurus as a team,» says Livathinos. «Moreover, we are all going to Epidaurus with an ancient tragedy for the first time: Tamila Koulieva, the first non-Greek actress to have a leading part in a production of a Greek tragedy at Epidaurus, Stratis Paschalis, who has produced a fine translation; Eleni Manolopoulou, who is responsible for costumes and stage design; Thodoros Abatzis, responsible for music; Alekos Anastassiou in lights, and myself. Castings are already under way in order to determine the rest of the cast.»