Regional ?Streetcar? production makes a stop in Athens

It is hardly a coincidence that some works take on a timeless quality and are adored by audiences around the world, says Vassilis Nikolaidis, who recently directed Tennessee Williams?s 1947 play ?A Streetcar Named Desire? at the Municipal Regional Theater of Patra.

While the play has been staged in countless productions, it remains open to interpretation. Following a run in Patra, the production is currently in Athens for a limited number of performances (to March 27) at the Ilisia-Denisi Theater.

?Blanche could very well be a woman living in our society today,? Nikolaidis told Kathimerini. ?We are used to her dragging herself from couch to couch, glass of whisky in hand, talking poetic nonsense. In this production, Blanche [Katia Gerou] comes across as a defenseless woman whose misfortune goes back to the day she was born.?

Blanche, says Nikolaidis, is not a disturbed woman, but an extremely sensitive human being.

?She lives in a ruthless environment, where being different means being attacked mercilessly. After her husband commits suicide, what she is looking for in the men she crosses paths with is an antidote to death. There are dozens of Blanches all around us, people who are crushed because our thick-skinned, male-dominated society can?t lift them up,? Nikolaidis added.

Besides coming up with a novel reading of the American playwright?s Blanche, the production offers a chance to experience theater made outside of Athens — Nikolaidis is the artistic director of the Municipal Regional Theater of Agrinio.

What?s next for Nikolaidis? It?s hard to say, given the general state of Greek affairs.

?Decentralization seems to be low on the government?s list; it?s something which the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is showing no interest in,? said the director. ?As far as I?m concerned, I will carry on directing, because it?s my job and I love it, but the last thing that the state cares about right now is culture. People can live without entertainment when there?s nothing on their plate.?

Meanwhile, at the Denisi-Ilisia Theater, ?A Streetcar Named Desire? is based on a translation by Errikos Belies, with sets and costume design by Yiannis Metzikof. Starring alongside Gerou are Dimitris Moschos, Alexandros Bourdoumis, Electra Nikolouzou, Iosif Iosifidis, Yiannis Kotsarinis, Thomas Gagas, Zacharoula Klimatsaki, Margarita Varlamou and Constantinos Famis.

Ilisia-Denisi Theater, 4 Papadiamantopoulou, tel 210.721.0045. Performances take place Wednesdays to Sundays at 9 p.m.

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