CULTURE

Personal journey from imagination to reality

During the early years of her theatrical career, Mina Adamaki felt that everything was possible. «I was floating above the ground,» she explains, in what one might well describe as a typical characteristic of young people except that Adamaki has always been «more in touch with imagination than with reality,» as she herself puts it. She caused the first reversal in her life by breaking away from the Theatro Technis; she traveled to London, seeking the «promise of spiritual delight.» That was when she came face to face with reality. «It was like the stock market bubble. But I managed to see things from a distance and then to better place myself within theater.» When she eagerly returned to Greece, after studying impersonation, puppet theater and movement at the Open University, she joined the Elefthero Theatro, which however closed down soon after that, in order to continue as Eleftheri Skini, of which Adamaki became one of the founding members. She finally turned to so-called commercial theater. «Coming back to Greece and joining the Eleftheri Skini was like going through a second adolescence. It was a creative game, although we didn’t take ourselves very seriously. We weren’t even thinking of our careers.» Today Adamaki is still not thinking about a career per se, although she has been acting for about three decades. She does not agree with forms and characterizations either, although she admits she has a comic streak within her. «Theater is a unity. It has everything, just like life: laughter and tears, comedy and drama.» She is interested in complex roles, like the one she has taken on now. Nina’s monologue from Costas Tachtsis’s «To Trito Stefani,» which she is currently performing at the Synchrono Theatro at Gazi. Tachtsis’s book has been adapted for the theater by Thanassis Niarchos and Nikos Karageorgos, who is also the play’s director. «Complex roles have greater depth of ideas,» Adamaki says. This is not the first theater production of Nina’s monologue. She is a woman who has managed to survive and who talks about life, fate and her feelings, reflecting in her narrative the history of modern Greece. When Adamaki first read the book, years ago, she was far more impressed by the book’s other character, Ekavi. «Ekavi is the typical dramatic heroine who will not hesitate to sacrifice herself. Nina is the counter-heroine who is trying to survive. Nina is like all of us.» Adamaki discovered Nina when she reread «To Trito Stefani,» the novel which appealed to thousands of readers. This is the novel’s first adaptation for theater and it makes the story even more up-to-date, because of the war that is going on now. «It is about human emotions and situations within a heavy political atmosphere. That these events took place years ago is of no importance. The battle is not over yet, it happened at Cyprus.» In such cases motivation for life becomes even stronger, and that is what the play is about. «It is about wanting to live and to survive. I used to hear stories from my mother and my aunt, and I couldn’t even imagine how people could get married, have children and maintain hope during a war. But danger gives life another dimension.» Nina’s monologue resulted in Adamaki standing all alone on the stage for the first time in her theater career and during the first few days she was terrified. «I tried so hard not to be afraid that I started rehearsing having already learned all the part by heart. I reacted in an aggressive manner at first, but now I just don’t think about it. I go along with the story.» Adamaki is not the sort of person who will get stuck in the past or the present, and she does not resent young people either. «On the contrary, I think about them a lot. They want to resist, but they don’t know what to rely on. Today there is conservatism, but there is also fear. I never connected art with security, not even when I was in a position to do so. That is why I admire young people. How can they survive in such a cruel world?» Ever since her big change, her departure and her return, she has been trying for the same thing: «I am striving to be myself as much as I can.» Synchrono Theatro, 39 Evmolpidon, Gazi, tel 210.345.5020.