CULTURE

Christos Dimas turns to the stage and to musicals

Christos Dimas’s recent announcement regarding his new film is very welcome, as this year has not been profitable for Greek cinema. Dimas announced that the forthcoming film will be a musical and that Lakis Lazopoulos will play the leading character. The announcement was made at the opening night of Maria Efstathiadi’s play «Disobedience,» directed by Dimas, at the Small Theater of the Lazariston Monastery in Thessaloniki. Dimas appears very excited with the prospect of making a new film. «You know, not one Greek musical has been produced since the time of Yiannis Dalianidis,» he says in obvious disbelief. Contemporary Greek cinema has indeed not been too keen on musical productions, that is true, with only a few exceptions: Dinos Mouratidis’s 1980s film «Scenario,» where, incidentally, Lazopoulos also appears; Pandelis Voulgaris’s «Acropol» in the 1990s, which was closer to a revue; and «To Klama Vgike Apo ton Paradeiso,» (Silicon Tears) by Thanassis Reppas and Michalis Papathanassiou, which was produced two years ago. Dimas, a fan of Indian Bollywood cinema, explained that the film would be something between «All that Jazz» and «Moulin Rouge» with touches of «West Side Story» and «Zelig.» «It will be a proper musical which will run through the Greek show biz industry as we came to know it through the Finos Films hit productions. After all, Lazopoulos, who will hold the leading part, is himself a wonder child of Finos Films. «The film will describe 40 years of his life, his coming of age and his success. We are currently writing the script and setting up the production at the same time, so as to save time.» During the past few years, Dimas has not spent all of his time with cinema productions, but turned to theater as well. He made his debut as a theater director last year, with the play «Kalynichta Mitera» (Good Night Mother) which was put on at the Argo Theater. His current theatrical work, the direction of the first production of Maria Efstathiadi’s play, is in collaboration with the State Theater of Northern Greece. «Disobedience» is a play which lives up to its title: A couple is just about to split, but then decides not to follow the natural order of events, which is dictated by a third person, a «voice.» The voice gives all the stage directions and in fact channels the couple toward the obvious: The necessary ending to this unbearable relationship. Yet the couple decides to rebel by going against all orders and to stay together. Dimas talks excitedly about «Disobedience» and seems to have unexpectedly discovered something valuable. «It is a contemporary Greek play that breaks out of the boundaries of ethics. The writing is minimal; the play is based on the actors’s ability to repeat certain movements and to embellish them every time so as to make the play more substantial. Just think of a five-page text which on stage is transformed into a one-hour and 20-minute play. And I can assure you that not a sound is heard from the audience!» For Dimas, the intervention of the «voice» is like a blessing and the voice itself represents good and logic. «But, we don’t live in a perfect world with perfect people. Although the voice offers the way out, the couple refuses to obey. Isn’t this how life goes? Why don’t we decide to end relationships that have reached a deadlock? Why do we insist, and what goes on there?» Dimas is determined to continue his work in theater. «I want to be active with one play per year. Working with actors in theater, instead of in the cinema, is totally different. Time is not so restricted and you can get to know the actors properly.» «Disobedience» stars Costas Sandas, Maria Katsandri and Alexandros Moukanos. The stage design and the costumes are by Ioulia Stavridou, the music is by Nikos Kypourgos and the choreography by Elena Topalidou.