CULTURE

Early close for National Theater’s Main Stage

The National Theater is losing its Kentriki Skini or Main Stage, which will close once restoration work begins. The first effect of the closure was to force cancellation of the planned production of Shakespeare’s Richard III, in which the theater’s director, Nikos Kourkoulos, was to have played the leading role. The National Theater building on Aghiou Constantinou Street was scheduled to close at the end of the coming season, in May, so that the work of thoroughly restoring the theater and installing the latest equipment could begin. The project is expected to last two years, getting the building ready in time for the 2004 Olympiad. Initially, the National Theater administration planned to put on the usual two plays at the Main Stage and New Stage, and details of the productions and casts had already been announced. The sudden announcement of the closure, sources say, followed reports to Kourkoulos by the five companies involved in the project, advising him that the theater would not be ready by 2004 unless work was done in the coming five months. There was no immediate need to close down the New Stage. The outcome is that Ibsen’s Peer Gynt will be performed at another theater, probably the Piraeus Municipal Theater, and Richard III will probably be staged next year at the Kotopouli-Rex Theater. Also in the report, you mention that in the last two years you have imposed the development of ‘real performances.’ What does that mean exactly?