CULTURE

‘The Arbitration’ by Menander heads to the Epidaurus Festival

The month of August at Epidaurus will open with a truly entertaining production from the Cyprus Theater Organization, Menander’s rarely performed comedy «The Arbitration» (Epitrepontes), whose premiere Kathimerini had the opportunity of seeing in Cyprus last month. Following two performances at Epidaurus, tomorrow and Saturday, the play will be taken to the ancient theater of Patras, for shows on August 4 and 5. «The Arbitration» is the second Menander play staged by the Cypriot theater company following its recent production – a successful one – of «Samia.» The same approach, by the same people, has, more or less, been applied to the latest venture. Besides translating the play’s ancient text into a light form of Katharevousa, Yiannis Varveris also wrote the play’s choral verses; director Evis Gavriilidis has provided a thorough, well-executed effort; while the music, by Michalis Christodoulidis, stylistically places «The Arbitration» somewhere between a musical and early 20th century Athenian comedy. Just hours ahead of the Cypriot theater company’s first rehearsal at the Epidaurus Theater, Gavriilidis, the play’s director, spoke of Menander’s pioneering dramatic ways which, he said, paved the way for prominent playwrights of later times such as Goldoni, Moliere, and Shakespeare. Varveris, the play’s translator, expressed his delight at collaborating with Gavriilidis as the production’s director and the Cyprus Theater Organization. The work and text «fell into the hands of a magical veteran, Evis Gavriilidis, and a superb theatrical company which Greece, I must boldly say, does not have,» Varveris remarked. «The performance will constitute a sharp slap at the tasteless era we’re living in; the abundant barbarism in theater and television,» he added. «The Arbitration» tells the saga of Charisios and his newly wedded wife, Pamphile, who bears a child five months into their marriage. Pamphile abandons the child in the belief that Charisios is not its father. Charisios consequently ditches his wife, and the plot reaches an unexpected and happy ending when Charisios realizes that, while drunk at a festival, it was Pamphile he had made love to in total darkness. Sets and costumes were designed by Yiannis Metzikoff, the performance’s choreography is by Xenis Vattis and Gillian Vatti, and music instruction was provided by Maro Skordi. For tickets: Ancient Theater of Epidaurus, tel 27530.22026 and the Hellenic Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.322.1459.