Aristophanes’ ‘Wasps’ at the Herod Atticus

Aristophanes’ «Wasps» goes on stage at the Herod Atticus Theater tonight as part of this year’s Athens Festival events. Directed by Takis Chryssikakos and starring Costas Voutsas, this deeply political and humorous play is being staged by the Theater Dialogues troupe – the company has been traveling with «The Wasps» all over Greece this summer. «We placed ‘The Wasps’ underneath the Acropolis, in a neoclassical house in Athens during carnival,» said Chryssikakos at a press conference earlier this week. «The production’s line of thought, respecting tradition, was based on the idea that Aristophanes is alive.» In the play, Aristophanes targets his perennial enemy, demagogue Cleon. The weapon he uses against him is satire, as he ridicules the judicial system, a rotten network which supports Cleon, and in which business and political interests come first. The principal characters are Philocleon, consumed by his passion for jury duty, and his son Bdelycleon, who attempts to cure his father from this obsession. «From now on we must honor the poets.» It is this Aristophanic phrase that composer Christos Leontis had in mind when developing the production’s his original score. «Aristophanes is a catapult,» noted the composer at the press conference. «He is not as ‘light’ as we believe he is. As composers, we often underestimate him…» Tonight’s production is based on a translation by Errikos Belies, with sets by Tassos Zografos, costumes by Savvas Paschalidis and choreographies by Ersi Pitta. Besides seasoned comedian Voutsas, the cast includes Chryssikakos, Yiannia Degaitis, Babis Sariyannidis, Dimitris Aronis as well as a 15-member chorus. Aristophanes’ «Wasps,» at the Herod Atticus Theater, Dionysiou Areopagitou, tel 210.323.2771. Tickets are also available at the Hellenic Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.322.1459.