A modern-day prayer

“In the theater, one feels exposed and can talk to the audience directly about deeper matters. We only remember our soul opening up in our dreams, and in moments of silence or intense pain. In the theater, we can dream. That’s the power of theater, compared to other forms of art,» said actress-turned-director Olia Lazaridou at a recent press conference. Lazaridou is currently working on her second project as a director, in collaboration with Maria Nikolakopoulou; the performance, «Time is a Closed Door,» with texts by Theofano Kaloyianni and music by Constantinos Beta, opens at the Athens Concert Hall tomorrow and will run to Friday. The show is a poetical text set to music. Lazaridou, the narrator, is dreaming. In her dream, she encounters her own self (actress Amalia Moutoussi), a chorus of women and four men of different ages: a child, a young man, a middle-aged man and an old man. «The narrator, through the persons in the dream who represent the thoughts and aspects of the soul, talks about the desire to open up her heart but also about the fear of such a desire, because it would signify the death of her old self,» said Lazaridou. «It also presupposes faith, which the narrator seeks within herself, amid the darkness of doubt, guided by her dream angel-self.» «The show had its origins in a thought: What is a contemporary prayer?» Lazaridou said. «The text balances poetry and dramatic speech. It is a libretto for nine persons. The 10th person is Constantinos Beta’s music, which was born during rehearsals. By talking from our point of view, we tried to avoid the two main dangers, that of turning the show into a lecture and ending up producing just some sort of general, artsy work. We sought a means of expression that would convey feeling and not sentimentality.» «I wrote a new text that juxtaposes the very old and the very new. A prayer is a relationship with ourselves. The question is how much our heart can open up in relation to other people,» said Theofano Kaloyianni about her work. Amalia Moutoussi, who plays the angel and thus the leading part, preferred to focus on the work as a starting point for a new dramatic language. «It is important to stress that this is not merely a dramatic staging of poetry,» she added. «The music wants to express the violence of contemporary man’s need to pray, and the conflict he experiences, which does not allow him to let go and to experience that necessary blossoming. I followed Olia’s thought and I convey to you, musically, what she found,» said Constantinos Beta, who was unable to attend the press conference, in a note. He will be present throughout the entire show, playing his composition live. Other participants in the show include Varvara Lazaridou, Theodora Tzimou, Klavdia Zarafonitou, Vassilis Karaboulas, Giorgos Tsoularis, young Panayiotis Kavvadas and others. The sets are by Lili Pezanou, the costumes by Angelos Mentis and the lights by Andreas Bellis.