The joys of ‘Mabbot Street’

“What motivates me in both cinema and theater is the search for utopia, a place of complete freedom, pleasure and joy,» said Nikos Kornilios, director of the play «Mabbot Street.» Kornilios, who recently completed his film «The World Again,» has not been active in theater since the 1999 National Theater production of «As You Like It.» «Mabbot Street» is a production by the Synergeio Theater, which Kornilios described as a troupe of students and old colleagues. The play is based on an extract of James Joyce’s «Ulysses» (Chapter XV, «Circe») and is being presented in Greece for the first time. Adapted and directed by Kornilios, «Mabbot Street» opens at the Roes Theater tomorrow. «’Mabbot Street’ is to me what the Forest of Arden or the island in ‘The Tempest’ was to Shakespeare: a place where everything is possible and acceptable, where all wishes come true,» said Kornilios in an interview with Kathimerini. «Ulysses returns home. The text initially seemed very difficult to get through. It was a strong meeting, a revelation. I was never a big James Joyce fan but in reading his text, I discovered a powerful freedom of expression. The text provided me with the material I needed to set up this theatrical performance, the way that I imagine it right now.» «Mabbot Street» is full of brothels; it is the street of unmentionable desires and transformations. People can change their personalities, face, sex, occupation, class and sexual behavior. It is Circe’s place. Shortly before midnight, generous Leopold Bloom arrives in Mabbot Street. Bloom will reach an emotional explosion, through the panic and the heat of illicit pleasure. His inner world comes to the surface and, in the magical light of Mabbot Street, is transformed into many different people. «The stage will release all the different persons that we all have inside us,» said Kornilios. The characters that stand out are those of the mother, the father, the woman, the daughter, Zoe the whore and Bella Cohen, the brothel owner. «Each of the actors play many characters. They change their voices, their postures and their clothes and also use puppets and other objects. They set up a game, the great comedy of life.» The set design and the costumes are by Loukia Minetou with lighting by Melina Mascha. The production stars Lambros Apostolou as Leopold Bloom, Gavriella Vasdeki, Maria Paschalidou and Maria Sideri. Shows will run to January 16. Lectures On Monday, December 1, Dr David Butler of the James Joyce Center will deliver a lecture on the work of the great Irish author. Furthermore, in collaboration with the Embassy of Ireland and Ireland’s Ministry of Culture, «Mabbot Street» is scheduled to be performed in Dublin in June 2004 during the Bloomsdays series of events on James Joyce. Roes Theater, 14 Iakhou, Gazi, tel 210.347.4312.