A modern ‘Romeo and Juliet’

For his latest project, currently on at his Thiseion Theater in the capital’s Psyrri district, stage director Michail Marmarinos is offering a contemporary take on «Romeo and Juliet» – that includes the cast’s subjective feelings. The play’s title has been revised to «Romeo and Juliet: The Third Memory – A Ballet Forever.» In an interview with Kathimerini, Marmarinos noted that while Shakespeare’s storyline had been maintained, excerpts from his work had been interwoven with various other texts for the project’s purpose. «Yes, it’s the familiar story, in linear terms. But, along with the excerpts taken from Shakespeare’s work, we’ve used lots of other texts, too,» noted Marmarinos, who added that both he and his cast had approached «Romeo and Juliet» in a subjective fashion as a way of achieving finer detail. «Each scene bears the mark of intervention by the cast as it saw fit. Then, I’ve intervened in the intervention of the actors, using texts of my own, phrases, proposals, words, and so on, to ‘rectify’ the [initial] change and steer the work toward my desired aim, for greater precision.» The director explained that this open approach was aimed at injecting both his and the rest of the company’s perceptions of Shakespeare’s subject matter into «Romeo and Juliet.» «Our production offers space, it allows for our concerns about the work and its subject,» said Marmarinos. When asked to elaborate, the director defined his cast’s concern as one «about the play’s dramatic language, the distance one keeps from its mellower dimension without eliminating it.» Marmarinos explained that the choice of «Romeo and Juliet» for his latest project was based on personal reasons, which, he admitted, not even he was fully aware of. «This work, as is always the case, deals with very personal journeys, which I’m often not aware of myself. That’s also what happened with ‘Ethnikos Ymnos’ (National Anthem). As was the case then, here too the whole thing has to do with the search for contemporary values – personal values that carry a social directive which shouts out ‘For You’,» said Marmarinos. He agreed that his «National Anthem» had paved the way for more personal work in his career, but noted that the transition dates back to an older project. «Yes, that’s true, but this development had begun with another play, ‘Romantismos,’ which didn’t become as well known as ‘National Anthem’,» explained Marmarinos. «It’s true that I like to allow leeway for expression and personal matters, even in works with a classic structure, such as ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ I’m particularly interested in this type of theater, or how direction can, concurrently, create drama. It helps us to see the possibilities of theater beyond those we’re already aware of.» Thiseion Theater, 7 Tournavitou, Psyrri, tel 210.325.5444.