Making theater from theater

“A pause in theater does not merely represent the gap between two sentences, it is an entire world.» Vassilis Kanellopoulos, who founded the Schedia theatrical group 11 years ago, is very clear about what he has been looking for all this time. The same applies to actress Lena Makri, who is almost a permanent collaborator with the group and with any one of the many people who have worked with them. «Our aim is to always make theater via theatrical means,» says Kanellopoulos. This year is no exception; insisting on contemporary theater with Caryl Churchill’s work, they have decided to tackle a world full of social problems and often bereft of any ideological background. «We are dealing with characters who cannot significantly influence their social surroundings.» Their first attempt was with «Abortive,» starring Lena Makri and Vassilis Vassilakis. They will next stage Churchill’s «Not, Not, Not, Not Enough Oxygen.» What the two plays have in common is the concept of invasion. In «Abortive,» a stranger invades a couple’s orderly life, while in the play that will be staged next, the «invasion» is by a familiar person. «Abortive» is a play that Churchill wrote for BBC Radio and the Schedia group had to transfer into a stage play, which was no easy task. «We had to turn it into movement, restlessness, action and structured speech.» Churchill deals with the world’s political problems. «She often thinks that violent actions are part of a game that enables the weak to survive. She does not belong to the Sarah Kane school of thought; she is older and has followed a different path. While Kane pushed herself to the edge, Churchill is alive. What they have in common is that they both worked with the Royal Court Theater,» says the director. Churchill’s work is not the sort of political play we are used to; it is not in the style of Brecht, but it deals with society’s social structure. «What moves me about British playwrights is that they can reproduce contemporary problems because they live in a capitalist womb. We are not talking about heroes or anti-heroes, but about a puzzle that is part of their lives. Their words are not very powerful and cannot claim the end of the world, but they represent something we might say: ‘I’m not feeling well today.’» The play takes place in front of Van Gogh’s «Starry Night.» «We wanted to create an idyllic environment for our characters. During the show, we can see parts of that sky, which moves slowly and forms a kind of industrial nature.» The sets consist of a garden, a bed and the painting, creating an idyllic evening which, however, does not reflect the characters’ lives. The invasion of a third person into their life is crucial. The Schedia group is keen to avoid the kind of theater that is influenced by television. «That is when actors lose their means of expression. In that kind of theater, actors just compete in who can move their facial muscles better. This does not concern us,» said the Schedia founder. The play is on at the Schedia Theater, 34 Voutadon, Gazi, tel 210.347.7448. On show Wednesday to Sunday at 9.30 p.m.

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