CULTURE

Greek playwright shows decadent prewar Berlin

A new Greek play, set in a German cabaret just before the rise of Nazism, is opening at the National Theater’s Kotopouli stage tomorrow. This is a noteworthy event for two principal reasons. One is that it is increasingly rare for fresh plays by Greek playwrights to make it onto Athenian stages. The other one has to do with its subject matter. «Miserere,» the first play by Panayiotis Paschidis, provides a glimpse into a world which is not particularly familiar to the local public. Set in prewar Berlin, Paschidis’s production exhibits a keen sense of decadence during a period in which a hidden side of a seemingly carefree attitude foreshadows what lies ahead. Decomposing The plot unfolds in the «Miserere» cabaret, a hangout for dancers, call girls, transvestites, Nazis, communists and aristocrats – all various elements of a society in decay. Through a series of comic and tragic events, which are accompanied by music, singing and dancing, the era’s financial, social and moral decadence open the door to the destructive Nazi movement. At a press conference, Costas Tsianos, the play’s director, noted whenever a new Greek play appears, the atmosphere is a festive one. But the playwright avoided labeling the play, while Thanos Mikroutsikos, who composed the music, likened it to musical theater, although he believes it belongs to the German cabaret tradition. The lavish production is undertaken by 40 young, flexible actors who are able to do almost anything on stage, whether it’s acting, singing or dancing. The cast is led by Alkis Kourkoulos, Tania Trypi, Yiannis Samsiaris (in the role of Madame Lorelai), Anneza Papa and Yiannis Voyatzis. Sets and stage design are by Simos Karafyllis, costumes by Yiannis Metzikoff, choreography by Fokas Evangelinos, musical training by Melina Peonidou and lighting by Eleftheria Deco.