The publication of a new anthology on Greek theater by British specialists Oberon and Athens’s Sokolis comes as a welcome dose of good news in the crisis-hit art world.
“The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Greek Plays” comprises five complete works by the cream of contemporary Greek dramatists from the 1990s to the 2010s: “M.A.I.R.O.U.L.A” by Lena Kitsopoulou, translated by Aliki Chapple (2012), “Angelstate” by Nina Rapi, translated by the author (2015), “Wolfgang” by Yannis Mavritsakis, translated by Christina Polyhroniou (2008), “Hungry” by Charalampos Giannou, translated by the author (2016), and “Juliet” by Akis Dimou, translated by Elizabeth Sakellaridou (1995).
Oberon selected these five plays from more than a dozen recommendations made by Sokolis, looking to find a balance between male and female playwrights and also high-caliber translations into English, some of which were bankrolled by the Greek publishing company.
“I met with three big British publishers right around the time that the capital controls were introduced and Greece was in the international headlines. They showed a keen interest. We chose to work with Oberon, which is a leader in theatrical publications,” says publisher Athina Sokoli.
“From the 15 recommendations I submitted, they chose five. The quality of the translations was a very important part,” she adds.
It is the first time that a foreign publishing company has shown an interest in contemporary Greek theater since 1999, when Arcadia Books published excerpts of plays by Loula Anagnostaki, Giorgos Skourtis, Dimitris Kechaidis and Eleni Haviara.
“What we and our British partners are hoping is that the anthology sells well so that we can go ahead with the publication of a second, covering an even greater breadth of contemporary Greek theater,” says Sokoli.
“The Oberon Anthology of Contemporary Greek Plays” is slated for release at bookstores by the end of the month and is already available for purchase on Oberon’s website. The collection includes a foreword and introductions to each play by prominent academics in Greek contemporary theater.