CULTURE

Porta Theater’s new adventures

The Porta Theater on Mesogeion Avenue, which houses Xenia Kalogeropoulou’s Small and Big Porta, is acquiring another, small-sized stage to cater for plays that can only be staged in a limited space. Two such plays are ready to open this Saturday (one in the morning and the other in the evening), thus inaugurating the theater’s new activities. The Porta Theater will also organize theater seminars for children and seminars for teachers, which will be housed in a large, 150-square-meter hall in Psyrri, next to the Embros Theater. «It was often the case that I would read a nice play but had to turn it down because it required a very small space and could not be staged in a theater of 450 seats like ours,» explained Kalogeropoulou. Reading those plays that required proximity, plays both for adults and for children, made her sad. «I felt the need to have a theater which I could enlarge or narrow down, the way that Alice grew bigger and smaller in Wonderland,» she said. «It was a dream that has now become reality.» The die was cast with… the Romans – who else? – when Kalogeropoulou invited Kismet, the multifaceted Italian theater troupe, to perform at her theater last year. «They needed a small-scale stage and an audience of 400, so we constructed a small theater on the Porta Theater’s stage, adding a few rows of seats. It worked out beautifully. So we decided to move on to something more permanent; it’s something we’ve wanted for a long time.» The new construction is not as small as the impromptu stage erected for the Italian troupe and will not limit the theater’s stage. «What we ordered in Italy and are getting delivered these days holds up to 100 spectators. The front part of the construction, the first row of seats touches the stage, while the other rows gradually rise, isolating the theater’s parterre from the stage. This kind of construction allows us to have a small area for a limited audience while maintaining the theater’s main stage along with all of its equipment,» said Kalogeropoulou. «Our idea is for the smaller theater to ‘grow’ into the larger one around this time of year, in the spring, by staging appropriate plays.» This is already the case of Dea Loher’s «Blaubart,» in a translation by Giorgos Depastas. The play, for adults, is directed by Giorgos Lanthimos featuring a cast led by Amalia Moutousi, Christos Passalis and Maria Panourgia. Michael Kennie’s «A Different Kind of Summer,» on the other hand, is destined for a young and old audience. Translated by Costis Skalioras and directed by Yiannis Moschos, the cast is led by Dimitris Cataleifos (who began acting at the Small Porta 28 years ago and is now making a comeback) and Ioanna Pappa. Beginning in June (and if not, certainly starting in October) the children’s theater workshop and seminars for teachers will kick off at the Psyrri venue. «That’s another thing we’ve wanted for quite a while, but we couldn’t make our minds up due to the fact that we didn’t have the right people. This winter we began collaborating with a fantastic young woman, Peggy Stefanidou, who combines knowledge and devotion,» said Kalogeropoulou. «I’m so lucky to be surrounded by people like Thomas Moschopoulos, Yianna Kabouridou and Peggy – gifted, enthusiastic people who love what they do.»