Caustic commentary on wealth to close Epidaurus Festival

“Plutus,» one of Aristophanes’ favorite comedies, this time starring popular comedian Lakis Lazopoulos, will close this year’s Epidaurus Festival of ancient drama with two performances tonight and tomorrow. Lakis Lazopoulos appeared at a recent press conference slightly shaken because this is his first appearance at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus. He only made brief reference to the recent contradiction with the Church in Serres: «We were not allowed to stage the play because the city’s bishop objected.» He did not elaborate, providing details about the production instead. «I don’t know if I’m very nervous, I am only just realizing it. I will probably get panicky once I reach Epidaurus,» he said. Aristophanes’ comedy deals with the utopia of sudden and endless wealth and Lazopoulos impersonates the man who becomes rich unexpectedly. «My character is just like personalities we encounter today whom I call deposit books! We are living in very peculiar times, where everything is made up… What strikes me about Aristophanes is the way he describes contemporary happenings without any reference to specific people. In my opinion, people who are truly rich are those who are not afraid to tell the truth, who can express their feelings, who can clash and are able to pack their suitcases and take off at any given moment.» «I grew up in working-class neighborhoods and I know the sound of laughter at feasts and on excursions. I recognize these sounds and I lean on them when things get difficult. The reason I became what I am is that I wanted people to have a good time.» «I worked on this play seven years ago in Kavala,» said director Nikos Mastorakis. «I felt I had solved the staging issues, but I have a particularity: I organize the show according to the material I have. I was eventually led to something entirely different from what I had imagined. The issue at stake is how a comedian of the likes of Lakis Lazopoulos met Aristophanes.» The music for the show’s chorus intermissions, written by Stamatis Kraounakis, contains piano, keyboards, accordion, percussion, hymns, screams and sounds from demonstrations. «This is the third time I’ve worked on the music for this play,» said Kraounakis. Eleven actors and seven members of the Spira-Spira group worked for the «chorus to be the most vibrant part of the show’s fiber.» The translation is by K.H. Myris; the sets are by Eva Manidaki and the costumes by Yiannis Metzikoff. The lyrics are by Lina Nikolakopoulou and the choreography by Kiki Baka. Tickets can be purchased at the Hellenic Festival Box Office (39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.928.2900) and from the theater box office. For credit card bookings, call tel 210.928.2900.

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