CULTURE

Why did the woman cook her husband?

Yiannis Bezos and Natalia Tsaliki, a couple both on the stage and in life, take a look at the female psyche at the Proskinio Theater this season, with a production of Debbie Isitt’s «The Woman who Cooked her Husband.» Bezos had previously directed the play in a highly successful production by the Patras Regional Theater, featuring a different cast. In the last few years at the Proskinio, Bezos and Tsaliki have been staging classic plays by Shakespeare and Chekhov, among others. In staging Isitt’s play, is the couple charting a new theatrical course? «Not at all,» says Bezos. «It is a conscious choice. Just because the play is very funny does not mean it’s just some simple, little comedy. It is a play that touches upon real issues, mainly on the subject of the female psyche. The same goes for the play we will be staging after this, Strindberg’s ‘Miss Julie,’ to be directed by Giorgos Kimoulis. The first play is a black comedy, while the latter is a classic, two works that are very different, yet deep down are looking at the same thing: the soul of a woman.» In «The Woman who Cooked her Husband,» the story appears ordinary; the ending, however, is rather extreme: A woman whose husband has left her, finds herself cooking for him over and over again because his current wife turns out to be a terrible cook. In the end she decides to ask them both to dinner, a meal which results in the cooking and eating of the man. Passion, jealousy, pain, anger, treason and fear come together in a tragicomic situation. The play touches all people; it has great characters, characters that you take great joy in interpreting,» says Bezos, justifying his decision to stage the play again and act in it. His ex-wife is interpreted by Tsaliki and his current by Joyce Evidi. The play was translated by Maria Matsouka, with a new set design (Christina Kostea), lighting (Philippos Kotsaftis) and music editing (Costas Thomaidis). Does a different cast and different production mean new direction as well? «Yes, things are a little harder this time round. As I got to know the play better, I saw more depth, something which automatically brings about a certain toughness. At the same time, there is also a funny side, just as in real life.» Which of the three roles is the deepest? «I believe all three of them, but perhaps that of the ex-wife is a little deeper; she suffers more than the other two. There are elements that had escaped me the first time round. This time I was really interested to see what had happened in that woman’s psyche before she reached the final point. What kind of insults had she suffered from the husband, things that had never shook her out of the lie she had been living for years – until the new wife, her competitor, opened her eyes. And then she starts thinking about all those things she could have done over the years, how different her life could have been… And she’s not mad at him, but at herself, because she never reacted before. But then when he’s choking on a fishbone, she does nothing to save him. And she cooks him! An extreme ending, with a surreal touch and quite a bit of feminism, as this is the only way for a man to end up in the gutter.» «This is where the greatest difficulty with acting lies,» says Bezos. «This is because when an actor has to interpret an extreme situation, he is in danger of becoming extremely quaint, when what is really expected of him is to be really extreme. In other words, he is in danger of presenting the outline – instead of the explosion that takes place in the mind of an ordinary man and which ultimately leads him to act in extreme ways. You have to go deep into the essence of things.» Proskinio, 8 Kapnokoptiriou & Stournari, tel 210.825.2242-3.