Ibsen play and visual spectacle are festive season’s premieres

The holidays are a good opportunity to step out to the theater and then go out on the town. There are two new productions in the capital that can offer a pleasant cultural respite from holiday dining. Actor-director Giorgos Kimoulis has made a habit of holding premieres on Christmas Day and this year was no exception; Henrik Ibsen’s «The Master Builder,» where Kimoulis plays the leading character, opened at the Athens Contemporary Theater (39 Evmolpidon, Gazi, tel 210.345.5020) last Saturday. Master builder Solness is a decadent man who has given up on life. Hiding behind guilt and cynicism, he waits for death. But even though he is afraid of change and new things, transformation comes in the shape of a young woman, played here by Stavriana Pandi. The production is directed by Lefteris Giovanidis and stars, apart from Kimoulis and Pandi, Titika Vlachopoulou, Giorgos Geogleris, Giorgos Hadzigeorgiou, Myrto Rigou and Thodoros Exarchos. The costumes are by Katerina Papanikolaou. French art theater group Eclats d’etats has returned to Greece with its latest production, «Journey into my Office,» based on a script by Aristidis Antonas and a composition by Stefanos Vassileiadis. The Greek/French show opened at the Thiseion Theater (7 Tournavitou, Psyrri, tel 210.325.5444) on Monday and runs to January 8. The play gives a taste of city life by casting a look at the work environment. Writer Aristidis Antonas provokes by giving his characters the opportunity to escape the cliche of the unfortunate employee who collapses under the weight of bureaucracy: His characters are full of curiosity, imagination and determination. Both the stage and the sets feature prominently in the play, while elements from puppet theater produce a visually rich performance. The music and moving images, and the combination of dance and theater make for a striking spectacle. The direction and stage design are by Katerini Antonakaki and Emmanuel Jorand-Briquet.