CULTURE

Marinos, Michailidis & Margarita

No, he is not walking away from his Open Theater in search of new collaborations, yet news of him directing Giorgos Marinos in the play Miss Margarita at the Kappa Theater did come as a surprise. This is clearly a matter of personal relationships, says director Giorgos Michailidis, who is also working on a Chekhov play for his own company. Marinos asked me as a favor. I wouldn’t do it for anyone else. Old classmates at the National Theater’s Drama School, they worked together in Lulu a few years ago. He walked in with this incredible sense of discretion, and became a pupil all over again. Even the money was low for his standards, says the director of their previous collaboration. It is because of this happy encounter that he agreed to direct the play, even though he does not normally direct productions outside of his company, and he has not even read the play, which was one of Elly Lambeti’s most famous. Nor had Marinos seen the Lambeti staging. I lived in the aftermath of that performance, and ever since wanted to stage it, says the actor. Yet don’t expect the actor/showman Marinos to dress up as a woman. He will appear onstage in a suit and tie, says the director. He will introduce himself: ‘Hello I’m Miss Margarita.’ This lady is not a character and that is stated from the very beginning. She is a teacher, a representative of the establishment, and we are about to be the witnesses as she brings it down. It is neither a comedy nor a drama. You can’t really put this play by Roberto Ataide (translation by Costas Tachtsis) under any category. It is harsh, but not sinister. It is not provocative, though it uses powerful words. One gets the feeling that there is a layer of fascism lying underneath the story, says the director, while the actor adds that it deals with education and how it actually works. This is why it will touch today’s audience. Because this subject is still one of the major issues concerning our society today. It was staged in the United States in 1977, and over two decades later it is still valid. The idea of a man playing a woman is not a novelty. The Brazilian playwright already sent a fax to Marinos informing him that the play has already been staged by male actors in five different theaters. Gender is not important in this play, says Marinos. We don’t want this to turn into a transvestite issue. Whatever the outcome, the relationship between Michailidis and Marinos is solid. I’m leaving everything to the director and I feel very fortunate that he is guiding me on stage, says Marinos. What can he offer? The most important thing of all: teaching. At first I was terrified when I started learning the part. Later on, I realized that I can play this part because it is ultimately addressed to the public. PSARANTONIS ‘Idaeon Antron’