How can you memorize a 90-minute monologue, perform it, and keep spectators riveted to their pews, too? Playwright and director Paris Tacopoulos and actor Nikos Kalamo pulled off this extraordinary feat beautifully on May 23 and 24 at St Paul’s Anglican Church-turned-theater. The play was a one-act soliloquy called «The Pre-Last of the Monikins» – a recital of despair and self-deprecation punctuated with manic-depressive imprecision by outbursts of la folie des grandeurs. Tacopoulos has made a niche for himself in Greek avant-garde literature with his works, which are full of Joyce-esque wordplay and multiple puns. This one-man play includes Anglo-Hellenic verbal acrobatics combined with bitter allusions to known flaws in the Greek character and oblique references to mentalities that are squeezed between superiority and inferiority – a technique that allows unpalatable truths to sound less offensive wrapped in puns. Kalamo – who studied acting in New York and runs an experimental theater group on the island of Aegina, where he resides – is a remarkable actor who delivered, with a fascinating mixture of Hellenic egocentrism and an Anglo-Saxon stiff upper lip, the sprawling reveries of a desperately lonely man trying to put a meaningful end to a meaningless life. The pistol shot in the darkened church resounded like THE END of the play, but seeing that this was a Pre-last Monikin, we can now look forward to the Next-but-last from the talented and witty Paris Tacopoulos. Indeed, the play is to be performed at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival in August. Mario Modiano, correspondent in Athens for The Times from 1952 to 1990, contributed this article to Kathimerini English Edition.