CULTURE

‘Orestes’ to open Epidaurus

“The Ancient Theater of Epidaurus isn’t just overwhelming. It also reflects a sense of protection. On the one hand you feel exposed, on the other secure,» said Stamatis Fassoulis at a recent press conference. The popular actor and director was very moved as this is the first time that he will take Euripides’ tragedy «Orestes» (his first attempt at directing ancient tragedy) to Epidaurus. The Theatriki Diadromi production is to be staged tomorrow and Saturday and will mark the opening of this year’s Epidaurus Festival of ancient drama. «Over the past five years, I have received many propositions about Epidaurus, but I didn’t feel ready. I didn’t want to venture into something I didn’t know very well and where I didn’t have anything to propose,» he said. «Ancient tragedy is strongly linked to the Epidaurus Theater. It is one of the first things I experienced as a student at the National Theater. Back then, just holding a torch and walking across the Epidaurus Theater’s stage felt like one was playing a leading part.» «’Orestes’ is a work that connects ancient drama with modern theater. Euripides sheds a different light on ‘Orestes,’ something that no one had done so far.» Fassoulis has just stuck to the play in his mise en scene and did not attempt any modern takes on it. «The best director is the one whose hand cannot be seen anywhere,» he pointed out. A good team of actors, from different generations and schools, make up the production’s cast. Karyofyllia Karabeti plays Electra, young Argyris Xafis plays Orestes, Stelios Mainas is Menelaus and Yiannis Dalianis portrays Tyndareos and Apollo. «In Euripides’ ‘Orestes,’ Electra is very human. She is the most moving Electra,» said Karabeti, who will act a lead part at Epidaurus for the sixth time and is about to play Electra for the third time in her career. She described her collaboration with Stamatis Fassoulis as «a valuable moment.» «I am shaking in my boots a bit when I think of the show,» said Argyris Xafis. «It is a huge opportunity for me to appear at Epidaurus in a leading part. My Orestes is a young man with the desire to live. We all paid very close attention to the details. Euripides’ text demanded it.» «Menelaus represents the disappointed hopes, not just of Electra and Orestes, but of all young people,» said Stelios Mainas, talking about his part as Menelaus. «I would say that Euripides’ ‘Orestes’ is the play for young people. It expresses their stress at being unable to survive in an aggressive society.» The text used for the play is a translation by Giorgos Heimonas. The music was composed by Vassilis Dimitriou, the sets are by Giorgos Gavalas and the costumes by Katerina Papanikolaou. The choreography is by Fotis Nikolaou and Valia Papachristou and the lighting is by Lefteris Pavlopoulos. The remaining parts feature actors Mandy Lambrou (Helen), Dafni Kamenou (Hermione), Christos Plainis (Pylades), Yiannis Thomas (Messenger) and Theodoris Katsafados (Frygas). Tickets are available at the Hellenic Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.928.2900.