Michalis Cacoyiannis directs ‘Coriolanus’

Acclaimed stage and screen director Michael Cacoyiannis is presenting Shakespeare’s «Coriolanus» at the Herod Atticus Theater on July 25 and 26 in a production he has both translated and directed on a commission by the Hellenic Festival, and held under the aegis of Athens Municipality. Cacoyiannis entrusted renowned actors with the main roles of the play and said, at a recent press conference, that they all exceeded his expectations. Vladimiros Kyriakidis holds the title character, Martha Vourtsi plays his mother, Yiannis Voglis is Menenius Agrippa, Nikos Arvanitis will play Tullus Aufidius, Tatiana Papamoschou will play Coriolanus’s wife, Giorgos Kendros will play Cominius, Haris Emmanouil will be Titus Lartius and the cast further includes Manos Vakoussis and Nikos Hadzopoulos. The performance also features 10 swordsmen and 30 additional cast members. The sets were designed by Apostolos Vettas, the costumes by Yiannis Metzikoff and the lighting is by Eleftheria Deco, while the music is by Costas Cacoyiannis. «The cost of the performance is too high for it to travel. But it would be good to record it, so that it does not expire,» said Cacoyiannis. Rise and fall «Coriolanus» was first staged in 1607. It is one of Shakespeare’s late plays and was written in the same year as «Antony and Cleopatra» and «Timon of Athens.» The play focuses on the conflict between one man and the masses, on the rise and fall of the gifted, yet arrogant and eventually disrespectful leader. At the same time, it deals with the stalemate of political systems which suffer in the hands of inefficient administration. According to Shakespeare, no one is innocent. «I would have hesitated to stage ‘Coriolanus,’ which is considered a masterpiece of the international repertoire, if I hadn’t spent so many nights translating it. I tried to render not only the spirit of the playwright – by allowing myself the necessary liberties to make the Greek text flow – but also the poetic quality and the structure that form the dramatic basis of Shakespearean tragedy. In my translation, I have remained strictly faithful to the analogy of the verses in the English text and the alternations between prose and rhyme, and I have kept all the rhymes. I also tried to render the poetic qualities that reflect the characters’ state of mind, which ranges from the dramatic sharpness of all the political and social tensions to the philosophical and calm, to poetic love and mourning,» said the internationally acclaimed director.

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