CULTURE

Children travel through a magical land of dreams

British playwright Charles Way has woven the legends of his childhood with the fantastical creatures of his imagination into a special magical world. This world is brought to life for Athenians by the Porta Theater, which is currently staging Way’s «A Spell of Cold Weather» – a play that received the top prize from Britain’s Union of Playwrights in 1996 – in a production translated by Xenia Kalogeropoulou and directed by Thomas Moschopoulos. Charles Way – who has gained a wealth of theater experience ever since he wrote his first play in 1978 – was in Athens recently to see the Porta Theater production and to discuss his work with the local press. Way is enthusiastic about his calling and loves writing plays especially for children, believing that there are some stories that really ought to be told. «I don’t really know why I started writing,» he said. «I remember the days when I lived in the country. I was the shy, quiet child who took long bike rides and lived in a dream world.» «When I was 14, a dam suddenly burst inside me and I wrote my first play. I had found a way to express myself.» Way calls himself a simple storyteller. He loves children and thinks that they should not be burdened with or blamed for the problems of the world. «I write plays about the journey through childhood, the relationships between children and adults, and their own journey through it,» explained the playwright. «This journey that leads us to a new level of self-discovery is, as far as I am concerned, a symbol of the entire journey of life.» His heroes act as catalysts who succeed through their sensitivity and spontaneity in changing the world around them. «Children need stories which empower them, that make them feel important and able to transform everyday life,» Way said. In Britain, he said, children’s theater is going through an unprecedented boom; even the National Theater is putting on a children’s play for the first time. «You have to be sensitive to understand what entertains a child! Personally, I want to tell them about spiritual life, about what is good or bad in a world without religion,» added Way. All his plays look at the good and bad sides of life, and they always have a happy ending. «Art must be bold and mirror all the great effort we put into life. Above all, I believe that in this commercialized world, my plays talk about the importance of being human.» Charles Way’s «A Spell of Cold Weather» is on at the Porta Theater, 59 Mesogeion, Ambelokipi, tel 010.771.1333 and 010.778.0518.