‘The Miser’ with an opera twist

The latest addition in a series of theater productions featuring works by French comedy master Moliere is «L’Avare» (The Miser). At the Theater Technis, the production is directed by Cypriot – and Karolos Koun pupil – Evis Gavriilidis, a director known for his artistic finesse and his sense of humor. In addition to undertaking the direction of «The Miser,» Gavriilidis was also approached by Diagoras Chronopoulos, the new director of the Technis Theater, and asked to broaden the celebrated theater’s horizons. Good cast «The Miser» stars Alexandros Mylonas in the lead role, alongside a cast that includes Marianthi Sondaki, Christina Koutsoudaki, Yiannis Kranas and Giorgos Tsimidis. «I staged the same play in Cyprus some 20 years ago,» said the director to Kathimerini. «The current production is not all that different from the earlier one; there are still eight constantly opening and closing doors.» Is this the way of farce? «It’s the way of comedy, in general. I treated the play in a slightly lighter way than a director who sees the miser, Harpagon, in a purely psychological light – as somebody who is stingy deep down,» noted Gavriilidis. «In the end, this lightness culminates in an opera scene, an opera parody, to be more precise. This musical surprise comes into play in the last quarter of the production – this being one of the major differences between the old production.» Why did the director opt for such an operatic finale? «Because I felt that the play’s dramatic development was rather operatic; a daughter, a son and a father suddenly appear on stage… «I worked on it as an opera, and that’s why we needed to have actors with good voices. And, above all, an experienced and talented composer such as French-bred Michalis Christodoulidis, who worked on Moliere extensively when he lived in Paris. «He wrote beautiful music – and lots of it. It’s not just the ‘opera’ in the end, there are more songs during the performance.» Why did the director go for a «lighter» tone, as opposed to digging into the text? «I believe that the play itself demands a lighter approach. After all, this is not ‘Le Tartuffe,’ with all its social criticism. My feeling is that in this case, Moliere was looking to make fun of the miser, not to judge him.» Old translation The play is based on an existing translation by Giorgos Simiriotis – «because of its pleasant smell of naphthalene,» according to the director – and adapted by Yiannis Varveris. The text is complemented by set and costumes beautifully executed by Yiannis Metzikoff. Theater Technis, 14 Frynihou, Plaka, tel 210.322.2464.

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