William Shakespeare’s «King Lear» opened at the Kotopouli Stage last Friday, introducing prominent actor Dimitris Katalifos in a collaboration with the National Theater and returning a rising director from Skopje to center stage. «Following the opening of two stages, the ‘Experimental’ and ‘New’ stages, we now come to a third one, one of the major curtain raisers in recent years,» said Nikos Kourkoulos, the National Theater’s director, at a press conference last week. «King Lear» is directed by Slobodan Unkovski, a director from Skopje, who noted that «this production focuses on man and his destiny, his desires and the consequences of his decisions.» Unkovski gained recognition in Greece after his work «The Fourth Sister» was staged at the National Theater two years ago. Unkovski says «King Lear» touches on many issues. «I was intrigued by the idea of how a contemporary playwright would read it, take Strindberg, for instance,» he said. «Practically, there is no connection in terms of a time frame. I follow Lear, his way to maturity, through all the trials he encounters. He is a king, or rather a man, who had everything and then lost it all.» «King Lear» returns to the National Theater for the fourth time in the history of company, following productions in 1938-40 (directed by Dimitris Rondiris and featuring Aimilios Veakis) and in 1957-1958 (directed and starring Alexis Minotis). Twenty years later Minotis staged the play once again, very successfully. «This is such a modern play, not at all historical or old-fashioned. My feeling and my wish is that it can touch those Greeks who will come to see the performance,» Katalifos said. Collaborating with Slobodan Unkovski are Meta Hocevar on the set design, Vassilis Dimitriou on music composition and Antonis Panayiotopoulos on lighting. Besides Katalifos, the cast includes Lazaros Georgakopoulos, Ieronimos Kaletsanos, Maria Nafpliotou and Vassilis Charalambopoulos. National Theater, Kotopouli Stage, 48 Panepistimiou, tel 210.330.5074.