A peep into the heart of theater

How does it feel to stand on stage, right in the spotlight? What is the first thing actors do as soon as they enter their dressing room? What is this magical world called theater and what do we know about it? These are a few of the questions answered in «Theater: An Art of the Arts,» an exhibition which opened at the Foundation of the Hellenic World’s cultural center yesterday. The show is a lively journey into the history of theater and the raw materials that go into making it: lights, props, costumes, texts and, of course, all its faithful followers both on and off stage. The exhibition features an educational side as well, as it is held in parallel to a series of specially designed programs for children and the young – though without excluding adults. The programs began back in December and are scheduled to continue for the next two years at least. «Our aim is for visitors to begin to love the theater and to become a better and more curious audience, more critical, in the positive sense,» said Yiannis Paschalidis, the show’s curator. At the foundation, the displays begin with references to playwrights and theatrical movements, dating from ancient Greek drama to the present. «The main area is covered by a large table where visitors become acquainted with the history of Western theater. On the surrounding walls are photographs of actors and teachers, while familiar works and parts are presented through texts and costumes,» said Paschalidis, adding that smaller thematic units are also developed throughout the show. The first unit, architecture, is explored with five models. «Visitors take a look at ancient Greek theater, Roman theater, Renaissance theater – as developed through Shakespeare’s Globe Theater – the Italian scene (a typical example of this movement is the Corfu Municipal Theater which was built as a replica of Milan’s La Scala) as well as contemporary theater, a good example of which is the Technis Theater on Frynichou Street, where the entire stage is visible from all around and where the audience has to cross the stage in order to get to their seats,» noted Paschalidis. Other units include set design (with sketches and models by set designers), costumes, music, make-up as well as masks and puppet theater. To add to the theatrical character of the event, the exhibition is lit with colorful spotlights. The highlights of the exhibition is when visitors find themselves on stage, standing, watching (through screens) or listening to great actors perform. «What’s interesting, when it comes to the educational programs, is giving the young the opportunity to create their own performance,» said Paschalidis. «We offer them instructions and divide them into groups. Some act, some direct and some come up with the stage design. Our aim? To add a fresh look into theater’s magical world.» Foundation of the Hellenic World, 254 Pireos, Tavros, tel 210.483.5300.

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