A waking beauty, a French dancer and rock music

For the first time, the Hellenic Festival has paid particular attention to children, by including in its program more performances than just the usual Greek National Theater and National Opera productions. After last weekend’s performances by the Italian Teatro Kismet, Xenia Kalogeropoulou’s Mikri Porta Theater will present «Sleeping Beauty Woke Up,» based on the classic fairy tale «The Sleeping Beauty,» Friday to Sunday at the Porta Theater. «It all started when I read a collection of fairy tales by Italo Calvino,» said director Thomas Moschopoulos. «That is where I discovered that the orginial version is different to the one by the Grimm brothers, namely that Sleeping Beauty was awoken with a kiss by a prince. On the contrary, lots of things happen, some of them quite rough. The story does not end where we thought it did, but goes on. That stimulated us to create our own version.» «Sleeping Beauty wakes up in this day and age,» he continued. «For some time now, we wanted, with Xenia Kalogeropoulou, to do something on overprotected children, the children that grow up in a bubble because of their parents’ justified or unjustified fears. When the time comes for them to face real life, they are not at all equipped and that is when the fairy tale ends for them, with huge emotional stress. That is how I got to thinking about what it would be like if Sleeping Beauty woke up today, in a world full of mobile phones, television, highways and airplanes. We kept the medieval motif that when she wakes up the prince is gone and she takes off to find him, but she does so in a modern city.» Moschopoulos said the story is child-friendly, even with the modifications. «Children can understand the story, not logically but emotionally, subconsciously,» he said. «Fairy tales, after all, are nothing more than stories about becoming adults and children usually identify with the heroes, especially when there is an element of disobedience. In this case, the young girl enters the locked room which is forbidden to her, and then she is pricked by the spindle and falls asleep.» According to Moschopoulos, the sets and costumes (designed by Elli Papageorgakopoulou) remain faithful to the fairy tale but include modern elements and the same applies to the music; compositions by Ravel and Faure adapted by Nikos Vittis. «To achieve this emphasis, we did not write the text straight away but only created a structure and then started improvising on it with the actors and with the help of Martha Kloukina,» he said. «The improvisations brought out more things which gave the script a different turn and changes may still take place.» The performance stars Ioanna Pappa as Sleeping Beauty, Thodoris Petropoulos, Pantelis Dentakis, Iliana Gaitani, Dafni David, Thanos Tokakis and Vicky Hadzopoulou. The premiere will take place tomorrow night and the other three performances are at 5 p.m. on Saturday and at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday. For tickets, call the Hellenic Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.327.2000.

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