Show presents poet’s life and work

Imagine you are playing a board game, not on a table but in an entire house, with two pawns moving. The house is an abandoned listed building in Exarchia, at 23 Kountouriotou, which was the residence of poet Napoleon Lapathiotis. Every evening, 40 visitors fill the garden. «Heart with Bones,» a 100-minute performance staged by the Ochi Paizoume company, is a card game which presents the life and work of the eccentric writer. It mostly takes place in the yard’s more solid space, which has definitely seen better days: an outdoor staircase leading to the poet’s room. The game is enacted by actors Gina Thliveri, Tassos Karachalios and Christos Kanellopoulos and the spectators, against the sets of Yiannis Skourletis. It is a race between two pawn-actors: Hannibal, who moves in 28 minutes from the bottom of the staircase to the top and another pawn which the audience moves depending on the card they choose. «Wherever the second pawn stops, a text by Lapathiotis, representing his age according to the staircase’s step, is presented. We cut his age to 28 steps,» said Nikos Sachinis, who directed the performance. Sachinis is also the founder of the company, along with Christos Kanellopoulos, who compiled the texts, Irini Alexiou (who did the choreography), Costas Dalakouras, who wrote the music and Christina Thanassoula, who did the lights. All of them aged between 30 and 40, they left very good impressions from their very first appearance in 2004. Their first work, «The Seven Against Thebes Experiment,» was staged at the Vafeio Theater. Another production followed at the Altera Pars Theater last year and now «Heart with Bones» has been extended to July 16. «All of our work is based on alternative forms of theatrical expression,» said Sachinis, explaining the company’s identity. Their current production is interactive and takes place in a house; last year’s performance made use of the Altera Pars Theater warehouse and the audience had to change places during the show. «I am very interested in that, just as I am also interested in trying other things outside the company,» said Sachinis. «I am currently searching for my own artistic identity. I have not tied myself to a particular form of expression because I haven’t found one yet, but as a company we are interested in experimenting with space and theatrical conventions.» A varied audience attends the performances. «Some people are neighbors and know the neighborhood, while others know Lapathiotis’s work and are not prepared for such a show. There are also people not at all familiar with his work but who are interested in the adventurous undertaking.»

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