Athens Festival draws to a close

The Athens Festival is drawing the curtain on the Herod Atticus Theater Monday with a Neos Cosmos Theater production of Shakespeare’s tale of love and betrayal, «Othello.» The play’s director, Vangelis Theodoropoulos, and translator Dionysis Kapsalis were present Wednesday at the last press conference to be held by the festival. The translator took the floor first, thanking the director for giving him the opportunity to tackle this demanding piece of writing. «This translation was something of a painful experience and though I can talk about my ideal translation – which I am afraid I have not attained – I cannot tell you about the overall end result. We must remember that Shakespeare wrote in verse. He creates a kind of rhythmic environment, a constant background of meter that does not come to the fore. The translator must invite the verse into his own language but must also avoid becoming tedious with it. Basically, the words need to be clean and clear,» he said, adding, «If you take away the pleasure of the verse from these texts, you have nothing left.» Theodoropoulos also commented on the translation, a very significant part of the production. «I wanted a poet to do the translation,» said the director. «This translation proved to be a valuable tool for us. The actors found it easy at times and hard at others, but they enjoyed it very much.» He also discussed the subtitle of the play, «The Moor of Venice,» in order to draw attention to Shakespeare’s intention of highlighting that his lead character was a foreigner. «Othello is a star and Iago is a racist fascist, in modern terms. He has an ideology. He is not evil for the sake of being evil. And Desdemona, she’s a courageous woman.» Humor in tragedy Theodoropoulos also noted that Shakespeare had written the role of Iago to be played by one of his comic actors. «The play does have humor, black humor, and Iago is the character who draws in the audience and makes it an accessory to his humor. But the play is also a tragedy of love.» The sets and costumes for the production were designed by the acclaimed Angelos Mendis. The choreography is by Angeliki Stellatou, the music by Theodoros Abazis and Stavros Gasparatos and the cast is led by Emilios Heilakis in the title role, Gerasimos Gennatas as Iago and Athina Maximou as Desdemona.