CULTURE

Different aspects of Shakespeare villain

“War, power and love: These are the issues that all great works deal with,» says director Vangelis Theodoropoulos. Ahead of tonight’s performance of «Othello,» which will be staged at the Herod Atticus Theater, ending this year’s Athens Festival, Theodoropoulos spoke about the director’s approach to classic masterpieces and the difficulties that lie in what seems simple. «Classic texts withstand time throughout the centuries since they can apply to every era. We saw ‘Othello’ from a purely romantic point of view and we entirely pushed aside the black humor that runs throughout the text. This does not mean that I made any huge changes, the play itself asked for it. You cannot present Iago as a mean man when no one has understood what kind of person he is, not even his wife, who exposes him in the end. No one was aware of his true colors until that point, which means that he must have been pleasant and that he had a sense of humor, though it served evil purposes. It is a kind of humor that we are not familiar with in Greece, but I did not want to focus on that. I wanted the tragic element, jealousy leading to murder, but he who is jealous also has a ridiculous side, which is obvious to those not directly involved. That is why Shakespeare is a great writer: He sees all aspects of human behavior.» How did you «read» Othello? I think I have a political perspective on life and that is how I interpret the works I read. In contemporary plays, I look for social, political and universal problems. In classic plays, those things exist anyway and what is important is to not ignore them. What other Shakespearean work would you like to stage? I don’t know. I always choose my projects according to the phase I am in and my own needs. I was led to «Othello» by «Woyzeck,» a play that has influenced me greatly. I first played that part 20 years ago and when I directed it, I thought I had closed that cycle. «Woyzeck» made me turn from acting to directing because I could not interpret any other part as well. I felt I was an actor of limited abilities, so I became a director, but then again I wanted to stage «Woyzeck.» Right when I thought that chapter had closed, I found out that the entire play was taken from «Othello.» What is interesting is that such a hard work like «Woyzeck» revealed to me a play that is not difficult for the spectators, «Othello.» The access was not easy. What was it like working with Dionysis Kapsalis’s translation? I don’t want to underestimate other translations. The difficulty in translating the text is to create another text that will flow in everyday language but at the same time will carry the poetic elements with it and remains true to verse, wherever it exists. It must also not be very analytical and descriptive. In the shows we have already staged, the audience commented on the nice language and they meant the translation. For ticket information, see What’s On.