CULTURE

Three new theaters in Athens

Three theaters opening their doors in downtown Athens this November are expected to enliven the nightlife of a downtown area instead known for the bustle of its daytime activities. The city center’s City Link (formerly the Army Pension Fund building on the Voukourestiou-Stadiou-Panepistimiou block) encompasses not two, but three theaters. There the Pallas and the Aliki theaters, both recently refurbished and upgraded technologically. There is also the Mikro Pallas (Little Pallas), a venue currently under construction on the premises of the former Spartakos club. The latter, not as small as its provisional name suggests, has 400 seats. The first production to take place here will be a play by actor/playwright Thodoris Atheridis. The 1,500-seat Pallas theater has already undergone an extensive makeover. Its core remains intact because the theater is listed for preservation, but the once-neglected venue now gleams. Its new, state-of-the-art machinery will help in staging contemporary theater, music and dance productions. This new chapter in the theater’s life will open with «2,» a production by Dimitris Papaioannou, the first following the Athens 2004 Olympics. In «2,» which was created by Papaioannou and his all-male, 22-member dance troupe, interpreters use few words and are constantly on the move. «The performance features only men as its subject is the male,» Papaioannou said. «The music, original and sensational, was composed by Constantinos Beta. The production’s highlight is its music. Sets were designed by Lili Pesanou, costumes by Angelos Mendis and Maria Ilia, lighting by Eleftheria Deko and videos by Athina Tsangari – in other words, the entire team of the Olympic ceremonies.» The production opens at the end of November. Following a major facelift, the imposing stage of the theater that once belonged to Aliki Vouyiouklaki is now much smaller, with only 500 seats. «Few seats and a grand-scale and costly production mean that this better become a huge success – attracting hundreds of people – otherwise the producers will end up in jail,» quipped playwright Michalis Reppas. (The producer is Elliniki Theamaton, a company that has undertaken the activities of all three theaters and is financing all productions). Indeed, the new Reppas-Papathanasiou musical, «Cinecitta,» written and directed by the popular play/screenwrighting duo, features music by Aphroditi Manou and demands no fewer than 21 artists on stage, not to mention an impressive collection of set and costume designs. Leading the cast are Jessy Papoutsi, Maria Kavoyianni, Costas Koklas and Christos Mantakas. The sets were designed by Giorgos Gavalas, the costumes by Evelyn Sioupi, the choreography was undertaken by Fokas Evangelinos and the lighting by Lefteris Pavlopoulos. The idea for the musical stems from its creators’ passion for the world of Federico Fellini. «What makes us narrate stories and who ultimately makes up these stories? Is it life or is it art?» wondered Reppas. Next to the Aliki, the new Little Pallas theater has now metamorphosed into a multi-faceted, amphitheatrical venue designed by Giorgos Gavalas and Thodoris Atheridis. Atheridis is still working on the play that will inaugurate the new stage. So far, all that is certain is that besides Atheridis, the new comedy will star Antonis Loudaros, Smaragda Karydi, Elisavet Constandinidi and Christos Plainis. The play is scheduled to open in late November or early December at the latest.