Actor’s Day celebrated at Herod Atticus tonight

Memories of Greek theater’s history will fill the ancient theater of Herod Atticus tonight as this year’s Actor’s Day is dedicated to the romantic comedy genre. The celebration, which is taking place for the fifth consecutive year, is organized by the Greek Actors Guild. At the open-air theater, the evening includes a variety of events: «O Thanatos tou Perikleous» (The Death of Pericles), a play by Dimitrios Koromilas, a cinematic tribute to romantic comedies, popular songs by Theofrastos Sakellaridis, Mimis Plessas and Loukianos Kilaidonis, as well as speeches by actresses Eleni Gerasimidou and Lila Kafantari, Minister of Culture Giorgos Voulgarakis and theater critic Costas Georgousopoulos. In Greece the romantic comedy genre was born in turbulent times (1888-1914). It grew in the aftermath of the country’s defeat by the Turks in 1897 and went on to gain momentum at the time of the revolution in Goudi and Eleftherios Venizelos’s social reforms. The genre seemed to parallel the state’s efforts to implement a viable democracy. Even though it had started out as a type of French vaudeville, it developed into a genuinely local genre both in terms of subject matter and language. Greek romantic comedies of the period were emotionally driven but also displayed honesty and spontaneity. Behind a carefree, funny facade was a sense of sorrow. Without flattering their audiences, playwrights revealed what was wrong with the world through re-enactment. This kind of popular theater succeeded in linking the stage and the public. The plays combined singing and dancing with drama and comedy. Audiences were finally given the opportunity to witness a type of theater that spoke their own language. For tickets contact the Hellenic Festival box office, 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.327.2000. The performance begins at 8.30 p.m.