Carefree, footloose and on a determined mission

Even on the phone you can tell she’s a great combination of both her parents. Katerina Evangelatou, the daughter of stage director Spyros Evangelatos and the late actress Leda Tassopoulou, is restless, footloose and enthusiastic. She is talented and feisty, and beautiful to boot. After making her directorial debut on a commission from the National Theater’s Experimental Stage, she has now packed her bags and moved to the Amphitheater, her father’s acclaimed theater. He dreams of bringing a new, younger, audience into the family business, without making a lifetime commitment to the company. Emergency Entrance, a new stage inaugurated recently near the fire exit on the upper level of the Amphitheater, is there to serve her purposes. It seats an audience of just 40 and can be made bigger according to the needs of each production. Although this was her own experimental brainchild, Evangelatou says that does not mean she will be the only person directing there. «La morte amoureuse,» a story written in 1836 by Theophile Gautier, is her second stab at stage directing. Written in the style of Romanticism, it tells the dark tale of a young priest who falls in love with a prostitute who is, in fact, a vampire. «He meets her in church on the day of his consecration and she changes his life forever, since she lives in two separate realities,» explains Evangelatou. «When he wakes up in the morning, he’s a priest, and at night, when he goes to bed, he hallucinates that he is a young nobleman living a life of debauchery, orgies and gambling in a huge palazzo in Venice. It is the story of huge, unrequited love.» Evangelatou explains how she spent a full year looking for a play before she turned to literature – a passion of hers – for inspiration. «I may have been influenced by my teacher Titika Nikiforaki, who conducted groundbreaking classes on dramatizing poetry and literature at the National Theater School.» When she found the Gautier story, several people told her it was a narrative and could not be staged, but she persisted in her idea. «We have split the narrative among all the actors – Stefania Goulioti, Tassos Dardaganis, Christos Malakis and Nikolas Papayiannis – and I think we came up with something interesting,» she says. Of course, she had to go through her father first in choosing the play. «I never took it for granted that I would get to do whatever I liked. He was the first to point out the difficulties of the text, but he also encouraged me to go ahead with it.» The theater was not her first choice of profession. «I used to organize plays with my cousins when I was a kid. Then, in middle school, I went into complete denial and wanted to study philosophy. I got into Athens University and studied music at the same time. But I was disappointed by the overall climate at Athens University and decided to attend auditions for the National Theater School in my second year, when I was 19. It all fell into place after that,» she says. After graduating from the drama school, she was auditioned by Stathis Livathinos, director of the National Theater’s Experimental Stage, and made the cut. She stayed with the company for two years before receiving a scholarship that took her to London and Moscow for further studies. Wowed by the Russian capital, she decided to go back once she learned the language, which she did in a crash course before returning to Moscow for a year and a half. She has also been an actress, appearing in three plays at the Amphitheater (one with her mother, in «Medea») and another three at the Experimental Stage. She doesn’t exclude acting, but explains that right now, she is «more drawn to directing.»

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