Peter Stein’s ‘Electra’ to open at Epidaurus

A collaboration with distinguished theater director Peter Stein was one of the last wishes of late Greek National Theater director Nikos Kourkoulos. This desire turned into reality, due to the persistence of Kourkoulos’s successor Yiannis Houvardas, hence Sophocles’ tragedy «Electra» will go on stage at the Ancient Theater of Epidaurus this Friday and Saturday, under the direction of Stein. Recently, Stein and almost all of the production’s participants (except for actor Yiannis Fertis) got together in the foyer of the National Theater’s main Kotopouli stage and spoke about this «great experience.» National Theater deputy director Effie Theodorou was present, as Houvardas happened to be in Denmark, as was Giorgos Loukos, the Hellenic Festival’s artistic director, because this will be the first joint collaboration between the National Theater and the Hellenic Festival (the company that organizes the Athens and Epidaurus festivals). It also marks the beginning of a series of collaborations between the Epidaurus Festival of Ancient Drama and foreign artists. «We were in Nikos Kourkoulos’s office along with Dionysis Fotopoulos,» said Loukos, «when Nikos mentioned how much he would like to work with a director of Peter Stein’s caliber.» Loukos then contacted Stein in Lyon, where he was at the time, and made the suggestion. «Nikos’s successor, Yiannis Houvardas, supported the idea with great enthusiasm.» The actors spent a month of exhausting rehearsals at the director’s estate in Italy. Actor Apostolos Totsikas, who plays Orestes, had described Stein as a big child who taught his actors meaningful things through simple procedures. At the press conference, the director lived up to that impression with his sense of humor, smile and approachability. He talked a lot about the work he did on the text (which included the original, since he knows Ancient Greek) and put great emphasis on the role of the Chorus. He also elaborated on the importance of Electra’s state of mind and analyzed the term «hysterical» regarding the title character’s feelings. Karyofylia Karabeti, who plays Clytemnestra, a dark woman who is in love and evokes great feelings of passion, was present as well. Talking about her role, she described Clytemnestra as a complex woman, highly passionate but at the same time focused on her strategy. Further participants include actors Yiannis Fertis, Lazaros Georgakopoulos, Miltos Sotiriadis and Kora Karvouni. The sets and costumes have been designed by Dionysis Fotopoulos and the music is by Alessandro Nidi. The choreography is by Lia Tsolaki and the lighting by Japhy Weideman. Hellenic Festival box office: 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.327.2000.