Aeschylia Festival opens Sunday

Rich and revamped, Elefsina’s annual end-of-summer Aeschylia Festival, held in honor of the ancient tragic poet Aeschylus, is about to kick off this Sunday. At yesterday’s press conference, Elefsina Mayor Giorgos Abatzoglou announced the program for this year’s event which will run to September 23. Held at the Former Oil Refinery, which was granted by the National Bank of Greece last summer, the festival will feature concerts and theater performances, screenings of ecological films, a day conference and art exhibitions. «Street Orchestra,» a performance full of dreamy film melodies and more by Evanthia Reboutsika and Panayiotis Kalantzopoulos with singers Elli Paspala, Iota Nega, Dilek Koc and Costis Maravegias, will mark the opening on Sunday. Further concerts will include an ethnic musical journey from Ireland and Spain across the Mediterranean to Cyprus and the Black Sea with Martha Frintzila on August 31, Greek rock by Stelios Botonakis and Endelecheia on September 8 as well as a closing concert of Greek rock, entechno and ballads by Nikos Portokalolgou on September 21. A concert by the ERT Greek Radio & TV Orchestra of Contemporary Music, under the baton of Andreas Pylarinos, scheduled to take place on September 15, has been postponed due to the elections. A new date will be announced soon. Theater lovers will not be overlooked. The Greek National Theater will stage Sophocles’ tragedy «Electra,» directed by Peter Stein and starring Karyofyllia Karabeti, Apostolis Totsikas and Stefania Goulioti, on September 2, while the Dryos Topoi company will present a double dance theater performance, «Wild Roses» and «Nekyia 3,» on September 7. Aristophanes’ comedy «Ecclesiazusae,» an Attiki Skini theater company production directed by Thanassis Theologis and starring Giorgos Partsalakis and Tassos Halkias, will go on stage on September 9 and «Vavylonia,» a 19th century Greek comedy, will be presented on September 23 instead of the initially scheduled 14, due to the elections. Young theater buffs will enjoy Kalliopi Papadaki’s children’s play «Home Alone» by the Thessaloniki-based Sofouli Theater on September 12, while those interested in deeper subjects might want to attend the one-day conference on the translation of ancient drama on September 1. Organized by the Desmoi center for ancient drama in collaboration with the Municipality of Elefsina, the conference will comprise introductions by theater experts Spyros Evangelatos, Costas Georgousopoulos, Lydia Koniordou and others, as well as recitations of texts. As Deputy Mayor Gavriil Kambanis explained, what makes this festival stand out is that it encompasses all aspects of art, since the organizers believe that all art forms can provide a better understanding of the world around us. Hence, a series of ecological documentaries, including Al Gore’s award-winning «An Inconvenient Truth,» will be screened September 4 to 6. Kalliopi Lemos’s sculpture installation «Crossing,» with derelict boats which once carried immigrants from Turkey to Greece, is on display for the second year running (it will then travel to Istanbul) and the National Museum of Contemporary Art will screen a series of performances and films by Rebecca Horn at the open-air cinema on Elefsina Beach. Elefsina, which recently hosted the 27th meeting of EASA (European Architecture Students Assembly), is an area of great interest as it enjoys a rich archaeological past (it was here that the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries, held in honor of the goddess Demeter, took place) but also carries the weight of industrial development. As both the mayor and the deputy mayor pointed out, great efforts have been made to rid the city of its reputation of being burdened with industrial pollution and turn it into a cultural center by promoting its mixed heritage. For information/tickets: Elefsina Municipality (Hadjidaki & Dimitros, tel 210.553.7304), Cultural Center (52 Pangalou, tel 210.554.8997).