Vast choice for youngsters at Athens theaters

For any parent wishing to take the youngsters to a children’s theater, now that school’s out for the festive season, deciding on what to see is made complicated by the abundance of productions on offer. All in all, 45 children’s theaters of various styles are currently operating in the greater Athens region. The enormous range, both in terms of style and number, includes shadow theater, puppet theater, classics, modern Greek and musicals. Among the vast selection on offer lie several productions worth considering. «The Most Beautiful Story in the World,» written and directed by Vassilis Mavrogeorgiou, a young playwright whose work contains fresh immediacy, is now playing at the National Theater’s Children’s Theater (48 Panepistimiou, 210.330.5074). Set in a frozen northern kingdom, the play tells of a king who closely guards the most beautiful story in the world. Two determined storytellers turn up to hear it, but the king responds by informing both that they have three days to prove their worth – by writing a story – as spinners of tales. The winner is promised the «most beautiful story,» while the loser faces life imprisonment. After the three days pass, all gather at the king’s court to hear his verdict. By bringing East and West face to face, Mavrogeorgiou’s fairy tale encourages thought about cultural differences and similarities. On at the Porta Theater (59 Mesogeion, 210.771.1333) is «Rumpelstiltskin,» a wonderful play by Mike Kenny, a British writer of international renown. Written in a playful style, it offers scope for imaginative renditions on stage. The Porta Theater’s version is directed by Yiannis Moschos and translated by Xenia Kalogeropoulou. The story – already familiar to a great number of children – is that of the Miller’s daughter who must turn straw into gold. But here the tale is enriched by a chorus of mischievous fairies which gives a very odd and humorous touch to the story, which is one of lies and truth, of greed and honesty. But above all, it is about being able to name our fears. Orpheus searches on musical paths that will lead him to his love in the «Trails of Songs» at the Neos Kosmos Theater (7 Antisthenous & Tharypou, 210.921.2900). «Wooden Doll,» being staged at the Athens Theater (10 Voukourestiou, 210.331.2343) by the Magikes Svoures theater group, deals with the issue of prejudice which, in this story, is overcome by deep kindness. The Bios venue (84 Pireos, 210.342.5335) is offering «Italian Gardens,» a production directed by Dimitris Seitanis, while «Snow White» is the children’s offering at the Theatro Technis (14 Frynihou, Plaka, 210.322.2464). «Gorgona, Gorgonitsa,» a contemporary play written and directed by Emmanouela Kapokaki, is on at the Poreia Theater (3-5 Trikorfon, Victoria Sq, 210.821.0991). The Pallas Theater (5 Voukourestiou, 210.321.3100) will present two visiting productions tomorrow and Sunday. Tomorrow, Moscow’s Obraztsov Puppet Theater will present three performances of «Strange Concerto.» On Sunday, at the same venue, Prague’s National Black Light Theater will perform three shows of «Fantasy Travelers,» which features both «Gulliver’s Travels» and «Alice In Wonderland.»