Patrice Chereau to read Dostoevsky text in Athens

Whatever he does, distinguished French actor-director Patrice Chereau told the press in Athens yesterday, it’s all about telling a story. Chereau, known for his innovative work in theater, opera and cinema, was in town to talk about his upcoming reading of Dostoevsky at the National Opera for the Attiki Cultural Society. «Whether I’m working with actors or singers, I always do the same job,» he said. «The techniques are different in opera, theater and cinema, but the essence is the same.» Chereau chose to read the famous story of the Grand Inquisitor from «The Brothers Karamazov,» when he realized that it functioned as a self-contained story. Judging by his enthusiasm for the text, it sounds as if he expects to enjoy the event as much as his audience will. He spoke of the «supreme pleasure» of giving a reading, of devoting himself to the text without the responsibilities of preparing a performance or a film. He said it would be «more than a reading and less than a performance.» Certainly it is an opportunity for Athenian audiences to watch a noted man of the theater come to grips with a remarkable text. Insisting that he himself is not an actor, but a director, Chereau explained that what mattered to him above all else was the story, to put across the message of the text. But as a director he is very close to his actors. «I get so close,» he said, «that sometimes they complain they can’t breathe. I could never be like the director I once heard shouting ‘More emotion!’ at an actor, from the back row of the theater, or those directors who watch rehearsals on a monitor in another room.» March 3-4, 8.30 p.m. Olympia Theater, 59 Academias, tel 210.361.2725. In French with Greek subtitles.