CULTURE

Pittaki connects with Mrs Harrison

In recent years, the seasoned actress Rena Pittaki’s career has enjoyed something of a revival, the latest example being her role in Richard Alfieri’s play «Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks,» currently being staged at the Ilissia-Volanakis Theater with Petros Zoulias as director. Ethereal, stylish, fresh and tuned into the role’s finer nuances, her performance is both touching and humorous. Besides the impressive delivery by Pittaki, as well as that of her co-star Constantinos Kappas, the production captivates theatergoers with its simple story. It tells of Lily Harrison, a lonely retired lady who, despite her advanced years, remains graceful, attractive and slim, and Michael Minetti, a far younger man who offers her a short series of dance lessons. Their personalities initially clash. She is straight-laced and he is a former Broadway chorus dancer. But the two soon let their guard down and grow to be true friends. Through conflict and interaction the dance instructor, a homosexual who happens to be just as lonely and dejected, manages to untie a knot in his student’s soul that has deprived her of joy in life. In doing so, he too finds freedom as a result of the warm new presence in his life. The play has proven popular in a number of countries, including Greece. Pittaki attributes the appeal to the plot’s fundamental aspect, that of hope. «Its theme, which has to do with hope, is its driving force,» noted the actress. «It pertains to what people need… one more good moment, one more dance, one more sunset. Or, that a meeting beyond expectations and specifications is possible.» The lead actress admitted feeling concern that the play – being based heavily on emotion – may have turned out melodramatic. «The second part – when the details of their respective lives are disclosed – definitely heads toward being melodramatic, and not just in a minor way,» said Pittaki. «But we did some editing of the text there with the director, the objective being to promote the play’s nucleus in a purer way,» she continued. Pittaki said she felt a connection with Lily, the character she plays. «At some point Lily says: ‘It’s difficult to be alone, but for me its even more difficult to be with people. I feel awkward and each word I utter seems ridiculous. I’m not spontaneous.’ I’m not saying that I’m like that to that extent. I’ve always been somewhat shy, but that’s contracted over the years,» said Pittaki. «Theater has helped me a lot with this because through my work I found a way to open up more as a person. Like Mrs Harrison, who found an opportunity through dance.» Pittaki spoke favorably of Kappas, her co-star. «Starting off with his character, he’s a very good young man. And as for his acting, he’s a good listener, the result being what you see on stage,» the actress remarked. «Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks» is attracting capacity crowds. «Some come and see it for a second time,» Pittaki noted, «because it provides them with joy and optimism.» Ilissia-Volanakis Theater, 4 Papadiamantopoulou, Ilissia, tel 210.721.0045.