Theater attacked and vandalized

Last weekend, we experienced both extremes of the political spectrum in downtown Athens. On the one hand, members of the extreme-right attacked immigrants in Omonia Square. On the other, extreme-leftists invaded a theater in Kerameikos and caused the cancellation of the show on Sunday. Michel Fais’s play «Yellow Dog» had been scheduled to premiere at the Apo Michanis Theater on Sunday, directed by Lilly Meleme and starring Alexia Kaltsiki. The play was inspired by the acid attack on union organizer Constantina Kuneva and, of the 12 scheduled performances, proceeds from the first and last shows would go to Kuneva. It should be noted that the Bulgarian general secretary of the Attica cleaners’ union had been told about the play and had given the show her go-ahead. But on the premiere night, about 30 people invaded the theater and vandalized it, causing serious damage to the sets and seating and distributing leaflets. «I tried to strike up a dialogue with them but it was impossible,» Fais told Kathimerini. «They spat at me, and pushed me and other colleagues away. They took the fire extinguisher and sprayed the interior of the theater as well as throwing paint on the seating. We had to cancel the premiere.» Among other things, the proclamations stated that an alternative title for the play should be «Killing Constantina Kuneva» and accused the play of embracing the state’s efforts to heal the wounds and rewrite history. Kuneva, with a letter to the playwright, stated the following: «Today’s society needs thought and dialogue. Art should be expressed freely. That is why Fais’s performances should continue.» Fais and his colleagues sent a press release stating that the act was an effort to destroy creativity and had left a stain on the play’s run. The Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA) press office condemned the attack. Fais and his crew have announced, however, that the shows will continue.