Two different takes on the same poet’s verse

One places emphasis on the dramatic element, while the other on verse, in a performance of theatrical renditions of Yiannis Ritsos’s poetry at 260 Pireos in Tavros created by Dimitris Lignadis and Victor Ardittis – the former is staging the poet’s «Phaedra» as Ardittis tackles «When the Stranger Comes.» The formidable Karyofyllia Karabeti portrays a passionate Phaedra, defined by a childish temper, seductive allure, a penchant for conflict and emotional eruptions. A large table is set in the middle of the stage and a huge pile of unironed clothes represents her stagnant daily universe, shaken by an unconfessed longing for a young man. The venue was not at full capacity on opening night, yet the audience warmly applauded the first Ritsos monologue, which marked the opening of the Greek Festival on Monday evening. In less than an hour – the amount of time needed to change the sets – the audience returned to their seats for «When the Stranger Comes,» directed by Ardittis, who also starred alongside Akyllas Karazisis. This time, the sets represent Earth, decay and life, while the two men sit facing each other across a large table. They talk, wonder and recite the same verses in an effort to identify the stranger who has come to invade their lives, their pain. Lignadis succeeds in turning Ritsos’s monologue into a very contemporary piece in an ingenious way, by placing a young man and a computer on the stage, while Ardittis opts for the power of words. By highlighting the details of the sets and the overall atmosphere, his aim is to underline the poem’s content. Complementing the aforementioned monologues is a third, «The Moonlight Sonata,» directed by and starring Roula Pateraki. Performances run until tomorrow. For tickets, contact the Greek Festival box office at 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.327.2000.