‘Romeo and Juliet’ staged in the era of online love

Miltos Sotiriadis’s first foray into directing theater is Shakespeare’s «Romeo and Juliet.» To many who know him, his choice of what is perhaps the most popular and tragic love story of all time came as no surprise. Sotiriadis also took the somewhat bold step of testing himself first at his parents’ theater; his work is being staged at Vangelis Theodoropoulos and Koralia Sotiriadou’s Neos Cosmos Theater. The young director is joined by an equally young cast, his classmates from the Greek National Theater. «We are not a group and this is not something that will automatically continue afterward. We were brought together by age and our common communication code,» said Sotiriadis. He described his mise en scene as minimal. «It carries the perspective of our age and of the times in which we live. It does not have many contemporary elements, but you wouldn’t call it a classical staging. It is a combination of the two. This is the most well-known love story for this generation of 20-year-olds.» At 22, when Sotiriadis hears what some say about his generation, that there is no flirting or communication, he dismisses it as sheer provocation. «Of course we have certain characteristics: We are overloaded kids who have no free time, from the moment we go to school and even later at university. Even our cell phones make us different. This electronic communication and flirting does not weaken love, there are always ways. For instance we communicate via SMS. I have fallen in love through my cell phone, e-mails, from a distance. Now, how can our generation communicate with this play? The play is about a chance love affair between two young people, in a difficult world. It is also about a hasty decision. They both managed to stop what they felt before it wore off. We are trying to create a love affair, but not a big one. The production has a lyrical setting, not a divine one. We didn’t try to create characters; instead we tried to find common ground with the characters.» Hence, this will be «Romeo and Juliet» with a «human dimension.» The fact that Sotiriadis is directing his play in the family theater does not have a calming effect on him and he explained that although he may feel secure on a conscious level, subconsciously he is insecure. «There are always two sides to a coin,» he said. It is the same with theater: He is interested in it, he studied it, but he does not restrict himself to acting. «I also want to study theater direction. What is certain is that I will never again play in one of my productions, because you lose from every aspect. You don’t see yourself and you get caught up in a mess.» Sotiriadis’s next move will be to study direction in London next September. «Romeo and Juliet» is translated by Dionysis Kapsalis and features sets and costumes designed by Constantinos Zamanis. Cecile Mikroutsikou is movement coach and the music is by Stavros Gasparatos. The play features Dimitris Antoniou, Spyros Kyriazopoulos, Maria Beligianni, Michalis Titopoulos, Stelios Hliaras and Miltos Sotiriadis. Neos Cosmos Theater, 7 Antisthenous & Tharypou, Neos Cosmos, tel 210.921.2900