CULTURE

Dimitris Myrat: Memories of a life lived on the stage

A costume is spread on a chair, a jacket rests on a hanger, while a few manuscripts and a pair of glasses lie on the floor. Theater memories are fresh in this artfully decorated dressing room dedicated to the late Dimitris Myrat (1918-1991), which was inaugurated at the Theater Museum on November 5. «This was something which had to be done; Dimitris Myrat was a great theater man, an artist who dedicated his life to the theater,» said Costas Asimakopoulos, president of the board of directors of the Theater Museum, to Kathimerini, during a private visit a few days before the opening. And so the dressing room exhibit showcases rare and beloved editions of ancient Greek authors (such as Plato); an ink box and an old fountain pen which Myrat enjoyed writing with; his watch; not to mention his brush and comb resting on a little table. On the right-hand side is a photograph of his father, Mitsos Myrat, while a collage of diplomas, awards and photos hang on the wall. In the center of the dressing room is a costume from a «Bullfighters Waltz» production at the Athens Theater, which Asimakopoulos chose to display together with a gift from the legendary Edwige Feuillere – a prop which the legendary French actress had used in a production of «The Madwoman of Chaillot» in Paris. On the floor are translations of plays, manuscripts and theater programs. In the background lie garments the actor wore before and after performances (including a dressing gown, a jacket and a pair of boots). «Dimitris Myrat was not just a brilliant actor, director and actor-theater company manager; he was also an intellectual with a broad classical education (one of the most prominent connoisseurs of Latin in this country) as well as a prolific writer,» said Asimakopoulos. Asimakopoulos noted that a number of important, formative years shaped Myrat’s life and career. Following a degree in literature from the University of Berlin, the aspiring actor attended the Max Reinhardt Drama School in Vienna. Myrat made his debut on stage as a member of the Marika Kotopouli theater company. The celebrated Greek actress was his aunt, and the gifted nephew rose to the company helm in 1950. Myrat also collaborated with the National Theater (1947-1950), under theater master Dimitris Rondiris («Oresteia,» «Cyrano de Bergerac» and «The Taming of the Shrew»). Finally, he established his own company together with his wife and fellow-actress Voula Zoumboulaki. Together they made the Athens Theater their home, staging countless plays such as Pirandello’s «Tonight We Improvise,» for which Myrat was awarded a prize at the International Festival in Lisbon, in 1964. Myrat also taught at the National Theater’s Drama School, while he was also appointed director of the Athens School of Music’s drama department.