OPINION

The Theatro Technis

It’s a known secret that theater subsidies had, for years, been more like a free meal distributed mostly to Athens-based theater companies on the basis of subjective criteria. Similarly, it is a known secret that each troupe’s share depended on the sentimental, personal ties, acceptance and recognition – usually in that order. The Karolos Koun Art Theater (Theatro Technis) has always claimed the lion’s share – and in a sense, rightly so. Koun endowed Greek theater with the impulse of creativity, diversity of choice and the freedom of expression – a plethora of precious and irreplaceable gifts. He forged new paths and created desires. His death mandated special treatment so that his Art Theater could survive the loss of its founder. Due to excessive dedication to his memory, insecurity and introversion on behalf of his descendants, the break was never made. As a result, the Art Theater struggled into its 16th year without its progenitor with good, mediocre and bad moments. All that time, it received steady and relatively generous funding, though signs of fatigue and weakness were visible to the public, critics, former and current collaborators. This widespread perception yesterday acquired official status. Mobilizing courage and boldness (it takes both, in this case), in announcing the new list of subsidies, the committee for theater subsidies did what it had to: It reduced funding to the Art Theater. Nothing reprehensible about this, of course. But one can’t help but feel sad, as if the curtain has fallen. This is a crucial time; the State is needed more than ever. Individuals are one thing, but institutions quite another. Karolos Koun was Greek theater’s original pioneer. Few symbols of modern culture have such history, duration and scope. Ephemeral ones come and go. As more and more people soliloquize on stage, the Art Theater provided a place to meet with others. Without it, the landscape will seem deserted.