OPINION

Commentary

Theater, women, drinking: The three passions to which Costas Hatzichristos devoted himself, enjoying art and life in large, satisfying and venturesome doses. With equal generosity he offered the public laughter, inventing characters and creating roles from just a few lines. His life story was full of action, movement and a variety of choices. He communicated with the public in a relaxing way. He was a giving person, who had direct contact with the public. He listened to them and responded. His Thymios, the peasant who comes to the capital, was born of a carefully cultivated instinct (and set a standard for a whole generation of comedians). Carrying his walking stick and simple bag, he invaded the nominally urbanized Athenian society, revealing it and himself. He is the provincial in Omonia that Dionysis Savvopoulos sang of two decades later, but less embarrassed, better-intentioned and more genuine. For the Thymios of Costas Hatzichristos had just arrived in a city that was receiving an influx of internal migration. He had a wider audience which not only understood but also laughed at his expressions and his uncultured speech because it released the pressure of the, as yet, unassimilated comparison with the capital. Made in their image and likeness, Thymios stopped them from being embarrassed about their provincial accents. He made people show their innocence, even their naivete, their ignorance about things and the Athenian codes of behavior in order to survive. And not only that. He urged them to excel, to raise their voices and eyebrows, to impose their own dialect as an official and recognized language. The Thymios type is crafty, a bit of a tough guy, coquettish and with a great talent for survival. Made from country ingredients and shaped among crowds, used to hard times, he experienced all the ups and downs. Costas Hatzichristos was a unique provincial not only because of his personal experience (born in Thessaloniki, lived in Athens) but because he was an extroverted, exuberant, genuine person. And at the same time he was a comedian by instinct, movement and observation. He gave fully of himself. And we already miss that.