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Music theatre

KOLOKOTRONIS CONTEMPLATING THE FUTURE WOMEN PREPARING FOR THE REVOLUTION AND I'LL BE THINKING OF SOMETHING 

Michail Marmarinos, Akillas Karazisis

124'

From to

Description

The new production directed by Michail Marmarinos and Akillas Karazisis is coming exclusively to GNO TV for a limited time, from 18 June to 18 July 2021. The production, part of the 2021 bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, is commissioned by the GNO Alternative Stage and involves a high-profile artistic team led by directors / performers Michail Marmarinos and Akillas Karazisis as well as noted composer Antonis Anissegos.

Via the means of a theatrical language where stage and sonic elements are intertwined in unpredictable and novel ways, the new production by Michail Marmarinos and Akillas Karazisis sets out to approach the Greek War of Independence as a field of constant critique and self-critique, thus putting forth a dramatic treatment at once playful, poetic and historically informed.

Filmed at the GNO Alternative Stage at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center on 17, 18, 19 and 20 March 2021. Greek and English subtitles available

This production and the creation of GNO TV are made possible through a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org] that supports the Greek National Opera’s artistic outreach.

The Greek War of Independence has often been seen as the beginning of the modern Greek state’s tribulations. Critique of the national narrative bolstering the revolutionary struggle that began in 1821 was part and parcel of the process of its formation. The Greek War of Independence was not implemented by a uniform and cohesive front, as is evident from the fate of the revolutionary heroes, many of whom met with derision and condemnation during their lifetime, the disputes between factions and the rivalries among the Great Powers; rather, it was constituted by many different approaches, which led to a commensurate proliferation of narratives.

Critique (of opponents, of Others, of companions) is a constituent part of the modern Greek state. This agonistic as well as antagonistic dimension of the Revolution and its reception in the continuum of modern Greece is accentuated by this commission to directors / performers Michail Marmarinos and Akillas Karazisis and their valuable collaborators by the GNO Alternative Stage. Their new project creates a bold, diverse and creative paradigm, that develops by recovering lived experience from past evidence. Lived experience of dead people and of perished human collectivities, into which only performative reconstitution can breathe new life.

In the production
Kolokotronis Contemplating the Future
Women Preparing for the Revolution
and I’ll Be Thinking of Something
Michail Marmarinos and Akillas Karazisis bear witness to faraway persons, events and locations in the present tense. Onstage, they collect “slices of life” coming from another time and represent them in the theatrical “now”. They emphasise successful and unsuccessful attempts of encountering the past and present onstage the discoveries of their “excavations”. They treat their material like sketches or unfinished canvasses, that demand the intervention of live participants in order to be completed, commented upon or given meaning. The actors present onstage, with their voices, bodies and being, fill the historical revelations with living colour, formulating their own version of the genealogy of the present.

A stage work made out of thoughts and ideas, narrations and songs, poetry, dance and painting, faces and bodies, light and sound – out of what is enunciated and displayed.

Among other things, the production uses the received texts of the era as evidence of a “multilingual” reality. Here is an unruly, rich body of material, written in all kinds of dialects and languages and constituting an immediate, synchronous reaction to the historical events.

Composer Antonis Anissegos, who, during the performance, was constantly trying out new ideas on piano and electronics, attempting to “re-act” in an improvisatory way to what happened onstage, comments: “The role of the music in the show is something we discovered every day from scratch, always following the narrative and content. In our case, we had a very charged, complex and enormous theme. The production’s music is rather focused in its psychological and emotional aspects. At the same time, it converses with the actors’ musicality and inner rhythm. The collaboration with the directors, as well as the actors, was ideal. A mental red carpet was laid out on our rehearsal space – everyone was welcome to contribute to the work’s creation, to try out our ideas. Each one of us had the option to influence the development of a scene. Other ideas were born during the breaks, when we were simply ‘jamming’. Finally, the two directors composed a narrative out of the processed material.”

Trailer

At a glance – Synopsis

Dancing in interior landscape with stove.

Notebook 1: The place and its inhabitants.

Mountains in front of us.

Klephts / Armatoloi
Wolves guarding the sheep from wolves
and Ali Pasha’s school (sadistic Enlightenment).

Who is speaking?
Identity of the narrative.

Notebook 2: In the constellation of names

Servicemen / Foreign-born / The clans
Names and attributes.

Notebook 3: The Lumières

An attic in Odessa. The oath of the Filiki Eteria.
The text: Hellenic Nomarchy.

Notebook 4: Battles

Winter, spring, summer of 1821
Victories, defeats, reprisals.

INTERRUPTION – Sudden appearance of the body of History (Angelus Novus)

Training of the Philhellenes.
Battle and crushing defeat at Peta.

Notebook 5: Economy of violence

WOMEN AFTER THE BATTLE / painting

The invention of Tsamiko.
Siege of Tripolitsa. The massacre.
Dancing.
Fragments from Solomos set to music by Mantzaros.
School / The national narrative.

PHRASES UTTERED BY DEAD PEOPLE

Clothing ourselves in the words of the Heroes (and putting on their tsarouchia).
VORTEX

INTERRUPTION / CIVIL WAR / DISCUSSION / CIVIL WAR / COFFEE HOUSE / CIVIL WAR

Outside

THE MOTHERLAND FORGOTTEN IN A CORNER
AND I’LL BE THINKING OF SOMETHING / painting

Notebook 6: Missolonghi

Two attempts at reciting fragments from the Free Besieged.
(Clothing myself in the poem)

Missolonghi / Starvation

Little dance of father / daughter

Missolonghi / Exodus

Big dance

Notebook 7: The summer that never came

Summer of 1816
Byron, Shelley, Mary Shelley, Claire Clairmont and the physician Polidori at a Swiss summer residence.
Incessant rain.
During the night, horror stories are told.
Morning:
Claire’s room. Byron puts on a record. He dances.
Claire smokes.
All dance.
Later: a brief death rehearsal.

SOME OF THE THOUSAND DEAD OF THE REVOLUTION AND A LITTLE ROCK / painting

Throughout, a girl, festively dressed, watches, listens and writes or draws something in a notebook.

storylines
the little branch

Creative team – Cast

Stage directors Michail Marmarinos, Akillas Karazisis
Dramaturgs Akillas Karazisis, Michail Marmarinos
Music Antonis Anissegos
Set designer Kenny MacLellan
Costume designer Kathrin Krumbein
Lighting designer Alekos Anastasiou

Assistant director Katerina Kalochristianaki
Assistant costume designer Ifigeneia Daoudaki
Lighting assistants Harris Dallas, Nafsika Christodoulakou
Production manager Rena Andreadaki
Executive producer Katerina Liatsou

Performers Lambros Grammatikos, Akillas Karazisis, Evangelia Karakatsani, Ektoras Lygizos, Electra Nikolouzou, Marios Sarantidis, Maria Skoula
Guest Michail Marmarinos
Also featuring Mary Karazisi

Antonis Anissegos (piano, electronics)

Video director, post-production Konstantinos Arvanitakis
English translation Robin Beer

Director's note

Histories and History

Repulsion for official History is fundamental.

Education and national narratives have taken care of that.

On the contrary, thirst for oral or written accounts, paralipomena, evidence, in a word: for fragmentary History –histories– is immense.

This is our material and our method.

That History may open itself to fiction.

That it may function uninhibitedly as a psychotropic substance, transporting us (almost physically) outside the barrier of self-evident and self-fulfilling reception.

By clothing ourselves in the words and clothes of the heroes and authors, we attempt (sometimes awkwardly, timidly) to explore the possibility of a stealthy entry into the root of impression, the point where the past becomes an expanded present.

That is sufficient. For us, for History, for the theatre.


P.S. Something for their breathing:

To the very edge I was going,
to the river’s edge a-flowing
I find the hair of Nasos there,
from Nasos’ head, I find his hair

In my lap I gather it
– Hair, where’s your head?
Braids, your body?
– Black birds took it

(klepht song)


– Akillas Karazisis, Michail Marmarinos

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