Efthimis Filippou / Angeliki Papoulia / Christos Passalis / Ictus
Michail Marmarinos, Akillas Karazisis
A while before 2021 comes to an end, the Greek National Opera presents three productions created as part of the tribute to the 2021 bicentennial of the Greek Revolution for free on GNO TV, from December 10 through December 20. The programme includes the double bill of opera and dance Despo – Greek Dances that was presented in the Stavros Niarchos Hall of the GNO, the production Kolokotronis Contemplating the Future Women Preparing for the Revolution and I’ll Be Thinking of Something that was presented on the Alternative Stage, and a remarkable commission from the GNO Learning & Participation Department that will now make its debut, the video dance festival Miniatures for Revolution. The programme, part of a tribute to the 2021 bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, is made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org].
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.”
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.
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).
INTERRUPTION / CIVIL WAR / DISCUSSION / CIVIL WAR / COFFEE HOUSE / CIVIL WAR
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
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.
During the night, horror stories are told.
Claire’s room. Byron puts on a record. He dances.
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.
the little branch
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
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
– Akillas Karazisis, Michail Marmarinos
Akillas Karazisis Stage director, dramaturg
He was born in Thessaloniki, in 1957. He studied in Germany. Since 1985, he has worked as an actor in theatrical productions in Greece and in Germany. He cooperated with directors such as Yannis Houvardas, Michail Marmarinos, Victor Ardittis, Nikos Hatzopoulos, Dimitris Karantzas, Argyro Chioti, Alexandros Efklidis, Milo Rau, Karin Henkel, Albrecht Hirche, Heiner Goebbels, Thomas Moschopoulos etc. Since 2006, he has directed for various theatres in both Greece and Germany, such as National Theatre of Greece, Greek National Opera, Landestheater Tübingen (LTT), Landestheater Altenburg etc.
Antonis Anissegos Music, piano, electronics
He has been living as a composer, pianist, improviser and electronic musician (alias “unu”) in Berlin since 1998. He participated in concerts in Europe, Asia, USA and Central America.
Anissegos is a member or regular guest at the Ensemble Adapter, Ensemble European Music Project, Ensemble Junge Musik, the Trio IAMA, the groups Grix, KAYA (with butoh-dancer Yuko Kaseki), ΣΩΜΑ, Card Castle, best before unu and Blindsight. He collaborated with the video artist Erika Matsunami (OIO, 2005–2009), the dance group adLibdances (2007–2011), Theater Thikwa (since 2004) and the music theatre group Novoflot (since 2017).
From 2006 till 2018, he has been teaching Improvisation at the Music Village Summer Workshops in Pelion, Greece. His compositions cover the full range between solo and orchestral music and include incidental music for theatre, dance and film. In addition, he has released more than seventy CDs.
Kenny McLellan Set designer
He studied at the Glasgow School of Art and the Motley Theatre Design Course, where he was awarded the Linbury Prize for Theatre Design. He collaborated with major festivals (Athens, Edinburgh, Brussels, Vienna, Warsaw, Cologne, Paris), theatres (Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Theatre Court, Traverse Theatre, Opéra de Montpellier, New Israeli Opera, National Theatre of Greece, National Theater of Northern Greece, GNO, Theseum Ensemble) and dance groups (Oktana Dancetheatre, Sine Qua Non, Persa Stamatopoulou Contemporary Dance Group etc). He has also worked with distinguished directors such as Danny Boyle, Roger Michell, Michail Marmarinos, Roula Pateraki, Konstantinos Rigos, Petros Sevastikoglou, Yannis Iordanidis, Elli Papakonstantinou, Yannis Tsortekis, Nikita Milivojevic etc. He designed the sets for short films such as Tugo Tugo, Light Well (Set and Costume Design Award at the Drama International Short Film Festival), Pendulum, Gas (First Prize for Direction at the Drama International Short Film Festival) as well as in feature films such as Like Chef, Like God, Well Hidden Secrets, Αthanasia, the American production Arcadia Lost, and commercials.
Kathrin Krumbein Costume designer
She was born in Germany, educated in Interdiciplinary Cultural Studies at University of Hildesheim, Fine Arts at HbK in Braunschweig, and Museum studies at New York University. She lives in Berlin and works as stage and costume designer as well as painter and writer. Under the direction of theatre makers such as Albrecht Hirche, Florian Hertweck, Lars-Ole Walburg, Niklaus Helbling and Robert Lehniger many plays had been staged with her contribution in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Greece (at theatres such as Schauspiel Hannover, Munich Kammerspiele, Theaterhaus Jena, Volksbühne Berlin, Staatstheater Aachen, Luzerner Theater, Theater Basel, National Theatre of Greece, Schauspielhaus Wien). In 1991, she worked for the first time with Akillas Karazisis, followed by many further cooperations with him, Michail Marmarinos and Yannis Houvardas.
Travelling costs are funded by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.
Alekos Anastasiou Lighting designer
Born in Athens. He received degrees both in electronics and the cinema. For many years he has worked in the film and television industries. As a cinematographer, he has worked in feature films and short films, TV series and in several informative and entertainment programmes and documentaries. As a lighting designer, he has worked in approximately 500 theatrical productions, in performances given in theatres mainly located in Athens, for National Theatres as well as for commercial, mainstream and independent theatres. In addition, he has taken part in many theatre festivals and events in Greece and abroad. He has worked with the majority of renowned Greek directors and choreographers. He received numerous awards.
Lambros Grammatikos Performer
He was born and raised in Ioannina. He is a graduate of the “Iakovos Kambanellis” Drama School (2016) and an Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate of the Xanthi School of Engineering (2012). He has been a Greco-Roman wrestling athlete and has been interested in dance and music. He has attended acting seminars with Michael Marmarinos, Maria Kechagioglou, Akillas Karazisis and others. As an actor, he participated in the productions The Art of War (2020, dir. Vicky Kyriakoulakou), The Seagull (2019-2020, dir. Giannis Paraskevopoulos), Erotokritos (2016-2018, dir. Nikos Diamantis, Ioanna Makri), The Shark's Tooth (2018, dir. Zoe Drakopoulou), Easter Island (2017, dir. Lysandros Spetsieris). He has also worked as an assistant director in the productions The Browning Version (2014, dir. Eleny Scotes), The Glass Menangerie (2015-2016, dir. Eleny Scotes), The Dance of Death (2015, dir. Dimitris Katalifos, Eleny Scotes).
Evangelia Karakatsani Performer
She was born in Athens. She graduated from the Drama School of the Athens Conservatoire in 2011. She holds degrees in voice, harmony, counterpoint and fugue. She participated in children's theatre productions directed by Karmen Rouggeri at the Greek National Opera. She cooperated with Thomas Moschopoulos, Lydia Koniordou, Akillas Karazisis, Michail Marmarinos, Nikos Karathanos, Konstantinos Arvanitakis, Yannis Moschos in productions at the National Theatre of Greece, Onassis Stegi and the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus. She is a founding member of the 4Frontal theatre group.
Ektoras Lygizos Performer
He has directed works by Aeschulus, Euripides, William Shakespeare, Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, Samuel Beckett, Giuseppe Verdi, Alfred Jarry, Michael Frayn, Allen Boretz and John Murray, Giorgos Koumendakis, Enda Walsh, Philippe Minyana, Pavlos Matesis, Händl Klaus, Gary Owen, at the National Theatre of Greece, the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, the Greek National Opera, the Stegi – Onassis Foundation, the SNFCC, the National Theatre of Northern Greece, Amore Theatre and Neos Kosmos Theatre. He has written and directed the feature film Boy Eating the Bird's Food (2012) and the short films Pure Youth (2004) and Interior with Woman Peeling Apples (2002).
Marios Sarantidis Performer
He was born in Athens. He studied at the Department of Communication, Media and Culture at the Panteion University and at the University of Music and Theatre of Munich with Daphne Evangelatos. He continues his studies with Dimitri Kavrakos. He speaks English, French, Italian and German. He has collaborated with conductors such as Andreas Spering, George Petrou, Markellos Chryssicos, Andreas Kovalewitz, Will Humburg, Ullrich Nicolai, Karl-Heinz Steffens, Stathis Soulis, Andreas Kok, Lukas Karytinos, Zoe Zeniodi, Zoi Tsokanou, Yorgos Ziavras etc. as well as with directors such as Barrie Kosky, Rosamund Gillmore, Tillman Knabe, Dimitris Karantzas, Nikos Karathanos, Renate Ackermann, Roland Schwab, Robert Tannenbaum, Martina Veh, Nico Hümpel, Spyros Evangelatos, Akyllas Karazisis, Michail Marmarinos, Thanos Papakonstantinou, Zoe Xanthopoulou, Marianna Kalbari, Katerina Evangelatos etc. His repertoire ranges from Baroque music to 21st century operas, oratorios, Lieder, musical. He has sung at the GNO, Athens Concert Hall, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Munich (Prinzregententheater and Gärtnerplatztheater), Stadttheater Ingolstadt, Bad Reichenhall Festival, Wagner Festival of the Neuschwanstein Castle, Athens and Epidaurus Festival, RadialSystem V in Berlin etc.
Maria Skoula Performer
She was born in Heraklion (Crete). She graduated from the Drama School of the National Theatre of Greece. She collaborated in the theatre with Lefteris Vogiatzes, Kostas Tsianos, Yannis Houvardas, Thomas Moschopoulos, Akillas Karazisis, Nikos Hatzopoulos, Vicky Georgiadou, Karin Henkel, Michail Marmarinos, Lilo Baur, Marc Von Henning, Efi Theodorou, Spyros Evangelatos, Haris Fragoulis, Kornilios Selamsis, Fenia Papadodima, Giannis Mochos, Dimitris Karantzas, Vicky Vasilopoulou, Dimitris Agartzidis, Giorgos Skevas, Yannis Skourletis in global works and Greek repertoire. She collaborated in cinema with Periklis Hoursoglou, Efthymis Hatzis, Jeanine Meerapfel, Vasilis Douvlis, Panagiotis Fafoutis, Penny Panagiotopoulou, Dimitris Bavellas, Yannis Leontaris, Apostolia Papaioannou, Alexandros Avranas, Giorgos Zafiris, Argyris Papadimitropoulos, Jan Vogel, Kostas Gerampinis, Syni Pappa, Nancy Biniadaki, Sofia Georgovassili, Yannis Smaragdis, Yiannis Alexiou. She participated in television series Three Summers, after the novel by Margarita Liberaki (dir. Giannis Lapatas). She teaches at the Praxi Epta Drama School, at the “Iakovos Kambanellis” Drama School and at the NOTOS Drama School in Heraklion (Crete).