Imagine songs making up a landscape

When experiencing the opening of the Musical Theatre Performance held in Volos January 16th it was stepping into a still unknown landscape but familiar due to the association being created by the actors forming a circle, their faces slightly lit by flickering candle light. Ancient Greece and landscape combines in the knowledge of being alive is more than a thought. It is like the songs which followed, and especially in reference to Seferis a dedication to the beaches given back to the winds once the tourists have left. There is the outcry, the silence, the wonder, the perplexity all becoming visible once the circle unfolds, with the actors creating then one line to show to the audience this is an unusual chorus. As one performer explained later the philosophy behind this performance is to let each frame show some individual talent linked to special expressions in either dance or by letting the fingers drum on a stool in dedication to ‘agapi’ – love. By traveling through various time periods the group revealed a repertoire of music, dance, theatrical acting and above all monologue. It was indeed astonishing to see this Shakespearean form being used in such a strong way. It takes courage to stand alone on a huge stage and to speak to an audience equally captivated by mobile phones which would not stay still throughout the performance. For how to address an audience used by now due to the modern communication forms to a series of images flashing by like the landscape perceived from a fast moving train, if there is to be used by contrast slow time frames for reflective thoughts made audible when theatre begins to recognize the importance of the human voice? Astonishing was indeed the articulation and the spirit which moved all performers through the stages. The entire performance had a red thread marked by the stark contrast between love and war, between the girl left behind by the soldier marching off and the girl shot for being perhaps only too beautiful. If man cannot stand the stare into the sun, he seeks darkness. At least this seemed to be a secret message of the play unfolding in a landscape sometimes more a zone of danger as indicated by the red tape put across the stage than a spatial sense in which feet can still feel the heat of the sun on the stones walked over bare footed. At the beginning was the girl shot, then wrapped in plastic folia like so many body bags making sure the death of war is not noticed by the press and public opinion while the killing continues and at the end her return but now to a night club like scene reminding how the conclusion of the Olympics ended in Athens August 2004. As if the passion of life ends with inclusiveness about beings which can and do exist in the modern landscape. It may be that the performance does not give a full answer to this question but nevertheless the disturbance felt due to the direction the country is developing in was transmitted by the actors expecting the audience to leave the world of images in order to become real. It was an astonishing repertoire of using songs, dance and monologue along with numerous interplays by an outstanding musical group ranging from piano to accordion to bring all that across. It changed the outlook of that famous song by John Lennon called ‘imagine’. The main actress in that sketch pointed to the audience as if to say imagine, you the people, being in this landscape, so view your life not divorced from what can be always the most important call of culture in Greece, namely to sing along with the others, to join in, when imagine, the people become alive. It was a wonder performed on that stage. A long trail of very sparse gestures made up the economy of that wonder. A beautiful experience made possible over a stretch of time. The performance started after 21.30 and ended shortly after midnight. A journey through an imagined landscape had been made.

Dr. Hatto Fischer, (Writer Coordinator of “Poein and Prattein”),  Athens 22.1.2008