10 Αυγούστου 2015

Lefteris Giovanidis: Ancient Greek tragedy has no language barriers

Lefteris is the director of Sophocles’ “Antigone”, staged in Mykonos island, until August 30. What makes this performance unique is that the play is in English, directed by a Greek and interpreted by Greek actors. He speaks to Ino Cohen about the play and his approach
 
Lefteris is the director of Sophocles’ “Antigone”, staged in Mykonos island, until August 30. What makes this performance unique is that the play is in English, directed by a Greek and interpreted by Greek actors. He speaks to Ino Cohen about the play and his approach

What would be the your biggest challenge if you were to choose between directing a classical play with your personal approach, and directing a new play staged for the very fist time?

The biggest challenge for me is the people that I work with. One of the reasons that I took this job is because it gives me the opportunity to meet people and share our experiences, worries and thoughts. I deeply appreciate the value of collaboration. A good team is what challenges us to exceed our limits. And I take this opportunity to say that I believe that everyone in Greece, in these hard times that we’re living, must learn to collaborate. Unfortunately, collaboration is missing in all aspects of our lives in this country. Now going back to your original question, my answer is that to me, a classical play is much more challenging and attractive that a modern one.


What were the difficulties that you faced directing an Ancient Greek tragedy in English, considering that this is not the first language of you or the actors, as well as not the original language of the text?

Although I lived and studied in NY for several years, I must confess that in the beginning I had headaches at the end of the rehearsals. But as time goes by, it all becomes a matter of habit. The actors had some difficulties too but soon they overcame them, because of their working experience with the English language. All in all, it was a great voyage.


How does the public react? Are mostly Greeks or foreigners?

This year, it’s a big surprise that Mykonos has to offer a cultural event to its visitors. The audience’s reaction is very positive. They are mostly foreigners (70%) and that has been my original goal. Greece, as a tourism destination, has to offer its best products to its visitors, and culture is what they’re mostly looking for. Our production has been expensive because high quality is important to us. Thankfully, we achieved our goal with the support of our sponsor Zannis Fradzeskos, owner of Nammos seaside restaurant, who covered part of our production costs.


In Ancient Athens, where women did not have citizen rights and opinion on politics (although there were some notable exemptions), the role of Antigone has shocked the audience. Which would be the modern face of Antigone in order to shock the Greek audience today?

The main idea of the play is where we can find ‘Antigone’ in modern Greek society. IF we can find her. Does she exist? I don’t know how important it is to shock the audience - if the audience can be shocked today. I’m afraid that there is a strong indifference to everything. It’s like people are tiered to bother about what’s going on. When I talk about indifference, I mean the absolute acceptance of the daily life that is imposed to us. I believe that it would be more important if we can find a modern ‘Antigone’ who can shock her self for a start.


Which is the most dramatic moment in Antigone?

To me, the most dramatic moment in our performance is the chorus passage “Love undefeatable in battle” which is set to music by Thanasis Vlavianos and choreographed by Hermes Malkotsis. This is the dramatic climax of our performance.


Have you completely changed your directing approach to a role, being influenced by the personality of an actor or an actress?

The renowned Greek director Volanakis used to say that it took him six months for the casting and one month for the rehearsals. Choosing an actor or an actress for a role is an important part of the procedure of a director’s work. Of course, I decide in advance the main points my approach to a play, but I let myself be very much influenced by the people I work with.


Which is your biggest dream? What would you like to remain from you in this world?

My dream is to feel complete.What I would like to stay from me in this world is my kids, my loves, my smile and my love for the best.


Info

·  The play is been performed in Mykonos island, until August 30, on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, at 9.15 pm. It lasts 70 minutes.

·  Ticket cost: 18 euro

·  Contact: +30-693-2374-477 and +30–22890-27190

·  email: antigonemykonos2015@gmail.com

·  The performance’s facebook page Facebook

·  Translation and Direction: Lefteris Giovanidis

·  Set design: Constantinos Zamanis

·  Costume design: Ioanna Tsami

·  Music: Thanasis Vlanianos

·  Choreography: Ermis Malkotsis

·  Light design: Nikos Sotiropoulos

·  Assistant director: Danai Epithymiadi

·  Cast: Giannis Karaoulis, Calliope Simou, Alex Balamotis, Giorgos Economou, Virginia Tabaropoulou.