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Based on the novel by M. Karagatsis “The Great Chimera” | Adapted by Stratis Paschalis | Directed by Dimitri Tarlow

Τhe play is coming to RIALTO THEATRE in Limassol from Sat 12.05 until Thu 17.05 at 20.30 – Tickets here

The phenomenal performance from Athens, GR, which has not stopped to be completely sold-out since its very first show, in June 2014, was attended by more than 100.000 spectators, has been critically acclaimed and honored with the highest and most prestigious awards in Greece!

This powerful, epic and erotic melodrama is a 20th century Greek tragedy. It is a co-production of the Poreia Theatre and the Athens and Epidaurus Festival2014, conceived and directed by Dimitri Tarlow, who is the grandson of the eminent novelist M. Karagatsis, Greece’s so-called “Dostoyevsky”. The Great Chimera is renowned among Greek-speakers all around the world and is read today as widely as when first published. It belongs to M. Karagatsis’ trilogy of novels, that explore how foreigners fare on the rough and dramatic land that is Greece, full of conflicts between its ancient traditions and its war‐torn modern history.

 

In the Great Chimera, Marina, the main character, a Frenchwoman passionate about classical Greek culture, moves to Greece after having fallen in love and married a Greek ship-owner, carrying her deep psychological traumas with her. Greece, with its austere implicity, leads one to confront oneself; this sensual, fatally alluring place, will drag Marina into a passionate vortex with no way out, leading her to self-destruction. Karagatsis creates a bourgeois drama with deep ideological quests about Greek identity and the relation between Ancient and Modern Greece and the West. Within the canvas of a love-story in the form of an Ibsenian triangle, the perceptions of life, tragedy, realism, romantic reverie and, sometimes, paradox are intertwined. In this production, in which theatre interplays with cinema, human relationships in all their difficulty, passions and acts become snapshots of reality and fragments of a dream.

World première Athens and Epidaurus Festival 14 July 2014.

  • Poreia theatre 1st season from November 22 2014 till May 24 2015.
  • Apollon theatre of Siros (piccolo scala) from May 29 till June 1 2015.
  • Poreiatheatre2st season From October 3 2015 till June 3 2016.
  • Poreia theatre 3st seasonfrom September 28 2016 till June 11 2017.

 

  • Awards:
  • Karolos Koun director prize2016 to Dimitri Tarlow
  • Theatrical public awards (Athinorama) 2015:
  • 1stprize of best performance 2015
  • 1stprize of best director to Dimitri Tarlow
  • 1st prize of bet woman actor to Alexandra Aidini
  • 1st prize of best music to Katerina Polemi
  • 1st prize of best lighting designer to Alekos Anastasiou
  • 2nd prize of best costume designer to Eleni Manolopoulou
  • Melina Mercouri prize and Eleftheria Sapountzi prize 2015 to Alexandra Aidini

Cast

Marina: Alexandra Aidini

Yiannis: Maximo Moumouris

Minas: Dimitri Mothoneos

Reizena: Smaragda Smirneou

Lilly – Kalliopi – Vietnamese whore: Irene Fanarioti

Anna, Marina’s daughter: (Irene & Mitro Broulidaki, Anastasia Giannioti)

Annezio: Kate Manolidaki

A Stranger: Dimitri Tarlow

 

Creative Team

Adaptation: Stratis Pashalis

Direction: Dimitri Tarlow

Set and Costume designer: Eleni Manolopoulou

Original music: Katerina Polemi

Lighting Designer: AlekosAnastasiou

Movement Direction: Zoe Chatziantoniou

Film Direction: Christos Dimas

 

SYNOPSIS

Marina Baret, a French Hellenist who lives in Ruan, France, daughter of a courtesan, presents problems of sexual frigidity. Her attempts to experience love had all failed, due to the traumas caused by listening, when she was a child, to the erotic sounds coming from her mother’s bedroom. She struggled for years with the realization that after her father’s death her mother had become a high-class prostitute. As a result, she was averse to the sexual act.

A clash between mother and daughter on this critical issue causes the death of the former from heart failure. The notary who visits Marina after the funeral announces that she has been left a very large amount of money in her mother’s Will: it’s the money that she had saved from her “profession”, so that her daughter could live a comfortable life. Her mother’s “sacrifice”, however, cannot erase Marina’s deep trauma.

By chance Marina meets Yiannis Reizis, a charming and kind-hearted Greek ship‐owner from a Greek island, who passes by Ruan with his commercial ship “Chimera”. She falls in love and experiences sexual pleasure in her relationship with him. They marry and they leave for Greece, her believing that this has exorcized her nightmares.

They arrive in the Aegean island of Syros, where Yiannis’ family lives. Marina invests her money in the family business, so that a new ship can be purchased named after her. His mother, Anna Reizi, is an introvert and rather unsophisticated woman –a figure personifying the timeless character of the Greek woman: tragic, introspective and Doric. Marina regards her with suspicion and is not very polite to her. Yiannis’ brother, Minas, comes to the island from Athens. With a magnetic personality, he is a cultured young man –narcissistic and flirtatious. A platonic romance develops between Marina and Minas. He invites Marina and Yiannis to visit him in Athens, so that his new sister-in‐law can get to know the capital.

Marina lives happily with Yiannis in Syros travelling with him to the neighboring islands, discovering the country that she always dreamt of in an idealized dimension. Now, when facing reality, she sometimes finds it strange and even frightening. Her inner nightmares have not totally vanished. Her prostitute mother haunts her. The hedonic spectrum of Minas chases her but she resists it so as not to surrender to the obsessive idea of passion, remaining faithful to her husband.

She has to go alone to Athens occasionally without Yiannis. Minas shows her around the Acropolis and the beautiful countryside of Attica, reminiscent of the ancient world. Here cites Greek poetry to her. Marina succumbs –intrigued and bewitched by the complex personality of this Luciferian law student. Yiannis arrives unannounced unsettling everything. A period of estrangement follows.

Later on, Marina and Yiannis have a little girl, Annoula, for whom Anna Reizi has a soft spot. They live a seemingly happy family life. Minas travels around the world, excelling in his postgraduate studies without visiting the family for long. At some point, after the successful completion of his studies, he comes to Syros. His relationship with Marina appears cordial and formal. He himself has been romantically involved and almost engaged to a young woman from Syros called Lili .At a ball held in his honour Marina “catches” him vulgarly flirting with another woman in a separate room. She feels jealous and desperate.

The same night a financial disaster hits the family: the “Marina” ship sinks. The shocking news breaks and the island community is immersed in grief. All the islanders working on Reizis’ ship were drowned. Yiannis then decides to set sail himself and rescue his family from financial disaster. A distraught Minas reverts back to his career in law. Marina and Anna Reizi visit the death‐stricken families of the island and Marina is then confronted with the harsh side of Greece.

Marina, Anna Reizi and little Annoula live alone in the family house on the island. The two women have an intensely competitive relationship regarding the upbringing of the child. Marina is bored, she misses love, she thinks about Minas, she listens to classical music and she reads “Madame Bovary”. Yiannis during his travels in the stifling heat and ennui of the Far-East, frequents prostitutes in order to satisfy his sexual hunger. One night little Annoula is a way at a Carnival party. Marina goes out and wanders around the town, alone and hungry for love. The ghost of her mother wakes up inside her. She makes love with an Italian sailor. She comes back home at dawn, panicked and discovers a letter from Yiannis informing her that business is going well and that he’ll soon be back. She also finds little Annoula, who had returned home earlier, wasn’t in her room but was sleeping on a couch with the balcony door open.

The child becomes seriously ill and Minas rushes back to the island. Anna Reizi, worrying about the child, informs him about the “licentiousness” of Marina. She had figured out everything about the strange evening walk. Alone at night, Minas and Marina heart-rendingly confront each other for the first time. Minas swears at her and hits her. The beating turns into wild sex. The following morning Anna Reizi, holding the dead body of little Annoula, bursts into the bedroom to find Marina and Minas naked in bed together. With utter contempt for them both, she throws the body of the dead Annoula onto the bed.

Minas, on the boat back to Athens after the child’s funeral, throws himself into the sea and drowns. Marina and Anna Reizi live in the same house like enemies. Marina secretly visits the cemetery bringing flowers to the dead. She carries the baby of Minas inside her. Anna Reizi kicks her out of the house. She urges her to leave the island in an attempt to save Yiannis and the Reizis name from public humiliation and stigmatization. Marina leaves. Before she leaves, she gazes at the sea high on a rock from which she can see in the far distance Yiannis’ ship approaching. She jumps into the sea and drowns.

 

REVIEWS

“In a setting with the costumes of the 1930s and with a cinematographic atmosphere, Alexandra Aidini, Nikos Psarras and Omiros Poulakis were guided exceptionally well by the director and Zoe Hatziantoniou (movement) to give a fascinating and fatal triangle, by mobilizing word, body, sentiment, weight and untold character, measured but also passionate. What an excellent scene of eloquence in the mimed erotic struggle between Minas and Marina! Flesh violently depicting drowned dreams of ages and chimeras of centuries.”

Anny Koltsidopoulou, Kathimerini Newspaper, 10/8/14

 

“This is a show that pleases the eyes, the mind and the soul… images that surprise you, full of enchanting delusions… elaborately mixing the cinema with the theatre!

The finale and the filming of suicide will possibly haunt you for a long time after you have seen the show!”

Asteropi Lazaridou, TO BHMA Newspaper, 18/7/14

 

“Moments such as the “Great Chimera” of Tarlow very rarely happen! The much expected dramatization of Karagatsis’ novel was transubstantiated into a brilliant show! The applause was extremely warm and it lasted almost ten minutes!”

Anastassis Pinakoulakis, tralala.gr, 18/7/14

 

“When literary works are adapted for the stage, people expect to get rather tired. But I can tell you that with this there was not a single minute that I felt tired.”

Chryssa Fotopoulou, onlytheatre.gr, 18/7/14

 

“Dimitri Tarlow’s production gave credit to the vision of the Great Chimera that agonized Karagatsis.”

Ioanna Kleftogianni, Eleftherotypia, 17/7/14

 

 

On the Direction:

“… I had a good time at the festival performance given by the grandson of M. Karagatsis, in particular with the acting and the ever-maturing director, Dimitri Tarlow.”

Anny Koltsidopoulou, KathimeriniNewspaper, 10/8/14

 

“Dimitri Tarlow has left the best impression by directing the “Great Chimera” written by his grandfather M. Karagatsis …”

Asteropi Lazaridou, TOBHMANewspaper, 18/7/14

 

“It is evident by now that Dimitri Tarlow does not exclude the magic from anything he makes!”

Chryssa Fotopoulou, onlytheatre.gr, 18/7/14

 

“The direction of Dimitri Tarlow… allows history to drift by without ever losing the rhythm and never short of ideas!”

Stella Harami, tospirto.net, 18/7/14

 

“Dimitri Tarlow, having given a characteristic artistic stamp, creates a contemporary masterpiece that for me deserves to be talked about for a very long time!”

Anastassis Pinakoulakis, tralala.gr, 18/7/14

 

On the Leading Actress:

 

“Alexandra Aidini… with a performance that boils within and boils at the appropriate times!”

Asteropi Lazaridou, TOBHMANewspaper, 18/7/14

 

“I do not believe at this moment that on the Greek stage there is another woman that could be Marina than the excellent, exceptional Alexandra Aidini. She is dynamic, has a wonderful presence, with self-monitoring and a knowledge as to how you are omnipotent in a realistic ground!”

Chryssa Fotopoulou, onlytheatre.gr, 18/7/14

 

“Dimitri Tarlow struck a vein of gold in choosing Alexandra Aidini. With the proper direction, the actress … stood in the height of circumstance, sketching out a complete portrait of the young French lady who flirts with life and death, with cynicism and romanticism.”

Stella Harami, tospirto.net, 18/7/14

 

“Alexandra Aidini, gifted with sentimental maturity and emotional flexibility, confirmed the depth of her acting prowess. Indeed, she interpreted Marina by sketching out all her psychological precessions – from romanticism to pathos and from pathos to self-destruction!”

Helen Petasi, Naftemporiki Newspaper, 4/8/14

 

“Alexandra Aidini, both on film and on stage, is an actress with enormous capabilities and has proved to be an ideal Marina Baret!”

Ioanna Kleftogianni, Eleftherotypia Newspaper, 17/7/14

 

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