Ground Zero’s production of Camus’s Les Juste (The Just Assassins). Photographs by Christos Kyriakoggonas
To Athens in the midst of a general strike. ‘Everywhere’ my friend Maria says, a shudder running through her, ‘the smell of catastrophe.’ Her fellow actors reassure her, change the subject, try to make her smile. ‘We have to look after one another’ Eleana says.
I’m profoundly moved by the resilience and deliberate upbeat inflection among these theatre practitioners. Too experienced to be naive, too knowing to be anything else but optimistic, they face the uncertainties of Greece’s future full-on.
‘This is a new period; we have to make change’ Savvas says, echoing sentiments I’ve been hearing in squares across Europe these past six months, discussions and interventions, experiments in democracy. ‘There are few jobs. Taxes grow higher. There is no money – no money anywhere! We have to make theatre from our guts.’
The performances are made and the audience come – an upsurge in numbers since the financial crisis, with the audience instigating impromptu debates, afterwards. ‘It is as if they are looking for conversation – to talk about what is happening’ Savvas says, agreeing with my suggestion if theatre doesn’t give the answers, it helps ask the right questions.
The company, Ground Zero, have been making thoughtful and thought-inducing performances site-specifically in a former prison and Gestapo interrogation cells in Athens: Camus’s The Just Assassins, about the consequences of a bomb-making factory and Kafka’s In the Penal Colony, interwoven with verbatim text from Abu Graib.
This repertoire is not necessarily representative of the breadth of the company’s work, but tempered by the times. For further information on the company and their work, please go to: http://simeiomiden.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/about-the-company/
In The Penal Colony. Translation-direction: Savvas Stroumpos. Actors: Maria Athinaiou, Eleana Georgouli, Roza Prodromou, Savvas Stroumpos, Miltiadis Fiorentzis
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‘Things can’t continue as they have,’ other Greek friends tell me, directors and playwrights in the UK, practitioners in Greece. ‘Things have to improve’ they say, bitter with stories of corruption, of taxes hitting only the poorest, of peaceful demonstrations studded with police brutality and unwarranted tear gas. ‘This is the cradle of Western democracy – surely we can find a new path, a solution?’
Please follow the link below to an independent documentary about the Greek government’s inappropriate use of force against lawful demonstrations this year in Athens.
Δείτε παρακάτω ένα video της ομάδας Multimedia της Πλατείας Συντάγματος που δημιουργήθηκε για παγκόσμια κυκλοφορία.
τα καλύτερα, όμως, έρχονται…
A video created by the multimedia group of the Syntagma Square’s occupation