Announcement of the official programme of the performances
5 productions compose this year’s programme of the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama, co-organised by the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Youth, the Cyprus Centre of the International Theatre Institute and the Deputy Ministry of Tourism.
25 years after the first Festival in 1997, the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama is raising the curtain this year on July 6, in order to offer the theatre-loving public a month full of powerful and emotional moments.
This year’s 25th anniversary edition of the Festival, which will take place from July 6 to August 6 2022, includes five productions of the highest artistic standards with a contemporary aesthetic and artistic approach on ancient Greek drama, staged by important theatre organisations. The productions will be presented at the Paphos Ancient Odeon, the Makarios III Amphitheatre in Nicosia and the Curium Ancient Theatre.
Once again, this year, the organisers’ aim is to continue the upward and successful course of the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama, in order to ensure the artistic quality of the productions and to attract as many Cypriots and foreign visitors to the performances, in order to upgrade and cultivate theatrical education, and to ensure the Festival’s contribution to cultural tourism in Cyprus.
A total of 42 proposals for participation in this year’s Festival were submitted by theatre organisations and artists from 20 countries.
The seven-member Selection Committee, which examined and very carefully evaluated the proposals that were submitted and met the criteria for participation in the Festival, formulated an extremely open and diverse programme of productions.
The five productions of this year’s festival
The festival will open with Oedipus the King by Sophocles, from Bosnia Herzegovina, in a joint production between the National Theatre of Sarajevo and the International MESS Theatre Festival. Oedipus, the cursed king of Thebes, son and murderer of Laius, son of Jocasta and father of her children, in an effort to unravel the thread of events, finds himself at the centre of the labyrinth, with himself as the target. Through his directorial approach, distinguished Slovenian director, Diego de Brea, underlines the coldness, suffering, barbarity and evil that emanate from people as if from Pandora’s Box. This tragedy by Sophocles will be presented at Paphos Ancient Odeon on July 6 and at Makarios III Amphitheatre on July 8.
The Poreia Theatre is participating in this year’s Festival with Aeschylus’s masterpiece, Prometheus Bound, translated by Giorgos Blanas and directed by Aris Biniaris, with a distinguished cast: Yannis Stankoglou in the leading role, Konstantinos Georgalis, David Malteze, Alekos Syssovitis, Nancy Boukli and Ioannis Papazisis. Director Aris Biniaris, has drawn inspiration from the rhythmical qualities of the text, and continues his study on ancient tragedies with the actors transforming the sounds and rhythms of the poetic text into theatrical action using their bodies and voices. Against the backdrop of a pulsating, live soundscape, the performers bring to life the characters of an age-old but always relevant story in which Prometheus becomes a timeless symbol of resistance. This devastating tragedy by Aeschylus which was performed with enormous success at the Epidaurus Festival in 2021 and was loved by both critics and public, will be presented at Curium Ancient Theatre on July 22 and 23.
The National Theatre of Northern Greece (NTNG) is returning to the Festival after a three-year absence, with Euripides’ Helen, translated by Pantelis Boukalas and directed by Vasilis Papavassiliou, with a numerous cast of actors and musicians on stage. Euripides drew inspiration from the version of the myth created by the lyric poet Stesichorus and not from Homer. He depicts the Trojan War as a massacre carried out for the sake of a ‘simulacrum’ and not a real woman. Through an imaginative directorial approach, the NTNG production highlights the comic elements of Euripides’ Helen, creating a celebratory atmosphere, an anti-war clash on stage. Helen will be presented at Curium Ancient Theatre on July 29 and 30.
The National Theatre of Greece is presenting the emblematic Ajax by Sophocles, directed by Argyris Xafis with a cast of major leading actors and artists. The main roles are portrayed by Stathis Stamoulakatos, Dimitris Imellos, Despina Kourti, Tassos Mikelis, Giannis Dalianis, Evi Saoulidou, Christos Stylianou and Nikos Hatzopoulos. Ajax, a warrior equal to Achilles, becomes a deadly enemy to the leaders of the army and a toy in the hands of the gods, and proves unable to follow the spirit of the newly emerging age. In Ajax, Sophocles records a seminal moment in human history: the moment in which a new world is born and the old collapses, with the old heroes and their ideals crashing with it headlong into the abyss. Ajax which will be performed at Curium Ancient Theatre on August 5 and 6, will through a curtain in the programme of this year’s Festival.