City-state (2011)

“Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. In a few days from now, the universe will fall on our heads. Which is why you must learn your history”

A mysterious backer stages a theatre production beside a wall. He compels the characters in the production to remember the history of their city, Athens. Song and dance, comedy and drama, historical narrations, politicians and citizens, doctors and patients. The lesson begins with a reference to the defining features of the ancient Greek city-state: freedom, independence, self-sufficiency. Then come the blood, the city planning, the people, the building materials, the conquerors.
Roland Barthes insists that “the city is a discourse”. It speaks to its inhabitants and they speak to it by living in it, by wandering through it. The city is a text, too, whose user is also its reader and forms their identity through its narratives. The characters in City-state are users and readers of Athens. They speak the language inscribed on them by the city itself. The production takes a snapshot of their Athens and invents its (hi)story.
What can happen when you search for the city’s core, its centre? Who consent to inhabit it? Who undertake to run it? Who decide to abandon it? How has the Dromokaition mental home impacted on its history? All the above are scrupulously enacted on stage under the robust—sometimes mild, sometimes severe—direction of an enigmatic backer/maestro of international renown. Premier performances of timeless Greek hits supply the stage with artificial oxygen. A sitting room that looks like an MP’s headquarters of decades past, but isn’t. A production that recalls a review, but isn’t. A financier who’s presented as a man of the theatre, but isn’t.

With the help of politicians, journalists and authors, the Kanigunda theatre company has written a text about Athens, a compulsory exhalation prior to suffocation.

Dramaturgy: Kanigunda Theatre Company
Direction: Yannis Leontaris
Set & Styling: Thalia Istikopoulou
Assistant to the Director: Marianna Tzanni
Lighting Design: Maria Gozadinou
Assistant to the Set Designer: Georgia Bourda
Choreography/Movement: Haris Pehlivanidis
Cast: Maria Kehagioglou, Yiorgos Frintzilas, Maria Maganari, Rebecca Tsiligaridou, Efthimis Theou, Anthi Efstratiadou