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Aspasia Pontika: "Mercy now with Kaiada"!

Aspasia Pontika: "Mercy now with Kaiada"!

Constantina Rodi
17 May, 2024

"Circus of Souls", the theatrical performance that came to be discussed, presents six souls of our current society, characterized by diversity: disability, femicide, pedophilia, sexual segregation, addiction, racial discrimination.

On the Stage of the "Alkmeni" Theatre, these souls from next door, from the next street, from everyday life, unfold their thoughts and feelings to us, to captivate us and make us think.

Aspasia Pontika is the author of the play, director of the show and producer-owner of the theater organization "Ago" and spoke about her work to Greek News and Radio FL.

 

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Tell me about what made you write the play.

It was a, I can say random day for others, but for me very important. I will tell you how this thought was born. I was on a protest march at the Constitution and suddenly I froze, everyone was passing me and I, while I was there to protest, I felt that what I am doing needs something more. He didn't just want me to be on the pavement, where of course the matches are written, on the pavement, but I also wanted something more. I was thinking about it, I didn't know what. So a contest came out from the screenwriters, and while I didn't want to take part, I thought "here's the chance to protest the pen." Many colleagues display the protest in their works, I also wanted to put my little rock.

Protest about what?

It's an idea, that's what I said at the premiere. I love an idea. The idea becomes speech, becomes pen. The idea is that I will come out and say what hurts me as a person, but also the society - not only of Greece, of the whole world: Diversity, non-acceptance and what makes us live on the margins, not participate in society. It can be an act that puts you on the sidelines. I may say something different from what the others are saying, and this still puts me on the sidelines, not receiving acceptance. That's what I wanted to focus on.

While our freedoms are increasing, e.g. with the internet, and we can say what we want, yet people increasingly feel that they are 'not participating'. What keeps us "not participating"? What has gone wrong with our society?

I believe that we can speak, as we say, freely, and with the internet we can learn very easily what is happening in the world, but all this is controlled. I don't believe there is freedom and democracy in it, I believe they allow us as far as we will go. It's like having a rope around our waist, and someone lets us go where they want us to go. When we get to a place where "he" thinks it's enough, he can collect us, shut us down, e.g. the Internet. It's like the current. You turn off the switch. So there is no absolute freedom. It exists, as far as they allow us.

And when the internet shuts down, then you live with your neighbors, your fellow citizens, and real society begins. What relationships are there then?

That's where the relationships are seen. Let's imagine a city without internet and without telephone, and then we will see that we only have the man next door, that we have to communicate with him. That's where the truth comes out, you can't do otherwise. Ultimately, there are two truths here: either he closes the door in your face, because he's afraid, he can't handle a possible difference - maybe because he feels the same inside - or maybe he can say "you got what you wanted while I no", something we keep inside, deep inside, and cannot express - and the other truth, is the hug: "finally you knocked on my door, how much I needed it". Anyone who experiences this is unique: the energy that embraces you.

You mention diversity in your work: femicide, pedophilia, etc. Lately we have had an upsurge of backlash against all forms of diversity. Everything that is different seems to be stigmatized and made a point of reference.

I believe there are many more, I hope it will be the subject of my next project. This work of mine, my roles, are governed by incredible realism - through the surrealism of everyday life that they express of course - as I simply describe their everyday life. I am not describing something exaggerated, it is the simple reality. Which reality, in the end, has something poetic, even if it is completely dark. From there at the end a light, I want to believe, a hope springs up. He tells you "you shouldn't dwell on it, you should do something". All the roles I have written have had to do with everyday life. Everything I write always has to do with the stimulus that gives me a situation or a person, or a color, something. I never sit down and say 'now I'm going to write about this'. I walk down the street, see something that moves me, or have a conversation with a fellow human being, and that will give me a stimulus. I am a person of observation and monitoring, in a good way. I like the remark, it's one of his flaws, and out of it came this work. It is no accident that I have written about a blind woman: I have met such people, I live in a district in which there is a Blind Lighthouse. Or the abuse, every day knocks on our door, through the internet, television, through people we love. Abuse comes in many forms. It is not only femicide, which the system currently does not help to get a justification...

... or find a solution.

... this problem cries out from afar, for a solution to be found. Of course we say that. I'm not suspicious, but I wonder if we don't want a solution. I don't want to be pessimistic, but I think there's a fear of this thing now. The only thing that scares me is the habit. It has such power, it is stronger than both love and hate. This is the purpose of the work, to break the habit that brings us to the point where nothing makes an impression on us anymore.

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I was thinking about this, that it is the habit that keeps the war in Ukraine, the war in Gaza and other events going. They have become a part of our daily life.

So is. Let's put ourselves in front of him and ask him, how much time does he spend thinking about these events that cause us dissatisfaction, pain, fear, sadness, like the wars you mentioned. How much do we allow ourselves to think about these things? Maybe they are brought back to us by ads asking for medical supplies for these cases, clothes, etc., maybe then we bring it back to remember it again for a while.

Finally, to come back to what we were saying before, the internet and the imaginary freedom it creates has also built a false society. We seem to talk to the whole world, but we close the doors of our "neighbors", we are cut off, in a "new society" in which problems exist but are not solved.

In my work, in addition to the six souls, there is also an Overlord. He lets them talk, because he is happy through it, he has financial rewards, but essentially he allows how far they will go. So is the internet. I believe that it is so, to e.g. now we are also talking, and this will be transmitted, and someone will say "that's what Pontika said", but if someone didn't want it, they wouldn't allow it. We would do a recording just you and me. We think, but we are not very well. Not everyone, there are also suspicious people, but we through an attitude of life should make our mark – it's not just going out to talk, it's also the attitude of the everyday, like people. I'll talk a little about myself now, at a younger age I didn't have the maturity to think about what I'm telling you now. I have always been touched, of course, but after a certain age I really, every day, do it as an exercise: I put myself in front of me and observe him - what I do, how, etc. I want this for me, for my children, my family... I observe myself almost all the time, and for that - here - I thank the habit, because the brain learns this way. I train myself, until some things are done automatically, without a second thought.

A few days ago the premiere of your work took place. What are your impressions of the audience's reactions?

They told me something that overwhelmed me, I didn't expect it to such an extent: the hug, the acceptance, the excitement that took me by surprise. I was told "the success was that after the play was over, people stood for an hour outside the theater talking about it - they didn't want to leave". They were talking about the feelings that what they saw caused them, there is nothing better than that.

It hurts people to build new relationships, to live a new society.

All these guilt syndromes that we have as humans, because the times we went through were not the best – they are not easy to experience. When you talk about the sexual destination of a person, even your child, which is a completely personal matter, and the other person does not accept it or makes you perceive it as a personal failure because of "what society will say" - in the end it will have target the child itself. On the other hand, if you find someone to tell you "it's okay, it's a personal matter", you will feel relieved... Mercy on Kaiada! Let the people embrace! Acceptance, I believe, is A. and O. All the letters of the alphabet of the whole world – for the subject is not Greek, but of the whole world. Even in societies that are considered, how shall I say: developed, sophisticated, open? It may be that wrapper, but the problem is on the inside. Because I'm afraid of wraps, and I question them.

We see "open" societies, as you described them, where the news brings us high rates of femicide cases, e.g.

What does this ultimately want to tell us?

What he wants to tell us, and what you want to remain in the mind of the viewer, in the end, is the message of acceptance of diversity?

Yes. And Justice. I'm a big believer in words and I love them. There are no bad words, there are meanings and ways to use them. Justice is beginning to seem elusive and difficult, a bad word. It has lost the luster it should have, it has started to be questioned and that is not good. If justice ceases to exist, then we must move on to other things that create a different kind of fear.

What is it like to create in theater today, at a time when everything seems to be moving with difficulty?

Theater is about love. If you love it, nothing is too difficult. You fight for it. Not that it doesn't have its difficulties, if that's possible – theater is a difficult thing, it's not easy. But, tell me, isn't medicine difficult? To me it seems very difficult for someone to read, to learn, to stay up all night, to be informed... I couldn't do it. But theater is my love. She was my secret love, it became apparent, the planer who has many difficulties, but I have become a champion. I'm running a centimeter with obstacles, I'm trying to get the prize. This prize is my part, to say "I did it", that is the prize for me. It has to do with the need for expression, with people – that's how I communicate. I like all this shuffling of energies. Imagine the team working to set this all up, because I may have written it, directed it, but there's the actors, who are amazing – there's our kinesiologist – the make-up artist – the musician – the lyricist – the creation of the trailer – the graphic design – all those who worked. Yesterday in the theater there were 80 seats: imagine the actors and 80 people embracing their actions, because that's what I saw with the enthusiasm of the audience. I collected it, and this is the greatest prize for me: I passed the obstacles, I reached the finish line. Me with myself.

Which role is more difficult? That of the writer, the director, or the producer?

They are three completely different roles. The writer wants to say the things that suffocate him. I want to write them down, shout them out with a bang, and I really am a rushing river when I write. I never write for long periods of time. It's something impulsive: I sit down and write. I may not eat, drink, see a man, sleep, until I finish the work. I want to say them. The director is something else again. It has to do with the actors. He must believe the actor, have a proper contact with each other. If there is no proper contact, work will be done but it will not be good. It has to do with ingenuity, with many things. It's more of a love affair: the director and the actors. They must be in love with each other. And lovers make love, kiss, argue. Because if you don't fight, what kind of love will this be? I don't like very calm love, I like the waters to be troubled, the blood to boil. The producer again, what he thinks about first is the financial. He's more grounded, he wants to take the project and go far, he's more realistic, he's anxious - because he's not a romantic. The production on this project also made the costumes, which was a first for us and apparently we did very well. Every day we learn and it's really nice to learn, not know everything and learn. Theater teaches you all the time.

What would you say to the Greeks who live outside Greece?

I always had these people in mind, because I also have relatives who are in America and who have never seen Greece. I've always had a soft spot for these people. If I could be the fairy that with my little wand I could beam them to Greece for a while - not where I want, where they want... they may not want to see the Acropolis, they may want to go to Karpathos, which I have roots, or to go to Vounihora in Fokida, my favorite village, or to Trikala, Xanthi, the islands, the Aegean, the Ionian, wherever... I would do it. Because I declare that "I'm from everywhere", because you never know what dawns on us, but inside I want to know where I belong. I believe that these people too, and I get emotional now, dream of what their homeland is like. They may have left decades ago and never returned for various reasons. I wish your dream come true. Nothing is lost. Only what we leave is lost. It's like a life preserver. Someone throws us a life jacket, in the sea, to save us, but we look at it. We do not run to reach it to save ourselves. Well, I wish you from the bottom of my heart, to run and swim with all your strength, to grab the life preserver. The boat will pass, I'm sure of it.

 

Alcmeni Theater | Intermedia stage | Alkmenis 8-12 Kerameikos metro | Phone: 21 0342 8650
Sunday 12, 19, 26 May & Sunday 2 June | Afternoon 18:30
Thursday 16, 23, 30 May | Evening 21:15
DURATION | 90' Minutes | without a break
Suitable for over 16 | Mandatory adult accompaniment for persons under the age of 16 | Contains profanity
ACTORS
Dimitris Havres
Christos Jean Baptiste
Nefeli Pitsi | Ioanna Roussou | Venia Stavropoulou | Nikos Triantafillou | Olga Tsarsitalides
Artistic Direction | Art Director Liana Azima Havre
Music Composition | Pericles Liakakis
Lyrics | Stamatis Bourikos
Kinesthesia | Myrto Petroheilou
Stages | Ioanna Lianou
Suits | Ago Productions
Lighting Design | Manolis Bratsis
Makeup | Connie Khalil
Hairstyles | Marios Kotsiras
Editing text | Amalia Vassilopoulou
Trailer | Nikitas Haskas
Voice over | Studio | Dimitris Havres
Poster Photo | Nina Retsi & Yellow Studio
Contact Sponsor | COSMOTE TV
Contact Sponsor | JAZZ BREEZE RADIO – RECORDS – MAGAZINE
Production Company | Conduct
 

photo https://infowoman.gr 

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