It still feels strange to see theatre I can’t possibly hope to understand. I went to see Nova Melancholia’s Still Life: to the Glory of the City at the weekend and I realised that whatever I write here in relation to theatre in Athens, it will be coloured by my basic lack of understanding.
I still go to the theatre. Even seeing a piece defined by such a complex and fragmented text there is still something in it for me. As an artist and spectator I share a space and a moment with the performers, the spectators, the performance. Actually I find my sensitivity to the energy of the work, to the presence of the performers and their relationship with the audience is heightened by my struggles with the language. Over the past three years, I have seen many theatre performances here in Greece and in the UK as I move backwards and forwards between the two countries. It is easy to be a lazy spectator in my own language. It is impossible here.
I called this website ‘artistheatis’ because in my teaching practice at the university I realised that while we often talking about writerly reading – the process of reading with the critical, emotional and creative engagement of a writer seeking something – we rarely discuss the equivalent for the performance maker. There’s no easy way to phrase it perhaps. It just happens that the word for spectator in greek is theatis (θεατής) and it does, for obvious reasons, sound to the English ear rather like the word theatre. So we’ve got the word artist in there; we’ve got something that sounds a bit like theatre and we’ve got the word spectator in there. Am I an ‘artistheatis’? Probably. The entries in this blog will track my process of finding out where I am going.
It is not an academic blog; it is a place of creative research and reflection.