Epidaurus Festival 2018: Read the full programme

Epidaurus Festival 2018


Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus


29 & 30 June
The Acharnians by Aristophanes

Direction - adaptation - choreography: Kostas Tsianos
Set and costume design: Yannis Metzikov
Music: George Andreou
Lighting design: Lefteris Pavlopoulos
Cast: Petros Filippidis, Pavlos Haikalis, Kostas Koklas, Pygmalion Dadakaridis, and a chorus of 15 performers

Director’s note:
The Acharnians was first presented at the Lenaia festival, in the sixth year of the Peloponnesian War (425 B.C.), earning the then-19-year-old Aristophanes the first prize. In this play, Aristophanes sets out to ridicule war and warmongers, expressing people’s longing for peace. The comedy is set in rural Attica, in Acharnae (modern-day Menidi).

Aristophanes is fully aware that the genre of comedy hails from religious ceremonies of fertility. Throughout The Acharnians there are many references to Dionysus. In one memorable scene, Dikaiopolis and his family perform a phallic procession and sing a phallic song. There are also excellent comical scenes, typical of the Megara farces. The lively chorus of the old coal-miners of Menidi transforms this wonderful comedy into a frantic Dionysian feast. Our performance will draw on popular tradition, echoing the Dionysian spirit so prominent in Aristophanes’ The Acharnians.         

Kostas Tsianos


6 & 7 July
Agamemnon by Aeschylus (ORESTEIA cycle)

Translation: Yorgos Blanas
Direction: Cezaris Graužinis
Set and costume design: Kenny MacLellan
Music - musical coaching: Haris Pegiazis
Movement: Eddie Lame
Lighting design: Alekos Giannaros
Assistant director: Sygklitiki Vlahaki

Cast: Yannis Stankoglou, Maria Protopappa, Iovi Fragatou, and others

Production manager: Anastasia Kavalari
Communication: Anzelika Kapsampeli
Artistic direction of Stefi Productions: Aliki Danezi-Knutsen
Production: Stefi Productions - Yiannis M. Costas

Director’s note:
In Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, the tragic characters are doomed to suffer and die, whereas the members of the Chorus are doomed to suffer and live, revisiting their misfortunes and seeking a way out. In a Polis doomed to self-destruction, citizens, here represented by the Chorus, must muster their strength and faith, and redefine their moral and civic values, thus ensuring their continued survival.

This tragedy addresses the crucial need for reawakening citizens’ sense of duty. Conflict is built upon these grounds: even obedient citizens will inevitably find themselves at odds with the status quo.              

Cezaris Graužinis


13 & 14 July
National Theatre of Greece
Plutus by Aristophanes

Direction: Nikita Milivojević

(Cast TBA.)

Director’s note:
From Aristophanes’ time to our own, Plutus (Greek for “wealth”) is invariably the most powerful deity on the face of the earth; the driving force behind everything. Today’s inequality in wealth distribution is striking: the 100 richest people on the planet have accumulated more wealth than half the world’s population. Whether Wealth is blind or has the gift of sight is completely irrelevant: what matters is that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Nikita Milivojević



20 & 21 July
National Theatre of Greece
Electra by Sophocles

Direction: Thanos Papakonstantinou

(Cast TBA.)

Director’s note:
Written in the shadow of the Peloponnesian War, Electra is one of Sophocles’ most brutal plays. From the very first scene, the return of matricide Orestes, to the final scene with the victorious battle-cries of the chorus, the entire play is structured as an interplay of light and darkness; a battle of contradictions built around a trial, a violated balance and the need to redress that balance. Sophocles invites us to watch the workings of the natural world – the law of retaliation – through the lens of civil conflict.
Sophocles is not interested in the morality of the issue at hand. Whether balance will be restored in a peaceful or violent manner is irrelevant. Violence pervades human relationships. Violence breeds violence: wrongdoing invites retaliation. The fact that revenge here, in the form of matricide, goes far beyond what is normally expected in a so-called civilized society is also irrelevant. Sophocles’ Electra calls for retribution rather than justice.

Thanos Papakonstantinou


27 & 28 July
Thesmophoriazusae by Aristophanes

Translation: Pantelis Boukalas
Direction: Vangelis Theodoropoulos
Music: Nikos Kypourgos
Costume design: Angelos Mentis
Choreography: Cecil Mikroutsikou
Lighting design: Sakis Birbilis
Cast: Makis Papadimitriou, Odysseas Papaspiliopoulos, Nantia Kontogeorgi, Giorgos Chrysostomou, Eleni Ouzounidou, Giorgos Papageorgiou, Andri Theodotou, Katerina Maoutsou, Nancy Sideri, Eleni Boukli, Antigone Fryda, Irida Mara, Fragiski Moustaki, Natasa Sfendylaki, and others

Director’s note:
In Thesmophoriazusae, one of Aristophanes’ three “women” plays, written in 411 B.C., at a time when Democracy was overthrown and replaced by Oligarchy, women call for political stability. Nowadays, women are no longer in the same difficult position. They are no longer restricted to imagining a political future without having the right to participate in the Polis. However, there are still plenty of minorities with no access to the workings of the Polis. A play about gender issues, the quest of personal identity, the right to equal civil rights, the crisis in values, law and nature. Above all, a play bursting with humour and theatricality, enabling actors to be fully present on stage as political entities.

Vangelis Theodoropoulos

3 & 4 August
National Theatre of Northern Greece
Orestes by Euripides

Translation: Yorgos Blanas
Direction: Yannis Anastasakis
Set and costume design: Yannis Thavoris
Music: Babis Papadopoulos

Cast: Christos Stylianou (Orestes), Ioanna Kolliopoulou (Electra), Daphne Lamprogianni (Helen), Christodoulos Stylianou (Menelaus), Nikolas Maragopoulos (Messenger), and others

Director’s note:
To what extent can a society caught up in a vicious cycle of crime find a way out? Three young people, Orestes, Electra, and Pylades are entangled in a spiral of blood and violence. Gods and humans have spun an intricate web of hatred and vengeance. Sibling love turns into complicity; friends become partners in crime; the people’s verdict leads to capital punishment. No end in sight for this war. The city will burn.
Euripides’s tragedy lays bare the human soul. When everything terrible is said and done, only the deus ex machina remains, coming, as usual, without warning. Problem is, nobody believes in god’s fairy tales anymore.

Yannis Anastasakis


10 & 11 August
The Frogs by Aristophanes

Translation: Yorgos Blanas
Direction: Kostas Filippoglou
Movement: Sofia Paschou
Cast: Lakis Lazopoulos, Sofia Filippidou, Antonis Kafetzopoulos, Dimitris Piatas, and others

Director’s note:
In The Frogs, Aristophanes attempts a phantasmagorical nekyia, a descent to the underworld. Much like Odysseus, Aristophanes seeks a path to his utopian Ithaca. One can only fulfil one’s life by discovering the true meaning of death. The Polis must come to terms with its own lack in order to gain a more substantial presence. The Polis needs to plunge deep into Hades to regain its lost identity.

Disguised as Hercules, Dionysus descends to the underworld to bring Euripides back among the living, since Athens no longer boasts a great poet. Even though this journey unfolds in the twilight of the dead, it is presented as a cheerful and entertaining guided tour, almost as if it were a medieval carnival.

Dionysus does not descend among the dead to bring back a great politician, a worthy philosopher, or general. Instead, he chooses to bring back a dramatic poet. Evidently, Aristophanes considers poetry and drama as the only powers capable of saving the Polis from its decline: a truly curious perspective, by contemporary standards.

This carnivalesque underworld, as depicted by Aristophanes, is healthy when compared to the diseased world of the seemingly “serious” living people. Comedy, with all its hilarious episodes, becomes a political tool, still relevant to our times.

The Frogs stand in for humanity itself. Humans are like amphibians, foreign both in land and sea, yet also feeling everywhere at home, ready to sing and dance. The carnival symbolizes humanity’s struggle to go beyond themselves, to conquer a distinct identity. This identity is not expressed in the dramas by the “realist” Euripides; it is expressed in the dramas written by the epic storyteller Aeschylus, this serious, imposing poet. Aeschylus constantly dismisses his opponent with the expression “lekythion apolesen,” that is, “he lost his little oil flash,” an expression which is commonly held to be a joke about Euripides’ sexual impotence.

The world of the living slowly dies away, due to their inability to create new respectable myths, no matter how outrageous these myths may be. Conversely, the underworld bursts with life, because its inhabitants retain the power of imagination and are capable of taking a distance from themselves, while still having a flair for games.

Kostas Filippoglou

17 & 18 August
Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles
Athens & Epidaurus Festival, in collaboration with INDA (Instituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico)

Direction: Yannis Kokkos

The performance is set to be presented at the 54° Festival al Teatro Greco di Siracusa (8 May - 8 July) in Syracuse and subsequently at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus.

Director’s note:
Sophocles’ final tragedy is at once a meditation on human fate and a tribute to his favourite city, Athens.

Burdened by horrific crimes and haunted by his city, Thebes, the elderly Oedipus arrives at Colonus, almost as if he were a migrant, choosing this area as his final resting place.

Oedipus has been sentenced by the gods, led by them to Colonus, the place of his redemption.

Previously the agos of the polis, Oedipus re-emerges as a hero at Colonus. Its people receive him, both for moral reasons and for reasons of interest.

A tragedy about physical and metaphysical borders, about the mystery of human freedom in the face of gods’ omnipotence, about responsibility, about old age, about the political rule of the Polis. Oedipus at Colonus is an intimate poem, a spiritual journey.
From Syracuse to Epidaurus, our tragedy will carry Oedipus all the way to the sacred forest of the Furies, to his final apotheosis.

Yannis Kokkos


A Note from the Artistic Director of Festival al Teatro Greco di Siracusa:
In 2018, the Instituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico will invite audiences to Syracuse for three plays debating the issue of power and addressing the complex and shifting role of the hero and the tyrant in the ancient world, both in their heightened representation in tragedy, as well as in their representation through farce and ridicule. These plays are: Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles, Herakles by Euripides, and The Knights by Aristophanes.

Oedipus at Colonus is a tragedy about old age, recounting the story of an old man, Oedipus. Having previously wandered around as a scapegoat (Oedipus Rex), Oedipus retires to Colonus, becoming the area’s genius loci. Sophocles’ final tragedy is nothing less than a spiritual testament, evoking the image of an entire population of people on the brink of disaster. The play is a meditation on the great themes of humanity: the mystery of existence and death; the conflict between political and religious morality; the relationship between the objectivity of guilt and the subjectivity of punishment; the inexorability of a destiny determined by omnipotent forces; the fragility of reason and human justice. Athena represents eternal values, such as hospitality towards supplicants, opposition to the arrogant, respect of the law, the worship of the gods. The tragedy comes to an end with the final redemption of a man who was first humiliated and then elevated to the rank of hero. Sophocles delivers verses of extreme purity, exemplified by the sublime poetry of the chorus celebrating “the best dwelling on earth, candid Colonus.”

It is a great honour for us to present Oedipus at Colonus, directed by Greek cosmopolitan artist and intellectual Yannis Kokkos. More importantly, this performance will be held at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, kicking off a precious and significant collaboration, built upon a geography of the soul, as evidenced in the sublime energy of the two ancient theatres in Sicily and Epidaurus.

As a great contemporary writer has said: the essential mandate of a civilization that takes its future to heart is to guard and bequeath Beauty.

Roberto Andò

Little Theatre of Ancient Epidaurus


6 & 7 July
The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus (ORESTEIA cycle)

Direction: Argyro Chioti
Dramaturgy: VASISTAS
Dramaturgy consultant: Nikos A. Panagiotopoulos
Set design: Eva Manidaki
Lighting design: Tasos Palaioroutas
Music: Jan Van de Engel
Assistant director: Gely Kalampaka
Cast: Evi Saoulidou, Evdoxia Androulidaki, Antonis Antonopoulos, Matina Pergioudaki, Yannis Klinis, Eleni Vergeti, Georgina Chriskioti, and others

Director’s note:
“Am I shouting to the deaf and fruitlessly wasting my voice on people who are asleep?”
The greatest mourning song of ancient Greek literature. A premeditated crime set up on stage, with the complicity of the audience. The VASISTAS group approaches the play as a profound conflict between human instincts and social conformity, focusing on the chorus, this powerful voice that is constantly on stage, pushing things forward and inciting to murder. The chorus is a massive voice watching, directing, and ultimately holding power over everything. The chorus is the social mandate that occasionally wrests control and defines the course of history. The two main characters of the play, Orestes and Electra, are like two puppets with barely any right to make choices for themselves. They are weighed down by the burden of the past, forced to follow it all the way, making a seemingly impossible choice. Their future is inextricably bound with the act of murder.

Argyro Chioti

20 & 21 July
Antigone by Sophocles

Translation - adaptation: Nikos Panagiotopoulos
Direction: Konstantinos Ntellas
Set design: Andreas Skourtis
Costume design: Konstantina Mardiki
Music: Alexandros Ktistakis
Lighting design: Panagiotis Lampis
Videographer- photographer - assistant to the set designer: Christos Symeonides
Cast of seven performers

Director’s note:
Eteocles fell in battle, defending his city. He is a hero.

Eteocles usurped the throne that was rightfully his brother’s.

Polynices died while fighting against his own homeland. He is a traitor.

Polynices claimed the throne that was rightfully his.

Who is right? Who is wrong?

Creon is responsible for the Polis. There is a blind spot in the Polis.

Creon faithfully does what is, by his own declaration, necessary for the restoration of peace and order.

Antigone is responsible for her family and its dead.

Antigone violates the laws of the Polis, causing mayhem and disorder.

Who is right? Who is wrong?

Athens prohibits proper burial of the sacrilegious, the traitors, and the suicides.

From just lord and keeper of the law, Creon becomes an obsessive tyrant; his stance precipitates three suicides.

Antigone buries her brother, thus doing what is usually reserved for men.

Creon mourns his son’s dead body, thus doing what is usually reserved for women.

Which one of the two is the tragic character?

                                                                 Konstantinos Ntellas


3 & 4 August
Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus

Translation: Nikoletta Frintzila
Direction: Martha Frintzila
Set design - Music: Vassilis Mantzoukis
Lighting design: Felice Ross
Costume design - Props & masks: Camilo Bentancor
Movement: Amalia Bennett
Assistant directors: George Vourdamis Mavrogenis, Ioanna Nasiopoulou
Scientific associate: Iossif Vivilakis
Cast: Dimitris Kataleifos (Prometheus), Maria Kechagioglou (Io), George Vourdamis Mavrogenis (Cratus), Theano Metaxa (Bia), Ilias Kounelas (Hephaestus), Kostas Vasardanis (Hermes), George Frintzilas (Oceanus), Fonέs with coaching by Marina Satti (Chorus of Oceanids).
With the participation of the Baumstrasse choir and students of the Attiko School of Ancient Greek Drama and Epidaurus Lyceum.

Director’s note:
In this performance we will focus on the power of language and spoken words, reciting the text in a rhythmical and melodious manner. We have decided to refrain from an expressive dramatic performance, instead making discourse central, insisting on a clear recitation of the words and their meaning. Of course, this approach does not entail that performers will lack theatricality and passion. The use of masks and carefully planned movement will infuse our performance with theatricality. The production will adopt a very strict motif of music and movement, allowing performers to express themselves inside a very tightly constructed aesthetic universe.

Martha Frintzila

Ancient Stadium of Epidaurus


13 & 14 July
The Eumenides by Aeschylus (ORESTEIA cycle)

Translation: Dimitris Dimitriadis
Concept – direction - performance: Stefania Goulioti
Artistic collaboration: Sylvia Liouliou
Sound design: Dimitris Kamarotos
Video: Dorijan Kolundžija
Alexander technique: Vicky Panagiotaki
Lighting design: Sakis Birbilis

Director’s note:
“Allow fear to inhabit the polis.”
Our project meets a very specific need: to delve into the depths of the human soul, exposing dreams, insecurities, and fears before a live audience; an attempt to bring together the Conscious and the Unconscious. The Furies appear as scaremongers, whispering their desires and disputes; it is then that humans come to the realization that they themselves are these very voices. These voices are contained in all the tragic heroes.

Our performance will be a challenge, a trial as far as acting is concerned, exposing, not just the visual aesthetics, but also the ideal condition wherein the audience can see what the actor imagines rather than what is merely presented on the stage. A difficult endeavour: when achieved, audience and performers connect amidst an invisible landscape, sharing a powerful experience.

Stefania Goulioti