Athens and Epidaurus Festival 2012
"Last year we talked about finding order in pessimism. So what should we talk about now that we are one step further on, or rather one step further down? About rage or indignation or both? Or maybe, despite everything, about hope? Is one step further far enough? Can art really help? Is it necessary? Or has this crushing crisis rendered it useless and redundant? Can art alleviate the anxiety? Or just help us see things from a different perspective, distance ourselves a bit, acquire another sensibility, while still being ready for the battles ahead? And while a thousand questions remain unanswered and everything points to us being all at sea with no safe haven in sight - and if the state of things is gauged in terms of public debt, recession, the cult of austerity, the new poverty and unemployment - then on the other hand the search for a new identity, dignity, transcendence, and opportunities for young people can only emerge as the necessary counterweight. "This is the enigma of art, that for art to open up we need to confront those things that keep us closed. [...] Art is the ultimate creative, productive force, because it forces us to say, to see and to hear that which, without art, would not be said, seen or heard." (Kostas Axelos) Once again, the Athens and Epidaurus Festival becomes a platform for encountering and communicating with the Other and the alternative, incorporating the Greek situation into an international context by rejecting complacent and self-serving isolation: By offering ample space to the utopian, the humorous and the poetic, by drawing close to the dream of equating art with life (as in the case of Zimmermann & de Perrot from Switzerland, or the rising star of the Argentinean theatre Claudio Tolcachir), by joining in the Strindberg Year celebrations (in which Dimitris Lignades and the Schaubühne theatre both confront Miss Julie), by an all-out attack on the consumer society (Rodrigo Garcίa), and by a series of on-stage presentations that prove the rule that art is no longer merely about beauty (such as Alain Buffard's parody of military discipline). Meanwhile, Dimitris Papaioannou marshals his core materials for a meditation on personal and Greek identity against the backdrop of the Crisis. Young Greek artists will once again be experimenting and blazing trails this year, whether they are in search of happiness (Yiannis Kalavrianos), paraphrasing History (Lena Kitsopoulou), returning to Dionysios Solomos' Lambros for inspiration (Sylvia Liouliou), or remaining loyal to tradition (Simos Kakalas). The Festival will also be honouring Markos Vamvakaris and Domna Samiou. Following on from I am dying like a country, which represented the Athens Festival at some of Europe's most important cultural events, Michael Marmarinos and Dimitris Dimitriadis have collaborated afresh on an "opera without music". "I am dying like a country and We and the Greeks were both about a historical cycle drawing to a close, and the sense we have - or don't have - of its ending. The country is ‘dying' because it does not accept the other, whom it considers as a stranger and its enemy, but who is in reality its new face, its new identity now that the former one is dead." (Dimitris Dimitriadis, The historical conscience) But history did not end; it never ends, it is simply manifesting itself as a crisis, primarily of values. And when a society is brought face to face with critical problems, it usually works to the benefit of art and culture. When people are struck by uncertainty, they find refuge in art. They acquire antibodies and a critical viewpoint by tackling their problems in new creative, sensitive and imaginative ways."YORGOS LOUKOSCHAIRMAN & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR Don't miss this marvelous opportunity to experience the Greek/ Athens & Epidaurus Festival in Athens, Greece. Check the official Athens and Epidaurus Festival 2012 website for schedule details.