Ta Filarakia, the Must See Comedy in Astoria (Vid & Pics)

Manos Pantelidis and Stratos Tzortzoglou in a scene from Ta Filarakia at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)

ASTORIA – Ta Filarakia- Bromance opened on April 27 at the Archdiocesan Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria and runs on Fridays-Sundays through May 27. The hilarious and thoughtful comedy is blessed with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to theatrical talent. Directed by Loukas Skipitaris, with text adaptation by Giorgos Vouros, and starring Stratos Tzortzoglou, Manos Pantelidis, and Tasos Karydis, the play is an uproarious comedy that explores male friendship or “bromance” as it is known today, loyalty, and the general value of friendship and truth.

The opportunity to see three extraordinary actors perform with perfect comic timing, as well as honest, raw emotion in this entertaining play, should not be missed.

“There is no truth without passion, without error… the truth can only be achieved with passion” is just one of the themes explored in this dynamic, dramatic comedy or a drama written funny.

“What is beautiful and great in this world has never been born of logical discussion,” one of the characters says thoughtfully in the play.

Anastasios (Tasos Karydis), divorced and separated from his child, has an outlet in “modern art” trying to escape from everyone and everything.

Stratos (Stratos Tzortzoglou) is married but has psychological problems and controlling tendencies. He butts head with Anastasios to preserve the notion of “male friendship” as he sees it.

Manos (Manos Pantelidis) tries to calm the situation, but is tortured by his mother, his stepmother, his future wife, her stepmother, and his friends.

“What is beautiful and great in this world has never been born of logical discussion,” the character says in a reflective moment.

A disagreement gradually escalates into a wild fight in a living room among the three old friends. Is the “male friendship” innocent and pure, or is it governed by selfishness, eroticism, and power?

The talented actors work so well together, their 15-year friendship is entirely believable, as they skillfully navigate through the hysterical moments, scathing lines, thoughtful asides, and physical comedy in the play.

Stratos Tzortzoglou and Tasos Karydis in a scene from Ta Filarakia at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)

Tzortzoglou is charismatic as always, delivering his lines with caustic wit. Karydis is charming and fully committed to the absurdity of his character as the art enthusiast. Pantelidis is a jittery revelation as the henpecked Manos, caught in the middle of the fight and struggling to keep it all together as his wedding day approaches.

As the tensions in the play rise, the trio strikes comedy gold with the characters realizing how much is at stake, adding a poignancy to their interaction. Ta Filarakia is definitely a must see production.

Skipitaris’ skilled direction highlights the heart and thoughtfulness of the play while giving the actors their moments to shine in each scene amid the flurry of verbal sparring. Skipitaris made his Broadway acting debut in Illya Darling with Melina Mercouri, and also appeared in the original Broadway production of Zorba, directed by Hal Prince. He has acted Off-Broadway, in National tours, and in addition to his featured role in the prime time TV series The Andros Targets, has had running roles in As the World Turns, The Guiding Light, and One Life to Live. In 1971, Skipitaris began directing. His credits in the United States and in Greece include productions of Greek classics and plays by Anton Chekhov, Tennessee Williams, George Bernard Shaw, Neil Simon, Ira Levin, and many others.

Tzortzoglou is known for his breakthrough starring role as Orestes in the films Landscape in the Mist and Ulysses’s Gaze with Harvey Keitel both directed by the late acclaimed and award-winning director Theo Angelopoulos whom Martin Scorsese described as “a masterful filmmaker” and who “talked of Stratos as someone who can absorb everything, turning this to an advantage.” Starring opposite Lena Endre (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Faithless) in Den ena kärleken och den andra by Eva Bergman, Tzortzoglou was compared to “a Stradivarius violin” by the renowned Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman (Fanny and Alexander) who added that “the great actors are great instruments.” 

He had a starring role in the film Pano, Kato kai Plagios with Irene Pappas (Electra, Z, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin) under the direction of five-time Academy Award nominee Michael Cacoyannis (Zorba the Greek, Trojan Women, Iphigenia) who described Tzortzoglou as “that rare phenomenon, a natural who combines striking good looks with that special brand of talent which blends a fiery temperament with easy personal charm.” He reached a summit of his profession with his performance as Stavros in the film which garnered him an Award as Best Actor at the Greek National Awards. 

Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures Jim Gianopulos said that “Stratos is destined for great things, he has a unique way of capturing the audiences with his charm, his authenticity and has truly mastered his art form. He is bound to succeed in the American entertainment industry,” while the Oscar-winning actress for Moonstruck Olympia Dukakis said that “Stratos has a lot to offer to the American film industry in his unique sense of acting, combing talent, intuition, passion, and determination.”

Performances from April 27-May 27, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 4 PM, at the Archdiocesan Hellenic Cultural Center, 27-09 Crescent St. in Astoria.

For tickets by phone: 718-626-5111 and +1 917-579-3707 or email: info@hellenicculturalcenter.org

Stratos Tzortzoglou and Tasos Karydis in a scene from Ta Filarakia at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)
Stratos Tzortzoglou and Manos Pantelidis in a scene from Ta Filarakia at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)
Manos Pantelidis and Tasos Karydis in a scene from Ta Filarakia at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)
Manos Pantelidis and Tasos Karydis in Ta Filarakia at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria. (Photo by TNH/Costas Bej)
Ta Filarakia at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria. (Photo by TNH/Eleni Sakellis)