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Culture

Broadway World Raves about Andreadi and Asproulis’ Play ‘The Cenci Family’

NEW YORK – Ioli Andreadi and Aris Asproulis’ new play “The Cenci Family” received high praise from Peter Danish in Broadway World for its recent “stunning” premiere at the Tank Theater in New York.

Broadway World described the play as featuring intense themes like “rape, murder, incest, parricide, [and] war against the Pope.” Originally deemed unstageable due to its radical themes, “The Cenci Family” arrived in New York in a remarkable new production.

Greek playwrights Ioli Andreadi and Aris Asproulis offered a fresh perspective on this classic legend, which has inspired various adaptations by notable figures such as Alexander Dumas, Stendhal, Percy Shelley, Ginastera, and even Alfred Nobel. This version, inspired by Antonin Artaud and directed by Andreadi, marks her fifth production at the Tank Theater in the past five years, following “Euripides ION” in 2019, “Filiki Eteria: The Brotherhood behind the Revolution” in 2022, and both “Artaud / Van Gogh” and “Bone” in 2023. The Tank Theater is renowned for its innovative productions, and this play was no exception.

The audience at ‘The Cenci Family’ at the Tank Theater in New York City. Photo: @thetank

Broadway World highlighted the challenge of standing out in New York City’s vibrant theater scene, noting that “The Cenci Family” accomplished just that with its unique and engaging production.

The play, set in the present but chronicling a 16th-century event, utilized a flat, frame-like stage that trapped the actors in a narrow, depthless space. This staging made all the action “in-your-face” yet compressed.

The creative team excelled in set design, makeup, costume, and lighting, creating a world that reflects cruelty and force. The story revolves around Count Francesco Cenci, one of Rome’s wealthiest noblemen, who is informed that he will be implicated in a murder.

Thanos Koniaris delivered a chilling performance as the count, embodying malevolence, while Konstantina Takalou seamlessly handled multiple roles with a range of pathos-filled expressions.

Actors Konstantina Takalou, Thanos Koniaris, and Ifigeneia Karamitrou in a scene from ‘The Cenci Family’ at the Tank Theater in New York City. Photo: @thetank

The actors employed highly stylized movements, developed through a process that began with yoga, according to director Andreadi. These movements became an integral part of the storytelling, enhancing the narrative.

Andreadi’s style, reminiscent of Robert Wilson’s but more integrated into the storytelling, was praised for becoming a part of the play’s overall gestalt. This method was particularly effective as the story grew more lurid, with the count planning gruesome crimes against his family.

Ifigeneia Karamitrou’s performance as Beatrice was riveting, using expressive eyes and movements to convey the character’s struggle and determination to confront her father.

Actors Konstantina Takalou, Ifigeneia Karamitrou, and Thanos Koniaris in a scene from ‘The Cenci Family’ at the Tank Theater in New York City. (Photo: @thetank)

The play’s layered narrative, with dream-like gaps, engaged the audience fully, requiring a first-rate cast to pull it off, which “The Cenci Family” had in abundance. The seamless portrayal of countless characters by the extraordinary cast earned universal acclaim.

Originally staged in Athens as part of the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation’s 2015-2016 theater season, “The Cenci Family” continued its success at the Tank, thanks to the collaboration with the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation.

Described as “dangerous and daring,” this timeless and contemporary production captivated audiences, leaving them eager for more from this fruitful collaboration with the Tank.

“The Cenci Family” was presented from May 2-4 at the Tank NYC, with sponsorship from the George and Victoria Karelias Foundation and under the auspices of the Consulate General of Greece in New York.

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