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Literature

Filiki Eteria by Ioli Andreadi and Aris Asproulis

December 18, 2021

In this special year, the celebration of the bicentennial of the start of the Greek Revolution led to the publication of several books highlighting the history and impact of the fight for freedom from Ottoman oppression. Several events and performances also paid tribute to the Greek Revolution, including Filiki Eteria: The Brotherhood behind the Revolution by Ioli Andreadi and Aris Asproulis.

The play, presented for the first time in the summer of 2021 and directed by Andreadi, was created especially for the Piraeus Group Cultural Foundation (PIOP), in the context of Piraeus Bank’s efforts celebrating the 200th anniversary of 1821. Based on research conducted by the two playwrights, the play is the pair’s twelfth theatrical work. It combines historical events with fiction to unfurl the melancholy thread that runs through the lives of the founders of the Filiki Eteria, from the passionate vision of national independence to their hard and lonely experience of personal betrayal.

Filiki Eteria: The Brotherhood behind the Revolution by Ioli Andreadi and Aris Asproulis. Photo: Courtesy of the authors

The play toured the nine open spaces of the PIOP Network of Museums throughout Greece and at the Historic Archive of the Foundation in Athens with great success and will be presented with English supertitles in the spring of 2022 at The TANK Theater in Manhattan.

Andreadi and Asproulis’ Filiki Eteria has now been published by PIOP and Kappa Ekdotiki and is available in Greek bookstores and online. Combining historical studies, analyses, articles and items with fiction, adding fragments of Rigas, Valaoritis, Byron, Seferis, and member of the Sacred Band Georgios Lassanis, and inspired by musical and visual references of the time, the new play Filiki Eteria: The Brotherhood behind the Revolution, delves beneath the official historical narratives and, in parallel with the rich mystical veil that covers the role of the Filiki Eteria, asks the silent question that remains concerning the lives of the people who inspired it. It seeks the human dimension of the historical figures, behind the inanimate frames of our collective memory and their stereotypical representations. It explores how a heroic personality is born and how the enormous power needed to oppose tyranny at any cost is carved into a human being.

The National Herald spoke to Asproulis about the book. When asked how long it took from idea to publication, he told TNH that it took “two years” to put together.

Filiki Eteria: The Brotherhood behind the Revolution by Ioli Andreadi and Aris Asproulis. Photo: Courtesy of the authors

The book also includes a preface by University of Athens Department of Theatrical Studies Associate Professor Grigoris Ioannidis. He writes [translated here by TNH]: “The thorough research and manic diving of the two authors, Ioli Andreadi and Aris Asproulis, into the texts, the correspondence, and the long bibliography of the Revolution, brought to light not only the life of the three Friends, but something deeper, purer, and more substantial, something which does not only concern the specific individuals, but can be extended to the other fighters as well, until it interprets the unexplained center of the Revolution. What is this? This is the ‘Holy Love’, a concept of romantic insight originally taken from Ypsilantis, which spread to all the initiates in the Struggle. We owe exclusively to the two authors the emergence of this shocking idea from the spiritual subterranean vaults of our nation to the surface of our theatrical life.”

Filiki Eteria: The Brotherhood behind the Revolution by Ioli Andreadi and Aris Asproulis, in Greek, is available online: https://bit.ly/3376Gqf.

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