The global premiere of Makriyannis Unplugged, adapted, directed and performed by Yorgos Karamihos, takes place at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse on March 26. Photo by Panagiotis Malliaris
LOS ANGELES – The global premiere of Makriyannis Unplugged will take place at UCLA’s Freud Playhouse on March 26. The celebrated Yorgos Karamihos (The Durrells in Corfu; Fugitive Pieces; Like Chef, Like God) stars in and directs this exciting new work, which adapts selections from the Memoirs of General Ioannis Makriyannis, a major hero of the Greek Revolution. The performance is sponsored by the UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture (UCLA SNF Hellenic Center) and is offered under the auspices of the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Embassy of Greece in the United States, and the Consulate General of Greece in Los Angeles.
Makriyannis Unplugged offers an exciting retelling of the life and deeds of one of the most important figures of the era, who played a key role in the Revolution and in the first few decades of the nascent Greek state. Makriyannis’ life journey did not only transform an Ottoman subject into a free Greek citizen, but also made a soldier and a merchant into a major figure of Greek literature. Having learned how to read and write specifically in order to compose his Memoirs, Makriyannis offered an unforgettable account of the Greek struggle for national, political, and cultural freedom.
George Seferis, the Greek poet and Nobel laureate, who was a fervent admirer of Makriyannis’ ethical stance and artistic achievement, remarked: “The content of Makriyannis’ writing is the never-ending and tragic struggle of a human being who— carrying deep within him all the instincts of his nation— seeks liberty, justice, humanity.”
“Makriyannis has always been a beacon in my life,” said Yorgos Karamihos. “A beacon of compassion, clarity, struggle, creativity, and love. He reinvented himself in order to achieve his ultimate goal.”
Commenting on his artistic vision for the performance, Karamihos stated: “I decided to create a raw performance that resonates Makriyannis’ spirit and experience. That is why I called the project Unplugged. I plan to use as little as possible the technological advances of our time, including electrical power and ‘modern devices.’ I want everything on stage to appear handmade and fresh. I want the sounds, the images and even the smells of the show to feel organic and natural.”
Following the UCLA opening, Makriyannis Unplugged will travel to Vancouver, Canada for an April 3 performance under the sponsorship of the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University, and then to Greece, where two final performances on April 14 will be hosted by the Gennadius Library of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. The Athens performance is supported by a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Greece.
Yorgos Karamihos is an acclaimed actor, director, and acting teacher, born and raised in Northern Greece. He graduated from the Ionian University with a degree in Philosophy & History, as well as from The Greek National Theatre Academy. In 2012, he received a Fulbright Scholarship as an exceptional artist to attend the full-time program at the Stella Adler Academy in Los Angeles, where he was immediately offered a position to teach his own acting technique on Ancient Greek drama and Anton Chekhov as well as theater history. His credits as an actor include over thirty theatre productions from ancient Greek dramas and Shakespeare to A. Chekhov, Tennessee Williams, and other classical and modern plays. He has also appeared in more than 30 feature films and numerous TV series such as The Durrells in Corfu, Bulletproof, and Genius (Picasso) among others. Karamihos has also directed multiple theater plays in several major venues in Greece and the USA. In 2008, he received the national award as Best Stage Actor of Greece. He has translated plays and books from English, French, and Spanish into Greek and has published several plays.
The premiere of Makriyannis Unplugged concludes a multi-faceted series of events hosted by the UCLA SNF Hellenic Center on the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution, which included lectures, book discussions, and the co-organizing of the international conference “New Dimensions of 1821” (November 2021) in collaboration with the California State University-Sacramento, UC Berkeley, and Stanford University.
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