Vasiliki Troufakou performs all the roles in Euripides' Helen, directed by Ioli Andreadi, at the Roes Theater in Athens, October 14-16. Photo: Ilias Kotsireas
ATHENS – After the great success of Ion which was presented in 2017-2019 on the North Slope of the Acropolis, at The Tank Theater in New York, the Ancient Theaters of Philippi and Dodoni, the Museum of Delphi, the Alpha Theater, and on tour all over Greece to great reviews, Ioli Andreadi returns to Ancient Drama, focusing again on Euripides and directing a single actor performing multiple characters. Euripides’ Helen, starring Vasiliki Troufakou, will be presented at the Roes Theater in Athens for three performances only – October 14, 15, and 16, 9 PM. Troufakou performs all the roles in the play, moving impressively from one hero to another, utilizing her voice and body as the only means of transformation between characters. Joining her onstage is the leading Greek percussionist Nikos Touliatos.
They say that an old bard, Stisihoros, six generations before Euripides, in one of his poems accused Helen of leaving her husband Menelaus for Paris and with her sin she destroyed both Greece and Troy. But Helen became a goddess after her death. That is why Stisichoros was punished with blindness the moment he wrote this unjust poem. And he regretted it. And he wrote a new poem, a new song.
In it, he reconstructed his accusations, using the ancient myth, according to which Helen never set foot in Troy, only her shadow did, while she herself was banished by the gods to Egypt, where she waited for Menelaus to return from the war and for them to leave together for their homeland. And when Stisichoros wrote this new song, he immediately regained his sight.
In this version of Euripides’ Helen for solo actress, Helen arrives on stage, alone and blind like an ancient performer of epic poetry, but with other, Eleusinian forces awakening within her, prompting her to tell her story, the story of a shadow.
Director Ioli Andreadi noted that “Euripides’ Helen is not a tragicomedy. It is a frighteningly timely and heartbreaking piece of work. A tragic work that speaks of the ‘here and now’. A work for the woman. And a play about war. About the radical innocence of women and the way their fate is so often woven solely through the decisions and violence of men. A play about the futile madness of war and the empty shirts it gives away as trophies. A play about the absurdity of battle and the wounds of love. A play about beauty as a source of unhappiness.”
Andreadi continued: “I choose this ‘woman’s play’ to be performed entirely by a female actress, Vasiliki Troufakou, facing multiple historical roles within an hour, male and female, younger and older, because I want us to explore, against the interpretive and directorial stereotypes, the female identity and the female body as a multiform scenic experience and as a source of connection to the root of the tragic.”
“A companion on this scenic route as a valuable interlocutor is the rhythm through the ritualistic soundscape of the percussion of Nikos Touliatos,” Andreadi noted.
Tickets are 15 euro general admission and 12 euro reduced – student.
Helen, like Ion, by Euripides directed by Iolis Andreadis, are performances created at the International Workshop of Ancient Drama of the Philippi Festival under the Artistic Direction of Theodoris Gonis.
The play, Helen, at the Roes Theater takes place with the kind support of the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation.
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