(Lazaros Theodorakopoulos in rehearsal. Photo by Nico Sanin)
ASTORIA – A rare production of The Night Just Before the Forests by the acclaimed French playwright Bernard-Marie Koltès, translated into English by Amin Erfani, concluded its run at the Archdiocesan Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria on October 9.
The tour-de-force solo play, directed by Bill Bowers, was produced by and starred Lazaros Theodorakopoulos.
Originally from Greece, Theodorakopoulos has been an actor in New York City for six years and began collaborating on this production with Bowers in 2021. Both studied acting at the legendary William Esper Studio.
The Night Just Before the Forests, according to its description, is “an unstoppable monologue that must be uttered. Not sure where it came from. As definite and unknown as love, life, and death is. Will you find the words to say what you want to say? Will you manage to love, live, or die? Will you manage to finish this monologue?”
Theodorakopoulos proved more than equal to the task of this challenging play in its Astoria run. He not only manages to finish the monologue, but creates an entire world through the text and through his command of physical theatre and the use of props, drawing the audience along on this journey at a frenetic pace. Theodorakopoulos gives a dynamic performance in this thought-provoking play that is unrelenting for the actor.
He told The National Herald that he is planning to take the solo show on tour.
The Night Just Before the Forests was Koltès’ first widely acclaimed play, produced at the Avignon Festival in 1977 and subsequent productions were staged in collaboration with director Patrice Chéreau. Koltès and Chereau would create groundbreaking work together at the La Mama Experimental Theater Club in New York City. Koltès died of complications from AIDS in 1989.
Theodorakopoulos was born and raised in Thessaloniki and has worked professionally as an actor since 2012 in Greece and in New York. He told TNH that, “the text of the play” inspired him to do the show and that “this play is something I have worked on and I believe that I will keep working on. It is not something with a beginning or an end.”
NEW YORK – The Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) and Theodore’s Books presented an in-depth discussion with Professor Emily Wilson, a renowned classicist, author, and translator, on December 1 hosted by Consul General of Greece in New York Dinos Konstantinou at the Consular residence.
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