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“Memories of Smyrna” at the Ancient Herodion Atticus Theatre By: Yanna Darilis

 

On Sunday September 1st 2019, The musical “Memories of Smyrna”, based on a story by producer, journalist, Basilia Zervou, was presented at the ancient theatre of Herodion Atticus, in Athens, Greece. The talented director Dimitris Malissovas, and brilliant writer, Tanas Xarokopou, showcased a heartfelt story told through the new generation, about a Greek family and the days leading up to the ethnic cleansing and massacre of Greeks by the Turks of 1922.

The performance moved the packed ancient Greek theatre, as the actors masterfully portrayed the story of the great grandson of an Asia Minor Greek musician, who inherits the letters and music after his grandmother’s passing. He retells the story of his great grandfather and grandmother’s tragic love story, and displacement of her family, through the saved letters and the music of the Greeks of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). We relive the tragic events of the Greek Genocide by the Turks between 1912-1922.

The choreography of the chorus by Theodores Pana, brilliantly features the souls who where lost, and echo the stories through the other side by a “Zombie” inspired angle.

The great performances of the main cast included: Tassos Halkias, Leda Protopsaltis, Christina Alexandiani, Konstantinos Giannakopoulos, Valeria Kouroupi, Lefteris Eleftheriou, Stavros Nikolaidis, and ArisPlaskasovitis.

The production features the magnificent Queen of Greek folk music, Eleni Vitali, who’s voice shakes one’s spine, and peaks emotions.Joining her, was the great performer from Izmir, Turkey, Fide Koksal, who presented songs inspired by both Greek and Turkish cultures. Panos Patagiannis, also performed songs that touched the soul.

“Remembering Smyrna” featured the horror of what the Greeks experienced during the upheaval, however also presented the harmonious relationship between the Greeks and Ottomans amongst other cultures, who where living together in the same community for hundreds of years (Since the conquest and occupation of the Ottoman Empire in 1453), prior to the political turmoil that lead to 1912. The production gives the message to the new generation to pass on the stories, and to remember the tragic events, and lives lost during this turmoil of ethnic cleansing and political upheaval.

The Cast includes:  Leda Alexandris, Claus mountain, Elina Giannakis, Rebecca Giannakis, Vivianna Giannoutsou Helen Gioufi, Tasoula Deligianni Stella Efstratiadi Thomas Kotzamanis Tasos KONTOGIORGOU George Mantas, Chrysanthi Tzovani, Helen Mafoutsi, Elias Michael, Helen Batsoulis, Georgie Papadopoulos, Maria Papadopoulou Margarita Stravoudaki , Dimitris Fritzelas.

Band “TZOUM” : Rigas Borgias Basso, Nikos Xydis electric - acoustic guitar, baglama, bouzouki & percussion, Natasa Pavlatos percussion, Nikos Samaras bouzouki, jour & trumpet, Dimitris Sintos piano & lute, taanou chinemis and thanou chelebi) on the oud and Manos Achalinotopoulos on clarinet & traditional winds.

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