By Martina Simos.
Greek mothers are known as the matriarchs, the backbone of family, resilient and tough to boot, but age does not wear them down.
Adelaide audiences will soon have the opportunity to laugh and cry in a play that presents the antics of one Greek mother who moves in with an adult child and his wife.
As part of South Australia’s Odyssey Greek Festival, the play Mana, Mitera, Mama! which was written by George Dialegmenos in 1979, will explore common scenarios of situations when adult children promise to look after an ageing Greek mother.
The play, which is performed in the Greek language, is about a widowed mother who is convinced to sell her home to help her two sons financially, and in turn she will be cared for in her old age.
Director Dimitris Avdoulas, who also plays the role of one of the sons, said the play is still ‘relevant’ to today’s audience and will continue to be so in the future.
His challenge as a director was to present a piece of drama, and to throw in some comedy. This is the fifth Greek play Dimitris has directed.
“Families face this dilemma and have for years,” Dimitris explains.
“There is no right or wrong in these situations but hope for the best decision to be made for all concerned.
“The challenge is to take a dramatic event, make it funny and enjoyable yet ensure some messages are loud and clear.”
Drama has always been Dimitri’s passion and although he didn’t formally study drama, he has a wealth of experience which started when he was a youngster.
Born in Adelaide, his family moved to Larissa (Thessaly) but relocated to Perth when Dimitris was 13. Three years later the family returned to Adelaide. From the age of 11 he joined many cultural dance groups and community theatres (in Greece and Australia).
“Apart from high school drama classes, most of my experience comes from taking part in numerous theatre plays (in Greek) for the last 34 years,” he says.
“I have performed in Adelaide and Melbourne.”
The two-hour play has five Adelaide actors from the Greek Orthodox Community of SA (GOCSA) Theatre Group – Stella Hellander, Chrisoula Louca, Dimitris Avdoulas, Kostas Hatedakis and Alexandra Papageorgiou – and there is no lead actor.
Acting and directing is a balancing act and Dimitris says most of the directing is done at rehearsals. Dimitris is confident the audience will not only enjoy the play, but will relate to the themes of the play.
“When I am performing it’s a team effort, where the whole cast is given the opportunity to give input,” he says.
“We have managed to make it relatable to today’s era without interfering with the original much. We have also made it relatable to Adelaide.
“The aim is to ensure the audience will leave all their concerns behind for the two hours. I expect a lot of laughter. They will definitely reflect on their experience.”
- Dates: Saturday, December 9 at 7.30 pm – Sunday, December 10 at 3.30 pm.
- Venue: Olympic House, Franklin St, Adelaide.
- Tickets: $15, also available prior to each performance.
- Phone: (08) 8231 4307.