By George Tserdanis.
We went several months without enjoying a Hellenic Art Theatre performance in Sydney and the deprivation was finally compensated with the premiere of the comedy play Lumbago on Friday, November 17 at The Greek Theatre in Marrickville.
The theatre group will be holding performances of Lumbago at The Greek Theatre until December 3.
Manolis Korres’ play Lumbago is described as a contemporary modern Greek play with delightful humour, authentic scenes, and real characters that we can recognise even among people we know, or have known… if we don’t already resemble some of them ourselves, whether they are male or female.
From the very start, everyone involved performed their role excellently and gave very convincing deliveries on stage. Among the protagonists was Nikos, played by John Daviskas. Nikos was a businessman who was facing bankruptcy due to Lumbago, confined to his armchair at home.
While the house belongs to his well-meaning wife, he has fraudulently mortgaged it and is threatened with foreclosure, along with all of their possessions.
Nick’s wife, Mary, decides to take the whole situation into her own hands in order to save her home, and her husband’s business. This can be seen through Mary’s actions and achievements later in the play. She not only gains success, but saves her business, home and marriage as well. Mary manages to make Nick’s girlfriend her friend, drawing her close while driving her away from Nick for good. Still, Mary remains by Nick’s side, despite everything that is weighing on him, leaving the audience confused.
Audiences were left asking, if they themselves could imitate Mary, showing both their ability and enviable generosity of spirit.
In this regard I even asked, after the performance, the protagonist Marion Anthi, if in her personal life she could imitate Mary, and not only rescue, but also keep her philandering husband close to her. The answer I received was: Probably not and it depends.
Returning to the stage to enjoy at least descriptively, Mimika Valaris as Olga, Mary’s aunt, who has come to visit from Crete and understandably dislikes Nick. Nick can’t stop pushing her away and calling her old. Nick is annoyed by his own antics and Olga’s hot innuendos, which constantly amuse the audience.
Pavlidis, an employee of Nick’s bankrupt business and his right hand man, plans to get even after the bankruptcy. The role is perfectly played by the talented Michael Falaras, whose presence has been missing from our community theatre productions for several years.
Finally, we see the impressive interventions of Evelyn Tsavalas, who convincingly plays Rena, Mary’s friend, excited by the fact that she has fallen in love with a banker, finally having the husband she has been waiting for all these years.
The characters and everything that surrounds them is interspersed with humour and satire, bringing forth a good deal of laughter throughout the performance. Since the beginning, while presenting real situations, the play aims to help the old people remember while teaching the young.
After the performance, I asked the tireless director, Stavros Economides, who has presented great works such as this uninterruptedly for decades, “what was the message he wanted to send his audiences by choosing the comedy Lumbago?”
Spontaneously, and totally convinced of the message of this play, he answered: “An irrefutable fact, of course. But that doesn’t mean that this is always the case…”