‘Twenty Two’: An important part of community theatre

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“A wonderful performance that will remain in our memory for a long time,” one attendee at the performance of “TWENTY-TWO” in Melbourne, Victoria said.

“A show made with a lot of love and passion,” another said.

“You leave the show with tears in your eyes, and then you discuss for hours with your friends true stories of that time, as they were told by your grandmother, grandfather, father, neighbour from Smyrna,” another attendee said.

More than 260 spectators on two sold-out nights attended “TWENTY-TWO”, produced by the adult group of the Greek Community of Melbourne’s Creative Drama & Arts Centre, directed by Jeremy Artis, on Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23, 2023.

‘Twenty Two’ play.

The work consisted of songs and excerpts from the following important works of Greek literature, theatrical discourse, and historical study: “A piece of heaven” by Katerina Zarokosta, “The Dead Are Waiting” by Dido Sotiriou, “The Common Word” by Elli Papadimitriou, “The Courtyard of Miracles” by Iakovos Kambanellis and “The Exodus” Testimonies of Refugees of the Centre for Asia Minor Studies.

For more than sixty minutes, the actors of the performance tried to translate the drama of the hundreds of thousands of refugees of the Asia Minor Catastrophe into speech and movement. In an emotionally charged hall, the audience watched their journey unfold on stage, from the Greek cafes and residences of the “lost homelands” of 1922 to the refugee houses and slums of Athens and Thessaloniki in the late 1950s.

The response of the viewers exceeded expectations and their comments inspire and stimulate the contributors of the show to continue our creative course.

‘Twenty Two.’

Admittedly, the performance of our great actor Antonis Baxevanidis was unique. His appearance on stage was a valuable addition to the cultural life and history of Melbourne’s community theatre. The music and voices of Achilleas Yankoullis and Nikos Koutsaliotis, which were an integral part of the performance, also contributed significantly to the immersive atmosphere.

“This project is an important reference point for the Creative Centre in its almost decade-long presence in Melbourne’s cultural events,” commented its coordinator, Katerina Poutachidou.

“A big thank you to each and every one of you in the audience who support us. And a big thank you to the families of the performers of the show for “lenting” them to me for so many hours all these weeks” the director of the show, Jeremy Artis, said.

‘Twenty Two.’

It is worth noting that the Creative Drama & Arts Centre is open to everyone, regardless of their level of knowledge of the Greek language. To paraphrase the great American poet, critic and lover of the Greek language, Ezra Pound, “Theatre does not consist of words, but of people who use words.”

A major step in this direction of extroversion and openness to the wider community of Melbourne were the English surtitles that accompanied the performance, and which received particularly positive comments from the audience, as people who do not know Greek were given the opportunity for the first time to watch the play comfortably.

For the record, it should be noted that in the performance “TWENTY-TWO“, which took place on the weekend, April 22-23, at the Clayton Community Centre Theatre, the following actors took part: Antonis Baxevanidis, Athina Giannou, Giannis Lyris, Jeremy Artis, Ioanna Kothroula, Lemonia Schoina, Maria Bakalidou, Niki Skouri, Pam Pollali, Panos Apostolou and Syrmo Kapoutsi.

Information by e-mail: theatre@greekcommunity.com.au and by phone: (03) 9662 2722

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