Heat: the dream and nightmare of the Greek summer in one show - Wishevoke

Heat: the dream and nightmare of the Greek summer in one show

In the middle is a wooden shack made from the makeshift bars you used to see on deserted beaches before everything became shiny and trendy beach bars. On the right it says “Keep the sea and your soul clean”. Further on, a round pit pattern beach with tourist souvenirs planted in the sand with ancient Greek motifs. Reeds withered all around due to the excessive heat.

When you open the window of the small shed, an entire household full of icons and all sorts of trinkets emerges. A young woman appears scantily dressed in a T-shirt that says, “I had a strange dream last night.” Directly in front of her, but apart, two men lie down to play backgammon at a small table covered with a clear plastic tablecloth covered in lemons.

It’s hot summer weather with 48°C somewhere outside Athens; the day begins with a favorite music program. One of the two men stands up and speaks to us as a popular producer who releases songs – melodies that unite the whole city and the beaches in a relaxed, bright and loving atmosphere. He says characteristically: “The place is so bright that everything is forgiven.”

“Heat” tells the myth of the Greek summer, of a “national” brand in which everyone obviously does everything in their power to (again) show their best side, tame any evil and revere traditional hospitality . But what are we hiding?

For just over an hour, as long as the show lasts “Heat” On the small rooftop stage they come and go, sometimes talking to each other and sometimes – which is actually more common – to the audience. Young men and young women say whatever they think about the heat, the sky, the sea and the place, a place that is “blessed,” as the radio producer says. But how truly blessed is he since we like to question him?

Heat: A show that tries to understand the Greek summer Facebook Twitter
On the occasion of the Greek summer, we talk about our reality. We try to listen to her, understand her and maybe even like her. Photo: Penelope Gerasimos

The director Giannis Panagopouloswhich was based on short stories of hers Vivian StergiouHe explains: “We are a jaded generation. We are in a transition phase and are watching things with disbelief. Our art expresses this and we are all trying to figure out where we are going. Like other directors of my generation, this has kept me very busy in recent years. I was born in 1983 and belong to the Millennials, a generation that feels more disadvantaged than the last, at least financially. This creates a new reality that no longer has clear national characteristics due to the terrible population movements.

A key feature of this era was the expectations that predecessors had raised in us and the upheavals that occurred in between. We had dreams and goals and suddenly we have to end up in a reality that we didn’t expect would change. Maybe we need to take baby steps and listen to what is happening to us now. So I see this show more as an excuse to conform my inner self to the expectations I once had.

“Heat” tells the myth of the Greek summer, of a “national” brand in which everyone is obviously doing everything in their power to (again) show their best side, tame any evil and revere traditional hospitality . But what are we hiding? What is Greece today? How much trust can we have in the values ​​of our ancestors and in the old greatness?

Heat: A show that tries to understand the Greek summer Facebook Twitter
Photo: Penelope Gerasimos
Heat: A show that tries to understand the Greek summer Facebook Twitter
Photo: Penelope Gerasimos
Heat: A show that tries to understand the Greek summer Facebook Twitter
What is Greece today? How much trust can we have in the values ​​of our ancestors and in the old greatness? Photo: Penelope Gerasimos

Obviously, the show does not provide any answers, but rather lists images and fragmentary narratives of characteristic behaviors of locals, tourists and modern nomads, the so-called expats. Yiannis Panagopoulos adds: “On the occasion of the Greek summer, we talk about our reality.” We try to listen to it, understand it and maybe even like it. Finally, personally, as I matured, I stopped standing in the opposite direction and started trying to understand things.”

Based on the books “Skin” and “Blue Liquid”, which he also worked on in a previous exhibition, he created this thematic framework and tried to examine, through a specific filter, what this transitional phase of the 90s consists of, which he thinks of As the oldest in his group, he also has memories until 2020. He talks about the dream or nightmare of the Greek summer. It is no coincidence that it begins with one of the play’s most distinctive characters, an American woman who finds everything wonderful and is ready to make amends.

The author Vivian Stergiou, who was involved in the adaptation of her texts and the dramatic effect, to which the actors also contributed through improvisations, explains: “‘Skin’, which this time was based mainly on Giannis, is set in different cities and towns.” Countries , but we focused on Athens. In the end, we only highlighted 2% of the topics covered.

For example, there is a mature connection with family, because as you get older and start to understand things a little, for example, through the care of your mother and grandmother, you realize what the previous generations have done for you. That is, as you grow older, you connect through the body with the guilt and care you were given. When it comes to modern life, you can be a rich expat living in America or Europe and think Athens is very cheap, but that’s not true for everyone.”

Heat: A show that tries to understand the Greek summer Facebook Twitter
Photo: Penelope Gerasimos
Heat: A show that tries to understand the Greek summer Facebook Twitter
Photo: Penelope Gerasimos

At a climax in the show, a Greek man, based on his personal success, gives his compatriots instructions on how to become rich. Vivian says: “In my short story ‘Alexander the Great in London’ there is a Greek who hates his country but at the same time has an opinion about what we need to do to move forward and not get stuck.” He is the classic Greek who feels successful and believes, with a certain arrogance, that we should sell everything. This is a constant lurking theme that begins the show.

Giannis really wanted to focus on this dimension. In general, since there isn’t a lot of dialogue, monologues dominate, as all the characters are individuals who got into this situation. There is no physical or verbal communication, they are entities. Because of this, the narrative is fractured—constantly fractured and undermined by other elements. While you’re watching the dialogue, countless other things are happening in the scene at the same time. Essentially, we see John reading my own fragmentary narrative.

Ultimately, all elements inform each other. Of course, in this form of theater the elements are subordinate to what the director wants to say, so we all agreed on a common line in order to achieve a coherent result. Something that also comes through a lot in the show is the voyeuristic element of watching others. For me it is very important to observe and record.”

Heat: A show that tries to understand the Greek summer Facebook Twitter
We are a jaded generation. We are in a transition phase and are watching things with disbelief. Our art expresses this and we are all trying to figure out where we are going. Photo: Penelope Gerasimos

Images that haunt you: a “choreography” of sensuality with all the actors in a confined space that never ends romantically because no one touches anyone, an eerily androgynous figure of an old man crossing the room, an epitaph that suddenly turns into the middle descends from the stage, a video with images of a little girl with her family in a beach house and then her lyrical monologue as a grown woman about the meaning of life, a sunset from the past, lanterns, festive flags.

This special greeting to the Greek summer of youth and the uncertain tomorrow ends with a Dionysian finale with elements from pagan tradition and a horse of the Virgin Mary.

Further information about the show “Heat” can be found here

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