The cat woman of the Sicilian family - Wishevoke

The cat woman of the Sicilian family

The “You, the animal machine” is a performance that stays in your memory several times, at the end you feel that the masterful interweaving of emotions that it evokes has touched you deeply and you realize how lucky you were to see such an elaborately staged story.

It is based on her book of the same name Eleni Sikelianos, in which the author describes the life of Eleni Papamarkou’s grandmother, the golden Greek woman who married five times, had three children, was a burlesque dancer nicknamed Melena, the Leopard Girl, who lived on the edge of madness, excess and selfishness. Destruction. The theater group Nostalgia immerses itself in the exuberant universe of its history in a shop window in different times and parts of the planet.


“THE Sicilian was special She was generous and supportive throughout the entire process, welcoming the project and the team with warmth and keen interest. It’s the first time I’ve adapted a literary text to the stage by a living author, and I feel lucky. This story is a masterpiece.

The protagonist played steadfastly with the conventions of society while at the same time crossing it naked, exposing herself, fighting her way through the intense life of the big cities and spending the last chapter of her life in the desert, where she faced nature and death at the same time “Up the path to yourself,” says the show’s director, Tonia Ralli, who has created wonderful troupes in her 24-year career.


The actress Chrysanthi Phytiza introduces us to the book of the same name and explains that the theater loves stories that started optimistically but went wrong. “We play the story of a resilient, tough femme fatale, a dominant woman Moulin Rougewhich inspired fantasies in men in smoke-filled halls that their ancestors started from the amber plains of Anatolia, traveled through Greece, amused themselves with blues and rebetika, lived in Bohemian Europe to end up on the shores of America.

Konstantina Skandali describes how Tonia Ralli led the six-member troupe from the first meetings to experiment with ideas, images, feelings and concerns that emerged in the flow of the literary text. “We presented a variety of ideas, improvisations and suggestions until the project took shape and substance. This is all an internal team trip. Like on an airplane, we captains accompany you on a journey full of images and emotions. The role came and found me – and it wasn’t just one.

I am Melena, the Catwoman, young and older, in the desert after retiring from dancing. I address her vulnerable human condition and everything that goes with it: the distance between the innocence of childhood and the guilt of adulthood, the changes that time brings to the body and personality, the trauma that she carries, the inability to shake it off.

When I look at the pictures of my ancestors, I go back in time, I am fascinated, I notice similarities and differences, I become aware of the distance, that there was once a world without us and there will be another without us. The universe in which this particular story takes place and the theme of trauma shocked me. I was troubled by how a person could be free but not dangerous, how one could endure trauma without passing it on to one’s children.

THE Margarita Alexiadis explained how the roles alternate. “I remember many beautiful and creative moments from rehearsals. We have overcome our limitations, created a common language, and transferred the project into our everyday lives. At the end of the rehearsal we feel satisfaction and optimism. There are basically no fixed roles in the series. I generally represent the mother figure.

I play Bertha, the mother of the leopard girl, and elsewhere Elaine, the mother of Eleni Sikelianos. I also coexist in a burlesque ensemble. The world of burlesque was a gray area at the time. The women who worked in this area lived on the margins, becoming something like circus monsters, as Sicilianos describes them. Injuries and wounds are part of their world, but combined with an excess of soul power and the fight for survival. My participation was the starting point for a personal journey in which I sought and recovered memories of my own family.

THE Elena Mengreli describes how they, as actors, are in constant interaction and further development. “The heroine’s stage personality is based on very personal tasks. The female characters in the play are rich in contrast, therefore human and resilient. Despite their adversities and shortcomings, they dance on the stage of life with a strong sense of self-preservation and survival, which I see as a lesson.

My great-grandmother may not have dressed up as a leopard, but she wandered, traveled, worked, endured, resisted, lived and created the chain by which I could unravel my own story.”

Nadia Margariti It speaks of an exemplary camaraderie that inspired security to share very personal, sensitive stories. “The process of discovering Melena was a belated attempt to discover my grandmother. We are all looking for our grandmothers. We think of them as portraits in photographs, we remember their shrunken bodies in old age, their broken voices, we perhaps canonize them, we see them as asexual beings, as fairy-tale characters, as if they had no desires, juices, frustrations, Nerves, fantasies, pity, grace, dreams.

My grandmother was a farmer, had five children and was widowed at the age of 45. But that’s the summary of her life. Was it painful during her work? Has she ever been with any other man besides my grandfather? Have you ever been sexually abused? Have you ever sung at a festival? Did he dance? I never found out because I didn’t ask. All I know is that she didn’t smoke but secretly drank Tsipouro – I laughed so hard when her daughter, my mother, found out. At 90 he said he was tired so he died.

Finally, Athena Wasborn was born and raised in New York. “My ancestors lived in Athens after they were expelled from Constantinople in 1920,” he says. He loves the theater, which he attended from a young age when he visited Greece with his family in the summer: “I chose to live in Athens, at the crossroads of cultures.” And to take part in the Greek theater when it is its myth weaves and gives him flesh and bones.

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