The Birds

Onassis Cultural Centre

Watch the performance live on 23 September 2016 (only in Greek). The video will not be available after the end of the performance.


The Birds is about man’s need to fly, to create a new world, to come into contact with his innermost desire. After the performances in the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, Nikos Karathanos and his remarkable group of actors are coming to Athens with a production rooted in the unsurpassable poetic power of this fantastic comedy.


The work tells the story of two people, Pisthetaerus and Euelpides, who leave Athens in search of a new city, ‘soft and plump like a feather mattress, or like the belly of a baby’. They find it in the country of the birds, which they call ‘Cloudckuckooland’. The birds welcome the two strangers. They give them wings. Together, they work with enthusiasm to build a wall up in the sky to stop the communication between gods and humans. The happiness of this new state is based on this newfound idea. Imagination, reality, humans, gods, and animals come together in a world that has the seriousness of a game, the fluidity of a dream, and the sweet melancholy of life.


This is a production for Aristophanes, praising the comedian of Attica to be heard and loved anew. A theatre group ‘that wants to fly, while falling’, seeking, daring, and confronting ‘an elusive happiness, so big that cannot be uttered or thought of’ is what this play is about.


There is English subtitles for all the performances.


Translation: Giannis Asteris
Direction: Nikos Karathanos
Adaptation: Nikos Karathanos, Giannis Asteris
Sets - Costumes: Elli Papageorgakopoulou
Music: Aggelos Triantafillou
Lighting Design: Simos Sarketzis
Movement: Amalia Bennett

With: Alexandra Aidini, Aliki Alexandraki, Fotini Baxevani, Konstantinos Bibis, Natassa Bofiliou, Maria Diakopanagiotou, Vasiliki Driva, Galini Hatzipaschali, Nikos Karathanos, Emily Koliandri, Giannis Kotsifas, Ektor Liatsos, Christos Loulis, Grigoria Metheniti, Aggelos Papadimitriou, Foivos Rimenas, Michalis Sarantis, Aris Servetalis, Giannis Sevdikalis, Aggelos Triantafillou

Live music: Sofia Efkleidou, Dimitris Klonis, Vasilis Panagiotopoulos, Marina Stalimerou, Dimitris Tigkas

Assistant Director: Marisha Triantafyllidou
Assistant to the Director: Ioanna Bitouni
Assistant to the Set Designer: Evaggelia Therianou, Myrto Kosmopoulou, Myrto Lambrou
Music Assistant: Vassilis Panagiotopoulos
Production Assistant: Tzela Christopoulou, Panos Svolakis

Hair Design: Chronis Tzimos

Make up: Alexandra Myta
Costume Construction: Dimitra Kaisari, Aphrodite Pournari
Construction of the props "Trees": Socrates Papadopoulos, Stephanos Grammenos, Daphne Iliopoulou
Set Construction: Lazaridis Scenic Studio

Sound Engineering: Kostis Pavlopoulos

Surtitles Editing: Melissanthi Giannousi
Simultaneous Surtitling: Yannis Papadakis

Line Production: Yolanda Markopoulou, Constantina Georgiou / POLYPLANITY Productions
Production: Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens

Marketing & Communication Design:


During the performance Giorgis Pavlopoulos' poem "Where the birds are?" is heard.


On September 17-18m, Giannis Sevdikalis will not take part due to his participation with the Rio 2016 Paralympics. Also, on Wednesday 21 September, Natassa Bofiliou will not take part. The actors and actresses will sing the songs of the performance.


Special thanks to: National Theatre of Greece, Megaron the Athens Concert Hall, Athens Drama School - Giorgos Theodosiades, Georgio Aggouris, Pantelis Mountis, Polyanna Vlatis, Anastasia Mikrou, Lina Stavropoulou, Stella Gaspari-Kakari and Georgina Finiki


Read more:

For The Birds, Aristophanes received the second prize in the Dionysia Festival in 414 BC. The play is considered by leading scholars to be the best of his surviving works. It was written during a time when peace was strongly undermined (Nikiios Peace Treaty); the operation in Sicily was ongoing and the political situation in Athens was not managed by competent politicians.


Aristophanes (c. 445-385 BC) is the most prominent representative of ancient comedy. Eleven of his works have survived in complete form: The Acharnians (425 BC), The Knights (424 BC), The Clouds (423 BC), The Wasps (422 BC), Peace (421 BC), The Birds (414 BC), Lysistrata (411 BC), Thesmophoriazusae (or, The Women Celebrating the Thesmophoria, 411 BC), The Frogs (405 BC), Ecclesiazusae (or, The Assemblywomen, 392 BC), and Wealth (388 BC). The comedies often focus on someone leaving a place full of machinations, poverty or war for imaginary places that allow dreams to come true.


The Birds is the first production of the Onassis Cultural Centre (OCC) of the Onassis Foundation at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival 2016. This is another collaboration between OCC and Nikos Karathanos and his wonderful team, following The Cherry Orchard, a production that not only surprised audiences but also sparked a rare discussion about stage readings of Chekhov’s oeuvre.


The production of The Birds by Karolos Koun for the Art Theatre (Theatro Technis) is a point of reference for contemporary Greek stage works: featuring a translation by Vasilis Rotas; sets and costumes designed by Greek painter Yannis Tsarouchis; music composed by Manos Hadjidakis; and choreography by Rallou Manou. The production received its premiere in 1959. The rest of the performances were cancelled by order of Konstantinos Tsatsos, Minister to the Presidency of the Government. It was staged again in 1960 in its final form. This was the first Art Theatre production to be presented abroad, receiving the first prize in the Festival of the Nations in Paris (1962).


‘More than any other kind of poetic language, Aristophanes brings us closer to the human condition. If through tragedy we become familiar with the quality and the content of ideas of classical Greece, through comedy we gain insight on the kind of person who conceived these, bringing them to life.’ Nikos Hourmouziadis


The Birds are perhaps the first work of utopian literature.’ Stathis Dromazos


‘Comedy is often the writer’s sob, when he knows that he cannot or is not allowed to write a tragedy.’ Pavlos Matesi