Birds, under the direction of Nikos Karathanos, “flies” to America after the sold out performance in Epidaurus and Athens in 2016. Also garnering 44,000 views online from 110 countries, it is from this phenomenal reception that the cast of Birds will perform at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, from 2 to 13 May.
Polyplanity Production is proud to be the executive producer of this demanding project and excited to present this theatrical work to a New York audience.
The OCC-Athens, operating under the overarching principle of exporting contemporary Greek culture, continues its overseas activities. In its eighth years of operation, over 40 Greek theatrical productions, including dance and music, have already traveled abroad.
Message from Afroditi Panagiotakou, Director of Onassis Foundation:
Greece at its best. A phrase which encapsulates everything the Onassis Foundation has set out to achieve, especially beyond the borders of Greece. Our mission remains the same: releasing potential and working towards shaping a society of active citizens. Culture, health and education are the vehicles that will get us to our destination. Through the arts, we seek not only to produce culture but also to change it, and to change our personal culture, too – the way we do things.
Empowered by Nikos Karathanos' gaze, Aristophanes' Birds speak of a utopian society, a society-that-cannot-be. They set off our thoughts and emotions about democracy, freedom and equality – a vision that’s always worth fighting for. They talk about everything that's so profoundly human in the personal sphere, yet wide-ranging in its social dimension. At the Onassis Foundation, we want to think and act as engaged citizens. We seek to kindle conversations that take us out of our comfort zone, making clear that nothing can be taken for granted. In times like these, we all have to strive to put Man at the epicentre of every decision we take, large and small.
The mortals and the birds got together and staged a rebellion, what about us?
2,500 years ago, Aristophanes imagined two people, bloated, tired, exasperated with life. They left the world of men, and took a ‘high turn’ towards the world of birds, establishing a city in the clouds. Everyone emigrated there, even the Gods themselves, and thus came to be their very own (the original!) “Cloud cuckoo land”, where humans, gods, beasts and birds lived together – with their heads, literally, “in the clouds”.
All these years that have gone by, people have never ceased living, running, going places. As a theatrical troupe, we are no different; we have treated this production not as a play but as an interactive weird and outrageous experience, as a silent movie desperately trying to become a “talkie”. It is the experience of people always “on the run”. It is the experience of people always migrating.
We, like Aristophanes’ citizens, are a migratory species. So, just like in Birds we celebrate the desire to fly, our attempt to elevate ourselves. That is why I wanted Birds to be people instead of animals, people with flaws. Such is nature, such is life.
Aristophanes encapsulates all our dreams. His words reveal an entire universe. In Birds he takes us on a flight to the incredible; to an earth-shattering revolution, to the Big Bang, the all-generating explosion, the longing for another life.
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
Amalia Bennett, Kostas Berikopoulos, Maria Diakopanagiotou, Vasiliki Driva, Nikos Karathanos, Emily Koliandri, Ektor Liatsos, Christos Loulis, Grigoria Metheniti, Konstantinos Bibis, Foivos Rimenas, Michalis Sarantis, Aris Servetalis, Giannis Sevdikalis, Elena Topalidou, Marissa Triantafyllidou, Aggelos Triantafillou, Haris Frangoulis, Galini Hatzipaschali
Live music: Sofia Efkleidou, Michalis Katachanas, Dimitris Klonis, Vasilis Panagiotopoulos, Dimitris Tigkas.
Assistant Director: Marissa Triantafyllidou
Assistant to the Director: Ioanna Bitouni
Assistant to the Set Designer: Myrto Lamprou
Music Assistant: Vassilis Panagiotopoulos
Production Assistant: Tzela Christopoulou
Hair Design: Chronis Tzimos
Make-up: Alexandra Mita
Sound Engineering: Kostis Pavlopoulos
Stage Manager: Giannis Kritikos
Construction of the props "Trees": Socrates Papadopoulos, Stephanos Grammenos, Daphne Iliopoulou
Costume Construction: Dimitra Kaisari, Despoina Makarouni, Aphrodite Pournari
Costume repair: Lena Papamichail
Set Construction: Lazaridis Scenic Studio
Surtitles translation of Giannis Asteris’ text, in English: Orfeas Apergis
Executive Producer: POLYPLANITY Productions / Yolanda Markopoulou, Vicky Strataki
Coproduced by St. Ann's Warehouse and the Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens