Synopsis The curtain is still drawn when 13 out of the 21 actors come out on stage and perform the prologue in their everyday clothes. A synopsis of what is
The curtain is still drawn when 13 out of the 21 actors come out on stage and perform the prologue in their everyday clothes. A synopsis of what is about to take place∙ a way to prepare the audience for the content of the play, as well as the spirit that permeates the performance, that is, a direct narration of the stories, without the forced emotion that the issues of disability and being different usually bring to the forefront.
A few minutes later, the curtain is drawn and a white setting is revealed, white with colored borders – a place that brings to mind either a nursery room or a sterilized hospital. Wearing children’s clothes, using toys and masks and singing children’s songs, the actors share stories that may seem like children’s stories but really aren’t.
The narration begins with the description of a Childbirth that turned out to be different from what the parents were expecting. The aesthetics of the video that is projected at the same time creates tension, while the use of the microphones and the music shortens the distance and creates a sense of proximity.
Following the Childbirth, there are some brief episodes.
The journey to Siberia: a symbolic account of the experience of giving birth to a child that is different,
The picnic: a scene that describes the emotional abuse that a child is subjected to by its parent, due to lack of communication, as well as the abuse a child suffers when it is different from its peers,
Thoughts of an outsider: a scene where two friends are talking – one of them is the father of a disabled child, a man who struggles to appear relaxed when his child is acting strange in the other room. The other tries to hide his unease, while in his thoughts he is constantly asking everything he ever wanted to ask but didn’t dare ask it,
The date and Love: two episodes where, on the one hand, the hero experiences rejection and on the other, he articulates his optimism on the matter of love,
The brain: the “scientific proof” that the brain – here compared to an orange – is indeed the perfect organ but may as well malfunction – a comical scene that ends with the multi-voiced, rebel song People are crazy but they’ve earned that right,
A historical overview of disability: a time-travelling experience where a whimsical tone is used at first to narrate the adventures of people who are different in various periods of time.
Seizures: a true story, where we watch two children play and at the same time we hear the thoughts of the younger one on his relationship with his brother, as well as his fear of the epileptic seizures the latter is suffering from.
Through a process of scenes, images and songs that communicate the dreams, thoughts, nightmares and fears of the heroes, the relationship with the medicalisation of disability, the often condemning attitude of the “experts” towards the potential of people with “special abilities”, the institutionalization, the isolation and the awful conditions we often find in confinement , we finally arrive at the penultimate episode of the performance, where a mother is wondering what will happen to her child now that she is ever closer to leaving this world – in fact, she says “that you’re on your own with the monsters”.
The performance ends on an optimistic note, a cry of acceptance for what is different. In the song-“prayer” we hear the words “Today I’m different, Tomorrow I’ll still be different”, while at the same time there is a wishing session-“prayer” on the part of the heroes, who are in a direct conversation with “God”-the audience. The climax and epilogue of the performance comes with the last hero’s words “I don’t want any more volunteers-I want a real friend”.
The intention of the ensemble’s production is to contribute to a form of Art (in this case the art of drama) that is in conflict with the traditional perception of what is socially acceptable, a form of Art that deliberately dissociates itself from conventional approaches. The play “The Fan-man or How to Dress an Elephant” is the result of the theatre group’s overwhelming need to openly share their personal stories by means of an artistic event.
Cast and crew
The final work is not a readily available theatrical composition but the result of the group’s rehearsals. The final composition and editing was carried out by Eleni Efthymiou.
Director-Music selection: Eleni Efthymiou
Set and Costume designer: Elissavet Antapassi
Lighting: Richard Anthony
Video: Dimitris Zahos
Producer-Assistant director: Eleni Dimopoulou
Kleio Antonopoulou, Vasso Assikoglou, Maria Dahlythra, Eleftheria Drakoulidou, Margarita Kaenada, Dimitris Kalaganis, Kimon Kalaganis, Anna Kalintseva, Anastasia Kariofylli, Evangelina Kariofylli, Maria Koltsida, Vangelis Kosmidis, Yiota Kouintzoglou, Nikos Kyparissis, Parmenion Kyriakoulis, Efterpi Kosta, Loxandra Loukas, Dimitris Mexis, Angeliki Mousiou, Thanos Nanasis, Mihalis Ntolopoulos.
In the play there are excerpts from the work of: Xavier Durringer, Nikiforos Vrettakos, Tellos Filis, J. M. Coetzee
“Normal” is undoubtedly a hopeless word.
It is a word that must be defined by the norm. Then follows the objective reality – what is not “normal” must be “different”, the “other”. Yet, who gave the “other” a negative connotation? And why?
The play “The Fan-man or How to Dress an Elephant”, helps communicate stories that relate to disability. Through these stories, there is an intention to embrace the deviant, in order to render it familiar and intimate. On stage, the stories are narrated by “children” and assume the form of child play. Originally, this may have sprung from people’s insistence on referring to people with disabilities as “children”. In the course of the play, however, this approach reveals the potential of the children’s spontaneous nature, as well as their sometimes cruel disposition, to bring to light hidden secrets, to tell the whole truth, the truth as it really is.
En Dynamei Association
The association “En Dynamei” is seeking to conceive, plan and implement social and cultural events by mixed groups of young people with or without disabilities. By focusing on the recognition of the individual’s personality, freedom of expression, respect for the individual and team work, the group “En Dynamei”, is aiming to promote the growth and development of the abilities of all the people who take part in the events, beyond stereotypes and without discrimination. “En Dynamei” started out in 2008 and became an association in 2014. Its purpose is to help people with potential abilities (people with disabilities) fully integrate into society and assert their right to a dignified and well-rounded life.
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[…]The direction is outstanding, the dramatic language is exceptional and humane (being the result of the experiences shared by the members themselves), the actors, new and novice alike, are amazing: they constantly make you sway among the emotions of a reality, where the simplest thing can become complex, repeated, funny, tragic or even unintelligible, and where the most complex, shocking incident can become mundane. “…”
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5 (Σάββατο) 21:00 - 6 (Κυριακή) 23:00
‘ANETON’ MUNICIPAL THEATRE
Corner of 42 Paraskevopoulou Street & Konstantinoupoleos Street Τ: 2310 869 869