What can happen when the theatre goes to school? When theatrical training is transformed into theatrical action? When new stage directors with different styles meet pupils of different ages?
Staged in co-operation with the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, its exclusive sponsor, the two-day festival of school-student presentations at the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus “The Third Bell or Theatre with a Difference” concluded successfully.
More than 500 students, their parents, and friends of the Theatre, attended the festival presentations, which were the result of a wholehearted and fruitful nine-month collaboration between pupils, educators and directors from seven different secondary schools in the Municipality of Piraeus. The presentations were open to the public and free of charge.
The Mayor of Piraeus Giannis Moralis applauded the great student community that flocked to the Municipal Theatre, underlining that Piraeus is now at the heart of the cultural life of the country. Theatrical education is now centred on the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus. We extend our warm thanks to the Latsis Foundation which supported this pioneering initiative of the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus (MTP). This successful meeting, the end-product of a common course including educators, directors and school students, has given us a sense of optimism in these difficult times. Congratulations to our pupils.
On behalf of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, Christos Chrysanthopoulos, programme manager, spoke about the programme “The Third Bell or Theatre with a Difference”, underlining the value of theatrical education at school and the importance of the MTP’s conducting this specific educational programme, in conjunction with the schools of the Piraeus district and surrounding areas. “The Foundation has made the strategic decision to develop funding programmes to upgrade the quality of the educational and schooling process at every level, at the same time helping new students, male and female, through its scholarship programmes, to gain access to tertiary education.”
The MTP’s Artistic Director Nikos Diamantis noted that: “The Third Bell or Theatre with a Difference” gave us the opportunity, together with the young students, to encounter theatre and culture. This is an educational programme that aims to initiate adolescent students into theatre and in that way awaken their imagination and creativity, as well as introducing the idea of collaboration and life’s value.”
We remind readers that “The Third Bell of Theatre with a Difference” is an artistic and educational programme whose basic goal is to introduce school pupils to theatrical practice, enriching the educational process at the secondary level.
In the framework of the programme seven directors with different styles and from different age groups worked with seven secondary schools in the Municipality of Piraeus and adjacent municipalities on classical and modern texts, with a view to arranging seven short theatrical performances.
The two-day artistic festival included:
Saturday 7th May / 11.00 – 15.30
1. Kallipoli High School / adaptation of the work of Jakovos Kampanellis “Our Great Circus”, in collaboration with Nikos Vasileiou.
An allegorical study for a revue, which like every revue looks down from high on the infinite landscape of Greek History, on the one hand like all-knowing Zeus, on the other like rampant Silenus and now and again like a bereaved mother, and always coming to the same conclusion….a yearning for Freedom.
2. 2nd Junior High School of Nikaia / Andreas Flourakis, “I want a country”, with the assistance of the director Perry Michaelides.
The writing of Andreas Flourakis, sui generis and with nothing ordinary about it, records thoughts, desires, questioning the everyday life of our age and proposing direct investigation of the problems and above all the mentality of the contemporary Greek. The language of the text, direct, abrupt, often humorous, makes possible a highlighting of the necessity for group existence and a collective approach to the vision of an “ideal” new country.
3. 9th Junior High School of Piraeus / “Stories of the Gentleman”, comprising texts by Anton Chekhov, with the assistance of the director Giannis Moschos.
The educational process started with various theatrical games. The aim was that the children should obtain a first acquaintance with the work and the times of the important writer Chekhov. Entertaining stories by him with a bearing on the interests of children were chosen for dramatization.
Sunday 8th May / 11.00 – 16.00
1. Ionidios Model High School of Piraeus / Sophocles “Oedipus the Tyrant” with the collaboration of the director Aliki Danezi-Knutsen.
Tragedy is a very difficult undertaking, particularly for high school students. Through their eyes the subjects are difficult and “unpleasant”. The actions are grand and fearsome. The choice of the tragedy with which the pupils of the two high schools worked enabled them to understand the meaning of Myth, of Character, of Vicissitude and in general how a story can be put together, however frightful it may be. And as a result be given a powerful incentive and desire to represent it on the stage. Sophocles’ “Oedipus the Tyrant” presents emphatically and with great clarity all the dramaturgical elements, providing an exceptional basis for a creative and interesting performance.
2. Kaminia High School / “Down in Piraeus”, with the assistance of the director Kirki Karali.
Weary of studying for their final exams, a class from Kaminia Senior High School, instead of playing truant, does a flashback on the history of their area. Events and songs that have left their mark on Piraeus and a question with many answers: what, for you, is Piraeus?
3. Zanneio Experimental High School / Beckett, “Waiting for Godot”, with the assistance of the director Thanos Tokakis.
Beckett as high school theatre? It sounds paradoxical. “Waiting for Godot” is an interesting starting point for a game. The apparently incomprehensible play in the final analysis provides grounds for a quest of this kind: no plot, characters in a state of inertia, in an age when events are overtaking us, when the stimuli to which adolescents are subjected succeed one another at a frenzied pace. Where, and how much, does a pregnant Beckettian pause fit into all this? What is a timeless clown? Why do they have these existential questions? And when all is said and done, what is an existential question?
4. 1st Technical-Vocational School of Neo Faliro / A dance theatre performance entitled “The Lesson”, in collaboration with the performing arts specialist Grigoris Gaitanaros.
One day when the students arrive at school and realize that the teachers are missing. A lesson, from the students for adults, about the school of their dreams. A quest for knowledge and experiences that go beyond the conventional concept of education and lead to the root of psychological understanding of the human being.