ANGELAS DARLASI’S THEATRE,
- Yiorgos Sabatakakis, Assistant Professor University of Patras
Images of Reversal
Apart from being a theatre critic, filmmaker and writer, Angeliki Darlasi is also a serious dramatist, with prestigious awards in her resume. Her work is characterized by a specific worldview; an ascertainment that – although it may sound self-evident – cannot be automatically inferred for every dramatist.
Whenever we discuss a female writer, it is particularly interesting to explore the way she addresses the world around her and de-familiarizes contemporary ideologies (unless she adopts them, which is not the case here).
Darlasi could be writing militant theater, but her ideology is an aesthetic, fortified behind two key features – sometimes giving in to a female affliction: firstly the irony – hence, a marginal (sometimes black, sometimes underground) comicality – and secondly the “abstractization”. Darlasi likes to construct atmospheric worlds from which she strips away the standard ethical content, leaving behind significant problems that entrap her heroes in their own self’s teleology, as she negotiates the terms of their happiness (?). Dramaturgically, Darlasi creates space-engines (that may exist anyplace and anytime), which trap the dramatic personae and either compel them to decisions or drive them to a standstill. These reducing mechanisms advocate the revocation of the dramatic condition and somewhat impose the universalization of a political message.
The loneliness and the coexistence with the Other are themes that constantly concern the author; either defending individuality or managing the strength of our necessary interaction with others (typical examples are her plays Pieces and You Can be Happy). In this context, Darlasi is interested in the inherent ferocity towards diversity, placing the victim's nightmare within a nightmare for the abuser (an example is A City in a State of Emergency): homo homini lupus.
The desolation of men is a recurring issue in her work, a fact that becomes more interesting when one considers the dynamic and imaginative women found in the works (especially in The Secret Recipe of Francesca Dreamer), which often prevail over men, denouncing stereotypes.
Darlasi knows the theater well, and it is essential that her plays be staged by edgy theatre artists. In a country whose dramaturgy has suffered from ethological quaintness, it is fortunate that there exist playwrights with a different perception of the Art of Theatre.
[Translation: Elena Delliou]