Vitrioli; A play by Yannis Mavritsakis at the Avignon Festival

  •  Published on: 01/12/2014

In July 10, Vitrioli, a play written by Yannis Mavritsakis and directed by Olivier Py, premiered at the Avignon Festival. It was the first time that the National Theatre of Greece participated in the French Festival with a play first presented at Nikos Kourkoulos Theatre during the 2012-2013 season (premiere: 20 March 2013).

After the premiere of the play, the reaction of the French press was immediate;

“A world crumbling down; Vitrioli is an unusually dark play…At the heart of a dysfunctional family, characterized by incestuous relationships, hatred and devastation. The seven actors, classically trained under the model of the great poets, are impressive in their expression of violence, the commitment of their bodies and the nudity required. We witness people who no longer have the strength to live, in a play that is a testament to the crisis and devastation of the world.” (Le Figaro, 11/07/2014)

Vitrioli fascinated the audiences with its darkness and is considered by many journalists as an attempted portrayal of the consequences of the economic crisis. The title of a related article on Culturebox is enlightening; “Vitrioli or the modern Calvary of Greece” (, 14/07/2014)

Set in a modern apocalyptic framework, the play is a scrutinized analysis of a morbid oedipal mother-son relationship, narrating the story of a boy who wavers between reality and hell, is influenced by the powers of chaos and is caught between the corrosive power of life.

“Mavritsakis’ play is worthy of its name; Vitrioli is one of the darkest and most violent plays we’ve seen in a long time- and not only here in Avignon.

As far as the direction of Olivier Py is concerned, it is one of the most scathing and bitter ones he has ever done… It is a metaphor on the economic and ethical depression in Greece… The gods are gone and Mavritsakis’ tragedy feeds from the emptiness of our time.  As in Edward Bond’s plays, there is no hope… Olivier Py offers us a theatre of rage and horror that is exemplarily served by a team of extraordinary devoted actors”. (Les echos)

An article in the Le Monde newspaper ambiguously entitled “Vitrioli plunges the audiences into darkness” comments upon the dysfunctional stage design and the position of the audience, who had a difficult time keeping up with the subtitles. It goes on to positively comment on Mavritsakis’ dramaturgy and the acting on stage. (Le Monde, 11/07/2014)

Director: Olivier Py

Sets-Costumes: Pierre-Andre Weitz

Lighting: Bertrand Killy

Assistant director: Xenia Themeli

Scenography Assistant: Pavlos Thanopoulos

Actors: Maria Kechagioglou, Dimitris Lalos, Periklis Moustakis, Kitty Paitazoglou, Haris Tzortzakis, Nikos Chatzopoulos