Roof by Maria Tranou; a Greek play at the 14th Tramedautore Milan Festival
The 14th Tramedautore (Outis – Piccolo Teatro) Milan Festival, is a festival that brings to audiences the most recent and interesting performances of the contemporary international drama scene. This year’s festival (18–28 September) is dedicated to Eurasia. In a quite original and unexpected combination, the concerns of the Asian Tigers intersect with the drama of the so called PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain). The Italian festival has brought, all the way from Barcelona, the project that has chosen five representative plays from each of the five countries mentioned, which revolve around the theme of theatre and crisis.
Greece was represented by Maria Tranou’s play Roof. The play was written for the needs of this Spanish project and was performed in Catalan in Barcelona (July 2014) and now in Italian, under the direction of Annig Raimondi, who also participates as an actress in the play.
This has been a quite rewarding and productive period for Tranou, whose play The Curator and the Daughters will be staged at the Neos Kosmos theatre.
Coincidentally, the PIIGS project took place at the same time as Fashion Week, thus creating the utmost juxtaposition and strong opposition; VIP’s and luxury in the streets and the brutality of the crisis on stage. PIIGS, however, do not cry, suffer in dignity and present themselves on stage with a sober and ironic look.
The same goes for the Greek play. The playwright re-created the oppressive daily atmosphere of a middle-class urban family, on a bare stage, devoid of setting, as a curtain and the shadings of the projector show the menacing figure of the Supplier, who transforms into a mysterious and symbolic presence.
Under the imminent and loud noises heard from the tubes and as the house collapses, the family is slowly sinking under the debts; while the Father is unemployed and idle, the Mother is still fighting and hoping. They don’t want to lose their house, but the only solution to their problem forces them to humiliation and even makes them succumb to the sexual demands of the Supplier. The harsh realism leads to a symbolic interpretation; the house reeling under the weight of debt and fear is the image of Greece and the Supplier represents the Authority that crushes and simultaneously forges a devastated society.
Another important figure in the play is a cat named Jason (who is replaced by a puppet of the infamous Colla Italian family in the Italian version of the play) who leaves the house at the beginning of the play, leaving the house where people have lost their humanity.
The various elements and tones of the play (realism, symbolism, grotesque, fairytale, lyricism) coexist harmonically and the unpredictable and surrealistic solution at the end of the play shows the uprising of the family; everyone is hanging and swinging together from the roof. It is only then that Jason returns, because the family has re-gained the value of solidarity and its lost humanity.
The play has provoked the interest and curiosity of the Italian audience. An Italian review of the play can be found here: http://www.stratagemmi.it/?p=6199
Roof, by Maria Tranou
Director: Annig Raimondi (PACTA production, Arsenale dei Teatri)
With: Annig Raimondi, Carlo Decio, Lorena Nocera, Riccardo Magherini
Tramedautore. 14° Festival Internazionale del Teatro d’Autore. Eurasia
Piccolo Teatro Grassi, Milan – 18 September 2014