Interview Of Costas Mitrakas

Costas Mitrakas, PhD student (Theatre Anthropology) at Panteion University, Stage Director of Panteion University Drama Center 

The interview was given in between two conferences, as an informal conversation. 

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Marianne: Costas, it is a long time now that you have been working with Yangos Iandreadis and experiencing his methods yourself as a pupil before being in charge of stage direction. Can you tell me something about that and your methods?

Costas: What do we have and how we can create ? First of all who will be the actors ? What can they do ? How many hours do they have to work?

After that we have a political idea, a political case we want to express. We usually combine it with the myth.

In Ledra studio we are concerned with political considerations. We also are interested in our tradition and the Greek mythology.

Marianne: It is why we happened to meet to share this Pace project of exchange of methodologies : Our common interest for political news. But How do you connect present political considerations and mythology?

Costas: We use both customs and mythology since mythology is still present and can be found as elements of ancient Greek ceremony still alive in our custom. So the myth is still alive in another way. We must find how it is still alive. We take the technics, the aesthetic elements of these ceremony customs based on the Greek myths. We create like this something new to ask our modern questions. That will be always political questions, substantial, in order to motivate citizenship. We want answers that are important meanings for people’s life.

Marianne: Ok that is your general vision and device but what about the actor ? Is there a method for the actor which you advocate?

Costas: For the inexperienced actor it is important to enable him to express himself. It is also important to get to know its originality. Very often he comes from a village and he has elements very important that are lost in the cities.

We are interested with the songs of the villages, the folk dances and traditions to create something new on the stage using the technics of the folk songs and dances based on his tradition.

We want to know what the beginner actor has done before, where he used to live: For example, for Cyclopes for example I had a great experience of one student who couldn’t get through the reading of a text. It was difficult for him. We asked him to say it with the accent of its village and suddenly he sounded right and read beautifully just as the best professional actor!

We may recreate a village. Transfer the Cyclops from Sophocles in a village.

Marianne: Oh Yes the Cyclopes is the text you and the actor have read before us yesterday…

Costas: The journalist is silenus; …….. (explanations missing)

Marianne: But Costas, how would you say that those elements of myth can interest us, your European partners in the Pace project ?

Costas: The Greek myths are elements, stereotypes that can be found in every culture; (greediness of the Cyclops can remind us of Gargantua and so on...)

Expressing myself in my tradition I think that French people for example can find these elements and combine them with their culture. This is unconscious in a way. I am not saying on stage I’am using my Greek tradition.  All this will be the shadow of what you see. Because the purpose is to understand what is underneath. I think you will be inspired by this method. I will remind you of your culture that I don’t know. That’s what my methodology has to give and that’s a great opportunity to see if it works!

Marianne: How can you… push the actors? (I am not sure it is very good English)

Costas: Not very hard because it is dangerous; The characters are inside us. As Yangos says inside us there is our mother our grand-mother and so on…

We may try to find elements of his ancestors in the actor (mother grand-mother...)

For the actor this is sometimes difficult because It may remind him of something he wants to forget but after that it may contribute to gain a better relation to its past and the actor can create better and he can feel better psychologically;

Marianne: You mean actor must try to play his mother for example?

Costas: He may convey the image of his mother. Create out of the IMAGE of his mother or the grand father that he has never met but he has an image of him and so he can create out of that. And I have many examples of actors after having done that saying they feel better in their life.

 On the other hand I Know other actors studying in other drama schools who never played theater because of the methods destroying their mental;

 

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