“It is a great joy to welcome Stanford University to Athens, in the framework of Michael Cacoyannis Foundation’s new initiative for the establishment of an international network for research, study and teaching of the Ancient Greek Drama, at the city where Theatre was born. The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports, through its General Secretariat for Culture, fully supports this program, having included it in the co-financed projects as part of the Attica Regional Operational Programme 2007-2013.
By such an initiative, the discussion between the past and the future is actually happening, as well as the dialogue among different cultural inheritances, social groups and artistic approaches. This is absolutely necessary if we wish to keep alive and current the humanistic inheritance and to enrich it with modern readings and interpretations addressed by contemporary artists to the 21st century audience, thus developing a dynamic and interactive relationship. Besides, this was one of Michael Cacoyannis’ main goals not only in his cinema adaptations of Ancient Drama, but also in his theatrical works, which always had, to borrow his words, “a match to reality”.
Readings and interpretations that deal with the Ancient Greek Drama holistically in the framework of a performance, that is to say, as a text destined to become sight and hearing. Perhaps also, this is the greatest challenge, since apart from the poem, the rest of the elements of its original composition, i.e. the music, the instrumentation, the acting and the set design are, in a great extent, lost, as well as the co-texts of the original performance, which were directly identified with the political, social and religious being of the classical city. A loss, nevertheless, that leaves us with an open window to creation and imagination.
The suggestion of a play based on Homer’s Odyssey, being the first of a series of multilevel collaborations between Michael Cacoyannis Foundation and Universities or theatrical organizations in Greece and abroad, is really fascinating. It is intended as a totally contemporary outlook having as a starting point the dramatization of the epic narration and the narrative action, and as its basis the actual dramatic human adventure of Odysseus.
To take on classical inheritance constitutes a fertile field for the development of a multi-scientific approach. All the more so, when combined to a full teaching of the audience and its induction to central issues of theatrical theory and action, by specialists, as in this program. I would like to congratulate with all my heart and wish the best to all the contributors to this effort.”
Dr Lina Mendoni
General Secretary of Culture