“Alone” at the Fairfield Amphitheater

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Melbourne’s Greek Community Creative Center of Drama and Arts is taking theater back to its roots with a performance at the Fairfield Amphitheatre.

Directed by Jeremy Artis, Alone (Μόνοι) is a collection of monologues performed in Greek, drawn from a range of 14 independent texts, poems and songs by creators throughout the ages such as Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Peresiadis and Chekhov.

Although their works seem completely independent of each other, together they form the message of the show.

“Although there is no beginning, middle and end in the strict sense of the word, there is an emotional curve that we want the viewer to follow. We are not trying to connect Blanche to Golfo, but to identify Blanche’s feeling with hers and therefore with that of the actress who interprets the character,” says Artis. Neo Cosmos.

In-person rehearsals of the new alternative performance ‘Alone’ produced by Melbourne’s Greek Community Creative Center of Drama & Arts under the direction of Jeremy Artis Photo: Supplied

The cast is made up of eight amateur actors, including Eleni Baveli and Ioanna Gagani, who, along with their castmates, had to use less orthodox methods to rehearse their roles.

“We started before I don’t know what confinement, I lost count. So we were face to face, we actually started working on monologues that some of us had chosen. Then we went into lockdown, but we continued on Zoom, meeting individually with Jeremy working on the monologues,” Gagani said.

“I think it was just a natural progression because we really wanted to present something and we didn’t want to be off stage too long because our last performance was in 2020.”

It is with this determination of “the show must go on” that the entire cast and crew broke through the barriers erected by the pandemic.

“It’s not the easiest thing in the world, but from the start I set myself the goal of getting results no matter what. The project format is so dynamic that it can be supported even across the screen if needed,” Artis explained.

Alone itself explores its title, with the show born out of isolation and the movements the world has gone through to fight the pandemic.

Eleni and Ioanna experienced the pandemic in two different ways, but both poured their experiences into their characters.

“I was so sick of the lockdown because I was working from home, studying online and I felt there was a bit of a disconnect because suddenly theater and rehearsals became one more thing I had to do through Zoom. Being in space and working together is one of the things I enjoy most about acting. You leave your home and enter a creative space. The energy is completely different, so it lost its spark and I pulled out of Zoom rehearsals,” Eleni said.

“My character talks a bit about death, in a very funny way. She’s buried in her coffin and she just talks about how she feels trapped. I could say that was the easiest way to be able to embody being locked up and everything being online and not close to the outside world.

Ioanna Gagali and Eleni Baveli (far left) got invested in their new characters Photo: Supplied

Ioanna, on the other hand, managed to have more free time and let go of some of the daily tasks that often caused her stress.

“The connection to my character is that my character also has a very different experience than the majority of people. I was the same; everyone was like oh, I can’t take it anymore and I was like I was fine, I love it. I don’t have to drive the kids to school. I don’t have to make school lunches and things like that. I always go out and see people,” a- she declared.

By finding their characters within themselves, the comedians also came to learn more about themselves. There was a new vulnerability to be discovered by rehearsing and discovering their roles in a space that was not tied to a creative space.

“Every character teaches you something, every thing teaches you something, especially this comedic monologue. This allowed me to ridicule myself a little more. They say comedy is much harder than drama. Leaving your self-awareness out the window, so that’s definitely something I considered,” Baveli said.

“As a whole group, because we’re also very different, it’s made me accept the different types of people a lot better, the different characters because everyone brings something completely different.”

Catch actors Syrmo Kapoutsi, Niki Skouri, Maria Bakalidou, Costas Stefanidis, Pam Pollali, Ioanna Gagani, Eleni Baveli and Maria-Stella Papacheorgi performing Alone (Μόνοι) Saturday, February 26 at the Fairfield Amphitheater and Sunday, March 20 at the Greek Center Mezzanine. Buy your tickets on trybooking.com

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