“The city becomes the entire world when you love someone from its residents.”
In Alexandria, the last East-West border, the scene of Lawrence Durrell’s masterpiece “Alexandria Quartet” is set up. The European community of Alexandria deals with the past and the future, and eventually remains a mystical place that manages to be imposed on the time and its inhabitants. It determines their destiny. It is transformed into living organism which lives, thrives and declines with them.
The historical context is the early 40s. The economic crisis of 1929, the rise of authoritarianism and nationalism which culminate in the Second World War, form the elements of an era which is compared to the present and gives rise to embarrassing and skepticism. In such a context the personal anxieties of people keep pace with their struggle to survive in a merciless age. The Identities change, the concepts lose their significance and the memory of the past is immersed in the haze of doubt.
The play was nominated for a Dramaturgy Award in Critics’ Awards of Theatre & Dance, Karolos Koun 2016.
The “Alexandria” enables us to rethink the past and redefine present.
The Elephas Tiliensis group after the adaption of the Zyranna Zateli’s short story “The last fiancee”is inspired by the Durrell’s masterpiece and creates a play which is combined with original texts written by members of the group, by the philosopher Theofanis Tasis and by Valentina Karampagias and Marquis de Sade’s, as well as poems by Constantine Cavafy, Charles Baudelaire and Coventry Patmor, and historical and political documents also.
Two couples and a girl come into microscope of the play. They test the limits of their correlations. They bravely provoke the morality of an era that is fed on with anything totalitarian and violent. They listen to the instinct of liberty and run furiously in a light full of life and death. They unfold in front of us versions of their reality and left embarrassed in front of the question: What exactly have I lived? With whom exactly have I lived it? What is the truth? The Truth, as defined, is the deal with the reality, the objectively existing, and the reality of an event. Is there one truth? One reality? Is the sign of memory positive or negative?
Love, sex, political conspiracies, the agony of power, the search for love compose the microcosm of the heroes in the exotic, cosmopolitan environment of the interwar city, Alexandria. The terrible maelstrom of history becomes the engine of change. The magnetic field of the city causes the most painful escape and the greatest loss, that of identity.
Original texts :
Set designing – Costumes:
Theofanis Tassis, Valentina Karampaya, Elephas Tiliensis
Despina Kourti, Thanasis Dovris, Vicky Katsika, Xenia Themeli, Nefeli Maistrali, Dimitris Agartzidis
Photos: Panos Michail
The directors’ note
In order to endure someone what he is, in order to endure to be part of a particular reality, an event arises around which he winds the thread of his existence.
The memory of the fact raises the need of its representation. The memory chains lead ring by ring to a moment, to a person, to a place which now consists of fragments of what someone has once lived, the things that managed to penetrate undamaged in that space of memories.
A dimple, one forgotten smile is rooted in what we have lived or what we thought we had lived.
But what is it that I lived?
The need to explore the event even surprises the person itself.
The story is rebuilt but the one who leads it is not the linear time but the personal allusion.
The sky and the sea in which they swam look like a dream that I saw once, the voice of whom I loved sounds like a deafening scream and the time slows the moment that an explosion started a war.
Am I the one who lived this?
Is he the one for whom I had feelings?
Is this the era in which I lived?
What correlations have led to the formation of my personal history?
Of the history of my city?
Of the history?
What is left of those I experienced?
What will be left in the end?
The play “Alexandria”- I wonder, do truth and falsehood really exist?” The Elephas Tiliensis group presents an original synthesis inspired by of Lawrence Durrell’s tetralogy “Alexandria Quartet”.
In collaboration with the philosopher Theofanis Tasis the synthesis of a text that examines the experiment of the “city” over its inhabitants was created.
Under the dome of an era that hovers ruthlessly over their heads in the midst of two world wars, in Alexandria, the last frontier of Europe in the eastern Mediterranean five individuals are lured by the magnetic field of the city and its history. This affects their behavior and their way of thinking. They explore every possible limit of their correlation with others and with themselves, they fiercely demand not only their survival but also their redemption.
The author of “Alexandria Quartet” applies the theory of relativity, which is implemented at the same time, on the faces that he has created. The view of the same event from different aspects causes multiple interpretations. In that sense the truth is relative and the reality could be different because after all it depends on the place and the time that someone is located.
Are we really children of our city?
Are we part of an experiment?
Does the reality depend on the time and the place that we are?
I wonder, do truth and falsehood really exist?
Despina Anastasoglou, Dimitris Agartzidis
Magna est veritas
Here, in this little Bay,
Full of tumultuous life and great repose,
Where, twice a day,
The purposeless, glad ocean comes and goes,
Under high cliffs, and far from the huge town,
I sit me down.
For want of me the world’s course will not fail:
When all its work is done, the lie shall rot;
The truth is great, and shall prevail,
When none cares whether it prevail or not.
Magna est veritas/Coventry Patmore