It is now early August, and our time in Greece is rapidly coming to a close. I’m pleased to report that our performance of “Agamemnon” at the Oiniades Theatre Festival was a success.
It was a unique cultural experience for me to sit in the midst of the Greek audience during the performance. To get an idea of what I mean, first take everything that you know about audience etiquette at theatrical or musical performances in the United States and throw it out the window. At the beginning of the performance, the audience quieted while the musicians tuned, but shortly thereafter, the commotion began. People talked and gossiped, kids ran around, camera bulbs flashed, cigarettes went ablaze, and cell phones rang constantly. Like in America, people fumbled for their mobile phones when they rang, but for a completely different purpose. Instead of silencing the phones, people ANSWERED them and carried on conversations right in the theatre! There was often more activity happening in the audience than on-stage!
As I said, it’s a unique cultural experience. Aside from the mobile phone aspect, this must be how audiences in 17th and 18th century Italian opera houses behaved! Despite the general commotion, once something of importance starts happening on-stage, the audience snaps to attention. For instance, when the handmaids brought out the purple cloth for Agamemnon entrance to the palace, you could have heard a pin drop. In short, I learned that you must EARN the audience’s attention here – it is not granted by default.
We were afraid that attendance to our performance would be lax due to the language barrier (our show is in both English and Greek), but we were wrong. I have no official head count, but the mayor of the city estimated that roughly 500 people attended. Not bad at all.
I took no pictures during the actual performance, but here is a huge gallery of pictures from tech week, including the final dress rehearsal.
After the show, we tore down the set and raced back to Katohi to change clothes for our dinner with the mayor. Dinner started around midnight, and we ate outdoors in the town square. I thought it a feast fit for a king – they brought out platter after platter of delicacies, and we ate “community” style by passing plates to one another. All in all, we feasted until 3 AM. Wow. It was a memorable experience.
My next post will cover our adventures in Corinth, Mycenae, and Nafplio. Stay tuned!