“It all begins with a knock on the door, a blade of light cutting through the darkness of our own privacy. Every house, every place we call our own, is a limit and a protection at the same time, and every visitor entering our sacred ground is both welcome and imposing, friendly and aggressive. And yet, we still open the door. We respond to the relentless banging of Otherness on the threshold of Solitude, instinctively curious and unavoidably bothered by that nuisance and that discomfort caused by the presence of another human being in our own space, our own life. But as Virigina Diakaki says via one of the three actors that gave voice to her writings in The House, «We all love that little discomfort we feel every time someone imposes his limits on us».
Focused on a simple visit that turns into an absurd (and all too true) existential confrontation, this «original modern Greek work in theatrical audiovisual installation form, co-created by four young Greek artists», may very well be one of the most interesting pieces of theatre we have seen so far around these latitudes. By actually exploring those grey areas at the border of things, the quartet composed by musician/sound designer Alexis Retsis, lighting designer Christina Thanasoula, digital artist Demetris Shammas and the aforementioned writer, manages to offer a new form of expression in which the new and the old merge exquisitely, leading to an hybrid coexistence that is both convincing and enticing.
The audience, led by the hand into a foggy underground parking with neon lights flickering amongst the concrete pillars, sits on a simple bench and wears headphones. Silence surrounds us, until a soft music begins to play, and we are left to wonder what will come next. Thus the listener/voyeur, significantly placed at the centre of the space, slowly becomes aware that the play is about himself/herself, finding too many common traits with the man and the woman that whisper and scream to our ears. The House is an «allegorical story about the fake feeling of freedom», about all those strangers we let into our lives with reluctance just to end up loving and needing them, as long as they exonerate us «from the exclusive responsibility of existence». Indeed, how happy is the blameless people’s lot, when we delegate the very definition of ourselves to a partner, a husband, a wife, a fellow human being, and how miserable are all those who try to swim against the current, painfully trying to overcome the feeling of loneliness and dependence by looking inwards instead of outwards?
With violence reminiscent of Sarah Kane’s Blasted, Virginia Diakaki weaves a well-paced web of words that besiege the Self without giving it any rest, slapping and blinding it from the very beginning – showing no mercy for anyone, let alone for us. 50 minutes of pure psychological war that turn out to be a mere taste of what we do to each other and to ourselves every single day. 50 minutes of necessary extremes that put us all to shame for not being able to see how weak and sadistic we truly are. 50 minutes of gorgeously crafted theatre.”
text by Francesco Chiaro
Presented at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall [GR] during March and April 2018.