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Greek Theater: An Annotated Bibliography of Plays Translated and Essays Written from 1824 to 1994


Dramatic literature (1 of 1 )

Akritas, Loukis. "Hostages," translated by Mary Gianos. In Introduction to Modern Greek Literature: An Anthology of Fiction, Drama, and Poetry, edited by Mary Gianos, 418-417. New York: Twayne, 1969.

This three-act tragedy dramatizes the suffering of Greeks in a rural town near the border during the German/Italian occupation (1940-1944). Many young Greeks (such as Lambrinos) have taken to the mountains and become freedom fighters, killing enemy soldiers. In retaliation, the invaders would take Greek women, children, and elderly men as hostages. Then, they would torture, imprison, or kill them, especially if they were connected to Greek guerrillas (Arete and Photene), or if they assisted the freedom fighters in any way (Liakos). When the allied forces invade Italy and Germany, the Germans and Italians evacuate the Greek town. They feel that Greece, which at first seemed small and easy to conquer, now appears to be a gigantic, indomitable country. They attempt to break through the lines of the freedom fighters by using Lambrinos as a bargaining chip. Lambrinos is shot and they are apprehended.

Anagnostaki, Loula. "The City," translated by George Valamvanos and Kenneth MacKinnon. The Charioteer 26 (1984):55-72.

This one-act play describes the "game" of a thirty-year-old couple, Elizabeth and Kimon. Elizabeth invites single, middle-class, lonely gentlemen to dinner in her apartment, makes them fall in love with her, expose themselves, and then throws them out with Kimon's help. Tonight's guest, a photographer, made a career with customers who wanted their pictures taken in dying poses. He refuses, however, to photograph Elizabeth's naked body lying "murdered" on the floor. Elizabeth, whose childhood sweetheart was alledgedly condemned to death and executed, allows the photographer to kiss her as Kimon steps into the dining room, witnessing the love scene. Kimon shoots himself in the next room, but Elizabeth does not allow the photographer to enter the room. She humiliates him and throws him out of the apartment. Kimon reappears and Elizabeth, who looks out the window, screams in panic that the city is on fire. 

Anagnostaki, Loula. "The Overnight Visitor," translated by George Valamvanos and Kenneth MacKinnon. The Charioteer 26 (1984):37-54.

This one-act play dramatizes an encounter between Mimis, a forty-year-old-man who belongs to the war-torn generation of the 1940s, and Sophia, a teenager who belongs to the emigration-torn generation of the 1960s. Sophia returns from Germany penniless after a fruitless search for her father, a guest-worker, who disappeared from the address she knew. Mimis invites Sophia to spend the night in his one-bedroom apartment. She soon discovers that Mimis behaves like her father. Mimis had left his wife and his job a month earlier and he keeps his address a secret so that he will no longer be visited by the "ghosts" of the past twenty years. The play subtly connects two generations in a dark metaphor : the occupation-torn generation of the 1940s and the emigration-torn generation of the 1960s have wasted their lives in German concentration camps and factories, respectively.

Anagnostaki, Loula. "The Parade," translated by George Valamvanos and Kenneth MacKinnon. The Charioteer 26 (1984):73-88.

This one-act play starts peacefully but ends in a bloodbath. After their father leaves for work in his blue jacket and yellow sweater, Zoë knits and Aris, her teenage brother, plays with toy ships. Aris, standing by the window, describes to Zoë what initially looks like a parade to him: closed shops, roped-off streets, a covered "statue" in the square, swarming crowds, boy scouts parading, a marching band, and mounted police. However, the "parade" turns out to be an execution when guard dogs appear on the scene and the unveilled "statue" proves to be a guillotine. A handcuffed man in a blue jacket and a yellow sweater is dragged in to be executed. The crowd tries to stop the execution, the scouts beat the people back, the policemen shoot into the crowd, and the dogs tear the handcuffed man to pieces. Zoë and Aris, standing at the window, realize that the officer in charge saw them witnessing the slaughter and is sending his men up to their room.

Anagnostaki, Loula. "The Town," translated by Aliki Halls. Chicago Review 21/2 (1969):88-105.

The same play, which appeared under a different title ("The City"), was translated by George Valamvanos and Kenneth MacKinnon. For a summary of its plot, see the entry above.

Cornaros, Vintsentzos. "The Sacrifice of Abraham," translated by F. H. Marshall. In Three Cretan Plays, 61-99. London: Oxford University Press, 1929.

This religious drama is a variation of the biblical story. An angel's voice wakes up Abraham and orders him to sacrifice his dear son Isaac on a mountain within three days. Abraham is appalled, but he eventually accepts God's command. He then tells his inquisitive wife, who breaks into a wild lament and faints. Isaac wonders why his father, instead of his mother, comes to wake him up, and asks him to wear his holiday clothes. He is told that they are off to a holiday sacrifice. Before they reach the top of the mountain, Abraham leaves behind his two servants, who argue with him that the angel's voice was in fact an evil dream. Abraham reveals the truth at the place of sacrifice and asks Isaac to kneel and pray. Isaac pleads for his life, and only the angel stays the sacrifice at the last moment. He blesses Abraham and his family for their faith. One of the servants breaks the good news to Sarah and they all embrace and praise the Lord. 

"The Sacrifice of Abraham," translated by Lynda Garland. Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 7 (1991):365-416.

Lynda Garland's prose translation is preceded by an informative introduction about who wrote this play and when. The same play, under the same title, was translated by F. H. Marshall in verse. For a summary of its plot, see the entry above.

Hortatzis, Georgios. "Erophile," translated by F. H. Marshall. In Three Cretan Plays, 101-233. London: Oxford University Press, 1929.

The Grim Reaper introduces this five-act tragedy. Panaretos, a prince without a kingdom, is married secretly to Erophile, the only daughter of King Philogonos of Memphis. The king, who wants to attain more power through the marriage of his daughter, asks Panaretos to persuade Erophile to marry one of the suitor kings. Erophile and Panaretos realize that their honor and happiness are rooted in displeasing and dishonoring the king. The ghost of the king's brother appears and claims that King Philogonos murdered him and usurped the throne. The king discovers Erophile's secret marriage and kills Panaretos. He tells Erophile that he has decided to marry her to Panaretos, and he gives her his mutilated remains as a wedding present. Erophile kills herself, but then her nurse and her maiden friends attack and kill the king. The interludes of the play present an operatic version of incidents, such as the garden of Armida and the final capture of Jerusalem, drawn from Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata (1575).

Hortatzis, Georgios. "Gyparis," translated by F. H. Marshall. In Three Cretan Plays, 235-338. London: Oxford University Press, 1929.

This five-act pastoral comedy is about two young shepherds, Gyparis and Alexis, whose love is rejected by Panorea and Athousa. Gyparis asks Phrosyne to help him, and she scolds Panorea for rejecting such a handsome, young, rich shepherd as Gyparis. Panorea's father scolds both girls for rejecting their suitors, warning them that they should get married while they can. The love-sick boys offer a sacrifice to Aphrodite, who asks her son, Eros, to shoot the stubborn girls with his arrows. In the last act, the two girls have fallen deeply in love, and Phrosyne teases them by telling them that the boys have changed their minds and that they are chasing other women. Feeling humiliated, Panorea wants to kill herself. She tells her father that she is willing to marry Gyparis if her father could arrange it for her. Her father, who wants to have a rich son-in-law, summons the boys to take their brides and blesses the two couples.

Kalamaras, Vaso. The Bread Trap. Translated by Vaso Kalamaras, Reg Durack, and June Kingdom, 7-69. Box Hill: Elikia Books, 1986.

This two-act play portrays the problems of hard working Greek immigrants from Macedonia who became tobacco growers at Manjimup, Western Australia. In 1961, the tobacco companies bought cheaper tobacco from abroad. These farmers, who went into debt to produce quality tobacco and ship it to the auction, were ruined. Chrysa, who was sent to complete her education in Athens, returns to her parents' tobacco farm in Australia at the age of twenty-five. She is considered too "old" and "over-educated" to marry in the bush. Her mother, who was brutally forced to give up her love for another man and marry Chrysa's father, harbors a long-standing resentment that poisons the daily life of her family. Her brother Mitsos feels that Australia is a "bread trap" that will eventually destroy them. Chrysa cannot abandon her old sick parents in their misery, but she also realizes, in despair, that she has become the same as they are--lost and unhappy. 

Kambanellis, Iakovos. "Courtyard of Miracles," translated by I. Murdoch. Thespis 2-3 (1965):127-151.

This four-act play tells the story of several "pairs" of low-income characters who rent rooms in an overcrowded slum house. Voula and Babis, a young quarreling couple, stake their savings on an opportunity to emigrate to Australia. At the end of the play, however, they discover that the travel agent cheated them and that they cannot escape poverty. Stelios, a bankrupt salesman and a demoralized husband, lives with his disillusioned wife, Olga, who eases herself into adultery with Stratos, a handsome, matter-of-fact plumber. Stelios loses his self-confidence to fight for a better future and, as a result, also loses his wife to Stratos. He ends up a gambler, heavily in debt, despised by all, and finally commits suicide. His predicament, discussed by two civil engineers, is presented as a typical case for an entire class of people. When economic progress hits the slum houses, it arrives in the form of bulldozers and eviction notices, pushing the already depressed tenants further out into the margins of the community.

Kambanellis, Iakovos. "He and His Pants," translated by George Valamvanos and Kenneth MacKinnon. The Charioteer 26 (1984):9-15.

This one-act play portrays the neurosis of a middle-aged, underpaid, small-time accountant who lives alone in a rented room with his sad memories and a bleak future. Since he cannot afford to pay a seamstress, he tries to mend a tear in the seat of the good pair of pants that he wears to work. He cannot pass the thread through the needle's eye because his old hands are trembling, and he accidentally drops the needle on the floor. While searching for the needle on his knees, he imagines that his armchair is Mrs. Sophie, his married neighbor. He confesses his love to "her," and he ends up kissing the arms, the legs, and the seat of the chair. He also recalls that his childhood sweetheart married another man, and that she now has three children. Finally, he bursts into tears on the floor like a desolate child. Then, he finds the needle and gets back to work.

Kambanellis, Iakovos. Tale without Title. Translated by Stratos E. Constantinidis. Box Hill: Elikia Books, 1989.

This two-act comedy satirizes the government and the people of a small, poor, third-world country that is invaded by a super-power. The ensuing war becomes a catalyst that exposes the corrupt structure of society and allows for better values to emerge. It shows the gradual improvement of a people through the exercise of reason and courage. Only after the people are promised major social reforms do they enlist to fight the enemy. The plot is swift and simple, yet full of surprises that keep the audience in suspense. It is a tough tale that prevents the audience from escaping into the realm of fantasy. In fact, it reintroduces the audience to their daily social problems in an unexpected and interesting way. The play becomes an allegory for a painful revival of hope. It demonstrates how the old and the young should work together to defeat repressive domestic and international injustice.

Kambanellis, Iakovos. "The Woman and the Wrong Man," translated by George Valamvanos and Kenneth MacKinnon. The Charioteer 26 (1984):17-35.

In this one-act play, which takes place in 1974, the police break into a slum house at 6 A.M. to arrest the son of an aged mother. She is setting breakfast on the table expecting her son to come home from his night shift at a weaving factory. They try to intimidate her, but she offers them hot milk and coffee. She is accustomed to police brutality because her late husband was arrested seven times during the anti-communist purges of the Metaxas dictatorship (1936-1940), the German occupation of Greece (1940-1944), and the Greek Civil War (1945-1949). During the interrogation, she calmly tells the story of her life in an ingenious way, confusing reality with apocalyptic dreams. The exhausted sergeant doses off on the sofa while the other policeman is in the bathroom. The son arrives. He politely wakes up the police sergeant, who then arrests him, hits him, and drags him out of the house while the aged mother is crying for help.

Katsanis, Vangelis. The Successors, translated by George Valamvanos and Kenneth MacKinnon. Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 6/4 (1979):31-83.

This three-act play presumably attacked the monarchy in the mid-1960s. In Aulis, King Agamemnon reveals to Clytemnestra that he must sacrifice Iphigenia in order to save his crown. She initially objects to this ritual that can prolong the life of the monarchy by killing one of its members. In the second act, Clytemnestra explains to Electra that she agreed to the sacrifice of Iphigenia, ten years ago, for the sake of the throne; that she took Aegisthus as a lover during Agamemnon's absence because she needed a strong man (just as one needs a war-horse) to control civil unrest against the crown. Agamemnon returns to Mycenae when Aegisthus is quelling a rebellion. Clytemnestra sacrifices Agamemnon--who is ill, old, and "soft"--to Aegisthus's ambition in order to save the monarchy from the rebels. She orders Electra to hide the future king (Orestes) away from the palace. In the third act, Orestes returns ten years later to claim the throne according to his mother's plan. Concurrently, the rebels break into the palace, chasing Aegisthus and his soldiers. Aegisthus wants to kill himself and Clytemnestra. Orestes and Pylades come to her rescue by killing Aegisthus. The rebels want Clytemnestra dead, too. In order to rescue the monarchy again, Electra orders Orestes to kill Clytemnestra. The rebels are not satisfied. They break into the throne room and kill Electra, Orestes, and Pylades. They decide to remove and burn the dead bodies and the throne, while the rebel leader is emerging as the next strongman.

Kazantzakis, Nikos. Buddha. Translated by Kimon Friar and Athena Dallas-Damis. San Diego: Avant Books, 1983.

This book includes a preface by Michael Tobias (vii-viii) and an informative introduction by Peter Bien (ix-xix) based on his article "Buddha, Kazantzakis' Most Ambitious and Most Neglected Play." Buddha (initial title Yangtze) takes place in a Chinese village as the Yangtze River is flooding the area, destroying neighboring towns and drowning people and livestock. The characters react to this threat in different ways that bring them into conflict. At the end, the final dam breaks and the Yangtze River is about to wash away the whole village. The themes develop through three pageants that illustrate how to overcome life's deceptive multiplicity, and how to progress toward a conception of unity with the saving help of art. The people's will to fight for freedom is futile. Salvation comes only after the cessation of desire and the welcoming of death as a release from life's torment. The Yangtze River is more than just a vital ecosystem; it is Buddha himself. Only Old Chiang, the war-lord, guided by the Magician, realizes that the Yangtze River is Buddha. Crossing his arms and bowing to the roaring river, he welcomes Buddha.

Kazantzakis, Nikos. "Comedy: A Tragedy in One Act," translated by Kimon Friar. The Literary Review 18/4 (1975):417-454.

The action takes place inside a man's mind at the moment of his death when his latent fears and hopes are revived: Is there eternal life after death or will he vanish forever? In a parlor that predates Jean-Paul Sartre's "salon style Second Empire" in No Exit, two old men who spent their lives differently--the first through social interaction and the second through contemplative isolation--console a small girl, while the room gradually becomes filled with a monk, a woman, a young man, the small girl's mother dressed in black, an old woman, a fool, and a beautiful nun. They all hope that the Savior will arrive, but the candles in the waiting room go out one by one leaving them in darkness.

Kazantzakis, Nikos. "Christopher Columbus," translated by Athena Gianakas Dallas. In Three Plays, 7-93. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969.

This four-act play describes Columbus's desire to discover a new world. At the monastery of the Lady of the Atlantic in Spain, Columbus offers the Holy Virgin a golden apple and confesses that he had poisoned a man in order to obtain the map of the Atlantic. Columbus, who has memorized the map, burns it and persuades his rival, Captain Alonso, to join him on this expedition. Queen Isabella, who has driven the Arabs out of the Alhambra in Granada, faces an economic crisis. So she welcomes Columbus, who had been seeking admittance for eight years, and she appoints him Great Admiral of the Oceans. Columbus, aboard the Santa Maria in the middle of the ocean in the last act, faces a mutinous crew and convinces them that they are at their long journey's end. He hears strange voices imploring him to turn back and is surprised that these voices do not welcome him or his church. When the sailors see the coast, Columbus does not raise his eyes to see the promised land. Instead, he bursts into tears.

Kazantzakis, Nikos. Christopher Columbus. Translated by Athena Gianakas-Dallas. Kentfield: Allen Press, 1972.

For a summary of its plot, see the entry above.

Kazantzakis, Nikos. "Melissa," translated by Athena Gianakas Dallas. In Three Plays, 95-209. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969.

This three-act play dramatizes the existential despair of Periander, King of Corinth (627-586 B.C.), who killed his wife (Melissa) because he did not want her to remarry after his death. Kypselos tells his brother Lycophron that he saw their dead mother's ghost with a golden dagger in her heart. Their maternal grandfather tells Lycophron that Periander killed Melissa. Lycophron conceives of a revenge plan that reverses the direction of Oedipal patricide in this tragedy. He declines Periander's offer to become his successor to the throne. Periander burns the grandfather to death and banishes Lycophron. Kypselos approaches Periander disguised as Melissa, and Periander kills him when he discovers the deception. Then he sets his palace on fire and poisons himself so that Lycophron can succeed him on the throne. Lycophron arrives before his father is dead, infuriates him, and succeeds in making his father stab him to death. Periander dies in despair.

Kazantzakis, Nikos. "Kouros," translated by Athena Gianakas Dallas. In Three Plays, 211-283. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1969.

This three-act play is about Theseus, the virgin prince of rural Athens, and Ariadne, the virgin daughter of Minos, king of the urbane Knossos. Theseus rejects her love because he suspects that it is only a pretext to prevent him from killing the Minotaur. Minos takes Theseus's dagger, unlocks the entrance to the labyrinth, and orders Ariadne to show Theseus the way. The underground struggle can be heard by the sea-captain and a chorus of six pairs of Athenian adolescent girls and boys in bull masks who, under the rapid beat of a drum, copulate in the fashion of bulls and heifers. Theseus and Ariadne exit from the labyrinth. Theseus says that he did not kill the Minotaur, because, under the sweet melody of Ariadne's flute, their wrestling ended in a tender embrace. He thanks Ariadne for giving him the greatest joy and for enabling them to conquer Death together. Then the door of the labyrinth breaks open and the liberated Minotaur-Kouros stands naked on the  threshold holding the mask of a bull. Theseus asks Kouros to come with him to Athens, leaving Ariadne behind.

Kazantzakis, Nikos. "Sodom and Gomorrah," translated by Kimon Friar. The Literary Review 19/2 (1976):122-256.

For a summary of this play's plot, see the entry below.

Kazantzakis, Nikos. Two Plays: Sodom and Gomorrah; Comedy: a Tragedy in One Act, Translated by Kimon Friar. St. Louis: North Central Publishing Co., 1982.

The book includes Karl Kerenyi's introduction to Comedy: a Tragedy in One Act, translated into English by Peter Bien. In Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham cannot understand the rationale of God's decision to save Lot from the fire that consumes the sinners of the twin cities. The rebel Lot, who murdered the king's five-year-old son and committed incest with his own daughters, believes that God is omnipotent only--not reasonable, just, or benevolent. Twelve years later, the murdered little prince rises from the grave. Lot greets the seventeen-year-old prince as both messiah and Lucifer. Lot claims that the way to freedom and salvation requires four steps in a man's life: He must affirm his sexuality and reenact the original sin; he must reenact Oedipus's double crime of patricide and incest; and he must wrestle with God. The young prince completes all four steps by the end of the play.

Kazantzakis, Nikos. "From Burn Me to Ashes," translated by Kimon Friar. Greek Heritage: The American Quarterly of Greek Culture 1/2 (1964):61-64.

This excerpt is from the text staged by the Bari and Bennett Productions at the Jan Hus Playhouse in New York City on 19 November 1963. The production was directed by Anthony Michales and was designed by Leo Kerz. Don Gunderson and Michael Del Medico were cast as Abraham and Lot respectively. The same play in translation appeared under a different title (Sodom and Gomorrah) in 1982. For a summary of its plot, see the entry above.

Kazantzakis, Nikos. "From Odysseus, A Drama," translated by Marios Byron Raizis. The Literary Review 16/3 (1973):352.

These excerpts are from two places in the text. In the first one, Odysseus's son is urged to take action and kill the suitors, who are after his fortune and his mother "like dogs in heat." In the second excerpt, Odysseus talks to the suitors before he begins to slaughter them with his bow and arrows. "Greetings to you, my lords; where are you going? / The doors are barred, and in my wide courts, / O bridegrooms, the wedding's about to begin!"

Kehaidis, Dimitris. "Backgammon," translated by George Valamvanos and Kenneth MacKinnon. The Charioteer 26 (1984):89-121.

Fontas and Kolias, two unemployed brothers-in-law, play backgammon. Kolias is upset because his wife is not at home to make him a cup of coffee. He makes a living by selling lottery tickets and providing sexual favors to a retired teacher who allegedly helps him write his memoirs about his patriotic work during the German occupation. Fontas proposes to send Kolias's wife as a maid to Mr. Simeonides, a rich landowner, to persuade him to give them 50,000 drachmas. He plans to charter a ship to Biafra to import starving black Africans because the Greek farmhands have emigrated to Germany as guest-workers. Kolias, who finally agrees to this slave trade, finds out that his wife has already gone to Simeonides as a maid and that Fontas actually plans to extort money from Simeonides by catching the landowner committing adultery with Kolias's wife. The brothers-in-law wrestle. Kolias demands his wife back immediately, but he gives in at the end. 

Kehaidis, Dimitris. "The Wedding Band," translated by John Chioles. Translation 14 (Spring 1985):110-166.

This one-act play presents three men in their late sixties in Larisa on a stormy Sunday night in December. A tailor (Kostas) and a jeweler (Mitsos) visit a bookseller (Prokopis), a bachelor with an enlarged prostate. He complains that business is slow at the bookstore, which is also his home. Kostas advises him to go sell copies of the Bible to the patients at the local clinic. Mitsos complains that Maria stole a wedding band from the display counter when he had to use the bathroom in the back of his jewelry shop. He thinks she is a thief. Kostas thinks that, prior to her marriage, she was a prostitute. Prokopis defends her because he is in love with her. Mitsos claims that he had sex with her. Prokopis gets depressed and threatens to slit his own throat unless Mitsos admits that he is telling boastful lies. He then opts for killing Mitsos by telling Maria's husband that Mitsos slept with her. They quarrel over their different perceptions of her, which are colored by their personalities and individual life experiences. As they accuse one another, each reveals his own sad past. Mitsos embezzled public subsidies to set up his shop, Kostas pimped for his former wife to make a living in the 1940s, and Prokopis served time in prison, where he acquired shady sexual habits.

Ksanthos, Markos. "The Seven Beasts and Karaghiozis," translated by Kostas and Linda Myrsiades. The Charioteer 19 (1977):20-49.

When the Turkish deputy in Greece died, his mother assumed his office and she decreed that whoever kills the seven beasts will marry her granddaughter and, upon the grandmother's death, will be the next deputy. The seven beasts eat the brave and scare off the less brave. Karaghiozis manages to kill only two small beasts; the parent beast attacks his hut. Alexander the Great wrestles with the beasts and, with Karaghiozis's help, kills them. The granddaughter, who loves Alexander, is happy to marry him, but her grandmother wants to feed the Greek infidel poisoned apples. She also hires two assassins to murder her granddaughter. Karaghiozis finds the granddaughter's dead body. Alexander kills the assassins; then he takes his own life next to his beloved's body. When Karaghiozis finds him dead, he stabs the grandmother in the neck with his penknife. He leaves her body unburied to be devoured by dogs, and he proceeds to bury the young couple.

Lidorikis, Alexandros. "The Uprooted," translated by Leslie Finer Thespis 2-3 (1965):101-125.

This three-act play, which takes place in 1964, deals with a Greek immigrant living comfortably in Los Angeles as Jim Brown (Dimitris Vrionopoulos). He enjoys painting, a prolonged middle-age crisis with various women, and entertaining friends--a mosaic of maladjusted, uprooted immigrants. Penny Peters (Penelope Petrides), a twenty-eight-year-old sociologist from Athens, falls in love with him and precipitates a crisis about his artistic and national identity. His friend, Hans Banders, is a Swedish immigrant whose starlet wife, in quest of a role, humiliates him with her sexual escapades with film directors. Hans has ended up an alcoholic, unemployed, and ashamed to return to his country. He finally kills his wife in Jim's house and the murder brings about a publicity opportunity for Jim's artistic career. Penny comments that Jim and his friends trample each other to death in the scramble to reach the top of the heap. She returns to Greece while Jim goes back to his Italian girlfriend and his decadent lifestyle.

Maniotis, Giorgos. "The Match," translated by George Valamvanos and Kenneth MacKinnon. The Charioteer 26 (1984):123-148.

In this one-act play, Stathis, an eighteen-year-old young man, attends night school because he works during the day to earn a living for himself and his parents. His father, who was  fed up with his wife and his lifestyle, has been immobilized in a wheelchair since he tried to kill himself. His mother, a female Macchiavelli, dominates her son in everything from choosing his clothes to choosing a wife. Therefore, she objects to his affair with Dora, who is eventually arrested in a hotel room with three rural boys. Stathis's father refuses to advise his son to marry a "good" woman like his mother who will squeeze the life out of him. Stathis, with his mother's approval, marries Zaneta, a decent young woman, and they have twins. The play ends as Stathis watches a soccer game on television. His mother switches to the movie channel and makes him watch a melodrama she has seen many times before. When Stathis switches back to the soccer game, his mother narrates the plot of the melodrama to her son.

Maniotis, George. "Three Dramatic Monologues: The Little Wooden Man; The Electric Lamp; The Snow," translated by George Valamvanos and Kenneth MacKinnon. The Charioteer 26 (1984):149-154.

A little wooden man with puppetlike movements talks about his life, which repeats two major cycles: work-home-work and vacations-soccer-shopping. Then he drops dead. In the second monologue, a soldier professes his love to an electric lamp, asking "her" to marry him and give him the exclusive right to turn "her" on and off. In the third monologue, a cosmopolitan lady sitting comfortably on her sofa tells about a night out with François in a European city when the snow was three feet high. She recalls that they went to the opera, dined at a restaurant, and danced all night. When the nightclub closed, she had to wait in the cold for François to get the car. Then she slowly started freezing and, for the first time in her life, she felt her will to live growing numb. Luckily, François came in time, and she safely got into the car.

Mourselas, Kostas. The Ear of Alexander. Translated by Mary Nickles. Athens: Anglo-Hellenic Publishing, 1976.

This two-act tragicomedy is about greedy Alexander, and Aspasia, his sexually perverse wife who loves carnivorous animals and plants. A loan shark, a salesman, an arsonist, and a man in black visit them late at night in their ostentatious apartment. Alexander, who is at the threshold of bankruptcy, asks for an extension date on his loan while he is waiting for his hired arsonist to set fire to his secretly emptied warehouse. The arsonist, who does not wish to kill the night guard, declines to burn the warehouse and the frustrated Alexander wants to cut off his genitals with a pair of scissors. The man in black offers Aspasia 20,000,000 drachmas if she delivers Alexander's dead body to him by morning. Alexander throws his willing wife into the arms of his chief creditor, who does not want to negotiate an extension date. In a fit of eroticism, Aspasia takes a bite from Alexander's left ear. At the end of the play, Alexander has difficulty breathing, and he collapses.

Mourselas, Kostas. "This One and . . . That One," translated by Andrew Horton. In Selected Plays, 19-91. Athens: Anglo-Hellenic Publishing, 1975.

This sequence of one-act plays, whose television broadcast was cancelled in 1973 owing to censorship, contains Bus Stop (23-37), The Egg (39-49), ID Card (51-69), The Stamp (71-81), and The Wheel (83-91). Two "tramps," Solon, formerly a lawyer, and Luke, formerly a watchmaker, have turned their backs on society, acquiring a philosophical perspective on life that the average citizen lacks. In Bus Stop, they argue that an old bus stop sign is not a bus stop sign and, therefore, that it does not designate a bus stop. If this is not a bus stop, then the bus, which arrives and stops in front of them, is not a bus! In The Egg, they suspect a plot behind the scientific efforts to extend the life span of the average citizen to 100 or 150 years. This means that the retirement age, which is now set at 60, will be reset at 90 or 140. The average citizens will have to work more years and enjoy life less. In ID Card, they  get arrested for sleeping on benches and for throwing stones to break the street lights that prevent them from going to sleep. They claim that the "civilized" people who support technology and the work ethic are very inconsiderate and stupid. Solon reminds Luke of the dangers of giving in to his materialist impulses. The police commissioner, who never managed to get his law degree, thinks that Solon is crazy for giving up a wonderful career for the lifestyle of a tramp. In The Stamp, they ask an accountant if they are entitled to unemployment compensation. Their record shows that they worked six days in a year. The accountant's answer is negative. They conclude that society has not yet reached the Golden Age in which man, like God, works six days and relaxes for the rest of time. In The Wheel, they discuss the "wheel of fortune," which, as it turns, makes or breaks careers and lives.

Mourselas, Kostas. "A Dialogue from Mourselas's The Egg," translated by Andy Horton. The Athenian 1/15 (1975):36.

This excerpt is from a one-act play that was part of Mourselas's televised series This One and . . . That One. It was published in translation in 1975. For a summary of its plot, see the entry above (39-49).

Mourselas, Kostas. "The Wheel." Translated by Andrew Horton. The Coffeehouse 2 (1976):3-11.

In this one-act play, Luke and Solon walk by an outdoor café where eight chairs are divided between two small tables under the shade of a tree. They sit, dividing the chairs between them. Each one needs one chair to sit on, one to put up his feet, and two on either side to rest his arms. They talk about their lost career opportunities and about a maid who supervises three maid servants in the palace. The wheel of fortune turns, and the maid's luck turns for the better. Luke's luck has always been bad. Solon suspects that Luke's wheel of fortune is not turning at all. Some wheels turn and some just don't!

Mourselas, Kostas. "The Lady Doesn't Mourn," translated by Andrew Horton. In Selected Short Plays, 93-123. Athens: Anglo-Hellenic Publishing, 1975.

Cleopatra, a thirty-five-year-old lady in black, and Anthony, her forty-five-year-old husband, who is secretary of the board of trustees of the company that her late father owned, are caught between two floors in an elevator along with an unidentified thirty-five-year-old man. It is a hot July night and they have just gotten out of the notary's office where her father's will was opened and read. Her father left only 20% of the company to her and 80% to his twenty-five-year-old mistress. The frustrations of an unhappy marriage are released in the small space of the elevator. She realizes that Anthony, who was unemployed prior to their engagement, married her to further his career prospects. She liberates herself from the psychological dominance of her father and husband by encouraging the sexual advances of the unidentified man in the elevator when she finds out that he followed her to the notary's office and waited for her to come out. When Anthony, in his three-piece suit, necktie, and hat, collapses exhausted in the overheated elevator because he cannot take his heart medicine, the already half-naked Cleopatra and the stranger embrace and kiss. The play ends with Cleopatra momentarily reconsidering her position as she stands between her unconscious husband and the stranger.

Palamas, Kostis. Royal Blossom or Trisévyene. Translated by Aristides Phoutrides. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1923.

This four-act tragedy tells the story of Trisevyeni who, in 1862, lives with her father and stepmother in a provincial Greek town. She is thrown out of the house when her father  suspects that she is sleeping with Petros, an allegedly asocial sea captain. Petros marries Trisevgeni, the daughter of the man who ruined his father, and departs on a prescheduled trip. Four months later, while Petros is still away, the townfolk gossip about Trisevgeni's conduct because she danced with Karales and borrowed money from him even though he was Petros's enemy. Petros, notified by his friend Panos, returns home immediately, pays off Trisevyeni's debt, and when she denies everything, he shows her the receipt from her debt. Disappointed and disillusioned, he prepares to embark again. Trisevyeni poisons herself and dies before Petros arrives at her deathbed. Trisevyeni's father arrives shortly thereafter.

Pergialis, Notis. "Masks for Angels," translated by Leslie Finer. In The New Theater of Europe, edited by Robert Corrigan, 1.193-218. New York: Dell, 1962.

This one-act play portrays the misery of two street vendors, Margo and Petros. Margo, a prematurely aged woman, became a prostitute when her boyfriend (Dimitris) abandoned her and emigrated to Australia. Petros, a crippled man, lost his leg owing to a land mine and lost his girlfriend (Maria) shortly thereafter. Standing in the cold night air outside a tavern in Plaka, they sell carnival masks to Dimitris and Maria, who do not recognize them. Dimitris complains that his wife is cheating on him with another man in the tavern. The wife turns out to be Maria. As the neon lights shift from red to blue and back, Margo and Petros express hostility and tenderness, respectively, for each other. Petros and Margo sell Maria and Dimitris two death masks. Dimitri confronts Maria, who has left him, and shoots her.

Piccolos, Nikolaos. The Death of Demosthenes. Translated by Grigorios Paleologos. Cambridge: Harwood and Newby, 1824.

This four-act tragedy is perhaps the first translation of a modern Greek play into English. Demosthenes, the Athenian orator, leaves his wife and children in Athens so that he may seek refuge at the temple of Neptune on the Island of Calavria. He is informed that (a) the democratic institutions of Athens have been destroyed by the Macedonians and the corrupt Athenians, and (b) that a Macedonian posse, which has killed the orator Hyperides on the island of Aegina, is now heading toward Calavria. The priestess of the temple prays that the god may protect them and Demosthenes. When the Macedonian marines surround the temple, the citizens of Calavria defend their temple and Demosthenes. Demosthenes poisons himself. His death ends the skirmish, but the hope lives on that freedom will some day be restored to Greece.

Prevelakis, Pandelis. "The Last Tournament," translated by André Michalopoulos. In Introduction to Modern Greek Literature: An Anthology of Fiction, Drama and Poetry, edited by Mary Gianos, 368-417. New York: Twayne, 1969.

This three-act tragedy is about a conspiracy, planned on Good Friday in 1478, against the Medici brothers--the realist Lorenzo and the idealist Giuliano. Lorenzo wants to inaugurate a scientific era in a united Italy. Giuliano reminds him that his "new era" pays only lip service to equality and brotherhood. With the consent of Pope Sixtus IV, the Cardinal Raffaelo Riario and the Pazzi clan plan to kill the brothers because the Medici rule hurts the financial interests of the Church. The conspirators modify their plan and, except for Montesecco, agree to kill them in the Cathedral during the Sunday mass. Montesecco informs Giuliano about the conspiracy, but Giuliano puts him in jail, ordering his jailer to set Montesecco free in twenty-four hours. Giuliano does not tell his brother. He believes that their sacrificial death will help the rebirth of the people. He tells pregnant Antonia to kill his child. In the Cathedral, the conspirators kill Giuliano, but Lorenzo  defends himself. The conspirators are arrested and executed. Lorenzo says that the conspirator Montesecco, who was imprisoned on Saturday, was beheaded by his jailer.

Prevelakis, Pandelis. "The Hand of the Slain," translated by Peter Mackridge. The Charioteer 16-17 (1974-1975):127-146.

This one-act play dramatizes the plight of Konstandis and Maria after the 1905 civil war between the troops of Prince George and the rebels of Eleftherios Venizelos at Theriso, Crete. The rebels, who declared the union of the Island of Crete with Greece, were defeated. Following the amnesty, one of the rebels (Konstandis) returns home. His mother-in-law tells him that his wife became a nun to atone for his war crimes. Konstandis retorts that he killed fairly, honorably, and justifiably--even when he killed the village constable (Maria's husband). Maria shoots to kill Kostandis, but she misses. The village priest asks the churchgoers to forgive their enemies from the civil war, and to try to love one another. Konstandis visits Maria in her house to relieve his guilt. He tells her that his wife abandoned him and that he is lonely, too. He asks for her forgiveness, envious of her commitment to honor her dead husband. If she was strong enough to try to kill him, she might be strong enough to try to love him, too. He asks her to become his wife. On his second visit, Maria stabs Konstandis when he turns his back to leave her house. His mother-in-law dresses his wound, but he does not reveal who stabbed him. Maria visits Konstandis's house. She feels damned because she stabbed him and ashamed because she missed again. She confesses that she loves him and promises to make it up to him. He tells her to leave before his mother-in-law returns home or else she will kill Maria and he will not be able to protect her. Kostandis dies. The mother-in-law returns home with three men and they catch her red-handed. They plan to shame Maria in public.

Skourtis, George. The Nannies. Translated by Patricia Kokori. Athens: Dodone Press, 1995.

This three-act play describes the ordeal of two unemployed Greeks, Peter and Paul. Stavros hires them to serve as companions (nannies) of his wife, whom he describes as a real babe. In Stavros's luxurious, isolated, and sealed mansion, Peter and Paul think that they are lucky and successful, until they realize that they are no longer free. All the shutters are bolted and Stavros locks the doors behind him every time he leaves the mansion. They feel like the entrapped victims of a sordid prank when Stavros informs them that his wife had actually died a while ago, but now she is alive and well again. His confusing claim makes sense in the context of Greek political rhetoric, which portrayed Democracy as a woman. The dictators killed Democracy in 1967, but they claimed that Democracy in Greece had died earlier and that their coup d'état, in fact, had brought Democracy back to life. This vampire of a Democracy is Stavros's wife. Peter and Paul want to quit their job, but they change their mind when Stavros raises their wages from $10 to $100 a day. Stavros wheels her corpse in on a bed. She looks so old and ugly that Peter and Paul burst into tears. Stavros expects them to show respect and affection to his wife. According to Peter, Paul is capable of showing affection even to Count Dracula for money. Peter no longer wishes to be bribed to keep an illusion alive. He attempts to escape from the mansion, but Stavros stops him. Stavros promises Paul a lot of money if he kills Peter. Paul kills Peter. Stavros praises Paul.

Terzakis, Anghelos. "From Emperor Michael," translated by Katherine Hortis. The Charioteer 4 (1967):40-49.

This translation of Act Two, Scene One, of Terzakis's play dramatizes an encounter that took place in A.D. 1401 between fifty-year-old Empress Zoë and twenty-eight-year-old Emperor Michael IV in her pavilion. She is a youthful looking hedonist annoyed by the  tolling bells of the Byzantine churches that commemorate the crucifixion of Christ. Michael, on the other hand, leads a life of ascetic discipline, plagued by guilt for committing adultery with Zoë, for strangling her late husband, Emperor Romanos, and for succeeding him to the throne and his bed. Locked up in her pavilion, where only eunuchs are allowed to enter, Zoë wishes Michael dead. Michael visits her barefoot, holding a candle, and they have an argument. He says that he gained the crown but lost his peace of mind. She calls him a coward. He almost strangles her but then releases her neck only to drop on his knees praying.

Terzakis, Angelos. Theophano. Translated by M. Rethis and George Crocker. Emporia, 1961.

This four-act (four-episode) tragedy dramatizes the last days of Theophano a tough woman, who is the daughter of a tavern-owner and the widow of Emperor Romanos. Emperor Phokas, who killed Romanos and married her, is now a guilt-ridden, superstitious fifty-year-old man, afraid that God will punish him for breaking his oath to become a monk. Phokas asks Tsimiskis, a war lord, to escort Theophano to Constantinople. He takes the command of the legions of the eastern front away from Tsimiskis, but then he gives up the idea of recapturing Jerusalem, and returns to Constantinople. Tsimiskis feels wronged by Phokas and takes advantage of Theophano's thirst for love. When Phokas confronts her with the rumors, she does not deny her affair with Tsimiskis, leaving no alternative for Tsimiskis but to kill Phokas. Indeed, he does kill Phokas in his bedroom, but then he locks Theophano in the same bedroom, and he crowns himself emperor at dawn. Theophano, realizing that she has lost everything, collapses on the floor.

Terzakis, Angelos. Thomas with Two Souls. Translated by Athan Agnos. Medford, 1964.

This three-act play dramatizes the dispute between Peter and Thomas. Thomas has "two" souls because he believes that the human body and soul are equally sacred since they both suffer. Thomas and his twin sister, Lysia, are bound together by a prophecy: whoever dies first, the other will also die. Thomas proclaims that Jesus was a common mortal who sacrificed himself in his quest for truth and justice. He wants people to reject authority and to keep searching for a truth that is never final. Peter thinks that Thomas's message spreads confusion among the Christians. Peter preaches that Jesus was a savior-god with a divine mission. Thomas thinks that Peter builds a hopeful tomorrow by distorting the past. Nathanael, whom Lysia refused to marry, turns Thomas over to the Romans. Lysia and Peter visit Thomas in prison. He rejects their escape plans, choosing death. Lysia agrees to it and stabs her left breast with a poisoned hairpin. An angel tells the audience that Thomas did not die but escaped.

Theodorakis, Mikis. "The Ballad of the Dead Brother," translated by George Giannaris. In Music and Theater, 63-130. Athens: Efstathiadis, 1983.

This two-act musical tragedy dramatizes how Greek youth were wasted during the German Occupation and the Greek Civil War in the 1940s. The prologue-mime is danced by Sofia, a widowed mother, and her two sons, twenty-year-old communist Pavlos and twenty-five-year-old nationalist Andreas. The Greeks, who were united against the Germans, have turned against each other. Ismene, Pavlos's sweetheart, betrays him in order to save her father, who was kidnapped by Pavlos's communist comrades. When she finally tries to warn him, she is killed by a stray bullet. Pavlos is arrested and taken to his execution. While the three mothers, whose sons were killed, are seated at the doorway of their houses weaving as in the beginning of the play, Andreas, who was killed in the ranks of the government's army, returns and dances for his mother. She cannot see him or any of the dead left-wing and right-wing Greeks who join hands and march toward the audience. 

Theotokas, Giorgos. "Alcibiades," translated by an anonymous translator. Thespis 4-5 (1966):217-245.

This three-act play dramatizes Alcibiades's belief that the select few, such as himself, have the power to unify nations and to "make" history by soaring above local interests. Socrates questions this assertion. Alcibides defects to the Spartans when the Athenian assault against vital Spartan colonies in Sicily fails. He would rather betray the Athenians than his vision. Alcibiades, however, cannot turn the Spartans into his instrument for world domination when he gets the Spartan Queen pregnant. He escapes to an Athenian outpost where the soldiers herald him as their commander. In Athens, Alcibiades is elected commander-in-chief in the war against Sparta and he defeats the Spartans at Cyzicus. When the Spartans defeat the Athenians during his absence, the Athenians blame Alcibiades. He escapes to the palace of Pharnabazus, Satrape of Phrygia, in Asia Minor. Pharnabazus then yields to Spartan political pressure and kills Alcibiades.

Theotokas, George. "Excerpts from Alcibiades," translated by E. Margaret Brooke and Ares Tsatsopoulos. The Charioteer 2/1 (1963):34-51.

This excerpt is the entire first scene from the first act. Hipparete, Alcibiades's wife, receives the news that the assembly of the Athenian citizens voted to declare war against Sicily, appointing Alcibiades, Nikias, and Lamachus to lead the expedition. Hipparete is skeptical of Greek politics and war schemes, especially when Greeks fight Greeks. Alcibiades returns home with his co-generals to toast the success of their war. He tells Hipparete that he loves her as much as he loves Athens. Hipparete hopes, for the sake of Athens, that he is more faithful a lover in his public affairs than in his private affairs. She had already filed for divorce because he sleeps with her housemaids. Domestic happiness is not one of Alcibiades's priorities. He is consumed by a premature ambition to rule the world--an ambition that was to be fulfilled by Alexander the Great a century later. He eventually betrays Athens to Sparta, Sparta to Athens, and Greece to Persia, in order to realize his ambition. Socrates warns him against his obsession and against the expedition. A slave announces that the faces and phalluses were smashed off the Hermae.

Theotokas, Giorgos. "The Game of Folly vs. Wisdom," translated by Mary Gianos. In Introduction to Modern Greek Literature: An Anthology of Fiction, Drama and Poetry, edited by Mary Gianos, 319-367. New York: Twayne, 1969.

This four-act comedy is about a bet between two men: Andronikos, a Byzantine king, who is an unfailing seducer of women of all ages, and Mavrianos, a disciplinarian party leader who boasts that nobody can seduce his sister, Arete. If Andronikos, without revealing his royal identify, seduces Arete, Mavrianos will lose his head. If, however, Andronikos fails to seduce her, he will lose his crown. Andronikos, who appears to Arete as a traveling scholar, is misled and seduces Arete's pretty but stupid female gardener while Arete witnesses the love scene. The next morning, Andronikos claims that he won the bet but refrains from beheading Mavrianos. When Arete appears with the gardener, however, he realizes that he was duped and gives up his kingdom. Arete, who finds the lifestyle that her disciplinarian brother had imposed on her quite boring, helps Andronikos escape from prison.

Varnalis, Kostas. The True Apology of Socrates. Translated by Stephen Yaloussis. London: Zeno, 1955.

This five-part satire, which has been performed on stage, dramatizes Socrates's defense. Socrates presents his case in Marxist terms, not Platonic ones. He tells the jury why they should have asked him to enter the Hall of Fame instead of convicting him. He exposes the motives of the merchant Anytus, the orator Lycon, and the poet Meletus before he demonstrates the absurdity of their charges. He explains why he denounced state religion; why he rejected the work ethic; why he had some influence on his students, whom he did not corrupt; why Athens is a mock democracy that prevents the poor from voting and suppresses freedom of speech and thought. He ascribes his popularity to Aristophanes's comedy The Clouds, and explains the core of his philosophy with provocative examples. The state laws, Socrates tells the jury, are devised to protect the unjust; therefore, if the jury acquits him, Socrates will suffer the injustice of being seen as one of the unjust.

Xenopoulos, Grigorios. "Devine Dream," translated by Mary Gianos. In Introduction to Modern Greek Literature: An Anthology of Fiction, Drama and Poetry, edited by Mary Gianos, 289-318. New York: Twayne, 1969.

This one-act comedy is about the dream of Morsimos, a former banker of Athens, who thinks that Dionysus wants him to become a playwright. He considers Sophocles his rival, and he refuses to allow his daughter to marry Sophocles's son, who is in love with her. His old slave advises him to marry his daughter off, to quit playwriting, and to begin to enjoy life. The son of Sophocles flatters Morsimos for his playwriting prowess and he wins a place in Morsimos's heart and in his household as future son-in-law. Luckily, Morsimos sees another divine dream in which he finds himself in Athens 2,400 years after Pericles's Golden Age. The buildings and the people are different, but the Parthenon is still in place and the Athenians still go to see the plays of Aeschylus. Morsimos now thinks that Dionysus wants him to quit wasting his time writing tragedies, so that he can enjoy life. Morsimos gives his manuscript to his slave to use as wrapping paper.

 

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