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


Dramatic theory, criticism and history  ( 2 of 3 )

Hadas, Rachel. "A Reading of The Sacrifice of Abraham." Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 6 (1980):43-60.

Hadas discusses the poem according to the stylistic contrast between Greek (Homeric) narrative style and Jewish (Biblical) narrative style. This binary opposition is set forth in Erich Auerbach's Mimesis. Auerbach, who compares the story of Odysseus's scar to the story of Abraham, describes the Greek narrative style as being leisurely and expansive whereas the Jewish narrative style is austere and direct. Hadas thinks that The Sacrifice of Abraham is a rare hybrid specimen because a Jewish story is told in Greek through a Greek genre--drama. She concludes that The Sacrifice of Abraham is a very actable drama. The main characters (Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac) find themselves in a situation comparable in a way to that of Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, and Iphigenia. The play successfully synthesizes Greek lavishness and Jewish austerity by paying homage to these suffering human beings, not to their God.

Hall, Edith. "Greek Theatre in the 1980s by Thomas H. Gressler. North Carolina and London: McFarland, 1989." Theatre Research International 15/3 (1990):281-282.

In this book review, Hall points out that the author's ignorance of the Greek language leads to shocking blunders and undermines any confidence in the book's general reliability. This book, which professes to offer a much needed overview of theatrical activities in contemporary Greece, is badly flawed. There is little discussion of actual dramatic performances and no attempt to expound the styles adopted by the new playwrights. In the first part of the book, the first chapter offers a garbled, reactionary account of Greek history, and the second chapter is an obtuse piece of amateur sociology. The second and third parts of the book could be used as a reference work by someone needing factual information about the history, location, funding, and activities of various Greek theaters, companies, drama festivals, and acting schools. But a significant portion of the book misrepresents the Greek theater--its language, culture, and national character.

Horton, Andy. "The Bitter Satire of Kostas Mourselas." The Athenian 1/15 (1975):35-36.

For Horton, Mourselas became popular without sacrificing the quality of his work. His plays--People and Horses (1959), Dangerous Load ( 1964), The Lady Doesn't Mourn ( 1966), and Oh Dad, What a World! (1972)--established him as one of those playwrights who revitalized postwar Greek drama by focusing on contemporary issues in an urban, technological society. He minimized the national features of "Greekness" in his characters, stressing only elements (such as anxiety and oppression) that are shared by all individuals in modern societies and cultures. A basic conflict in his plays is the clash between human  desire and the work ethic. His characters become aware of the social trap and they desire personal freedom. However, they are enmeshed in a complex social web that they cannot change or control. Typically, the dramatic action in his plays progresses from a simple and humorous situation to an increasingly complicated and ugly dilemma. Mourselas shares the existential belief that freedom is an act of self-will. He writes memorable scenes, but not memorable dialogue, because he always wants to draw attention to a theme or a situation.

Hourmouzios, Emilios. "The Ancient Drama in Our Time." In John Sideris, The Modern Greek Theater: A Concise History, translated by Lucille Vassardaki, i-xiii. Athens: Difros, 1957.

Hourmouzios argues that the interpretation of classical Greek drama in open-air theaters demands new directing and acting methods that run contrary to the methods practiced by the realistic theater of the day. He argues that the "archeological" revivals of classical tragedy, which do not "adulterate" the ancient Greek text and ritual, have failed to fulfill the expectations of modern audiences. Hourmouzios advocates a moderate, responsible updating of classical tragedy, a position that agrees with the classical Greek trend to separate tragedy from its theocratic and religious character. He concludes that the director must find new methods that will cherish and reintroduce to his audience the logos of the classical text, the only tangible element of classical tragedy preserved to date. Only when the logos becomes the center of the performance can the spirit of classical tragedy be revived. He claims that the revivals staged by the National Theater of Greece followed this basic view.

Hourmouzios, Emilios. "The Modern Interpretation of Attic Drama." In Transactions of the International Conference on Theater History, edited by I. Fletcher, J. Reading, and S. Rosenfeld, 7-8. London: Society for Theatre Research, 1957.

Hourmouzios divides Greek theater into three periods: classical, medieval, and modern. He claims that modern Greek theater is not different from European theater and that the distinctive mark of modern Greek theater since 1927 has been the revival of classical drama. Classical drama is a "living thing" that does not belong exclusively to ancient Athens and to the historical past of the Greek people. It has been in direct contact with the continuous flow of life from the past to the present and it has had the power to survive in modern times. How? It should be made accessible and intelligible to modern audiences by adapting it to the conditions of modern Athens, not by mentally transferring the spectator to the conditions of ancient Athens. Theater artists should search for the vital elements that have helped classical drama survive in spite of temporal and stylistic changes. These elements should stir modern spectators as much as they moved the ancient spectators.

Karampetsos, E. D. "Tyranny and Myth in the Plays of Four Contemporary Greek Dramatists." World Literature Today 53/2 (1979):210-214.

Karampetsos argues that the coup d' état by the Greek colonels in 1967 put a damper on the traditionally lively Athenian theater scene. Theater forms, which were formerly popular in Athens, were now ill-suited to the political climate of the dictatorship. As a result, the Greek theater was compelled to transform itself. Despite their obvious debt to contemporary Western dramatic theory, the new Greek playwrights did more than imitate foreign models. In the 1950s and early 1960s, the Athenian theater offered four basic types: situation comedies, melodramas, revues, and serious foreign plays in Greek translation. Further evidence of the reorientation of Greek audiences is the acceptance of plays by serious contemporary Greek playwrights between 1970 and 1974. During this period, over fifty-two new plays by Greek playwrights were produced, something unheard of in modern Greece, where audiences have normally preferred their "quality" theater to bear a foreign  signature. Prominent among the many dramatists produced during this period were Iakovos (erroneously called "Yiorghos" by Karampetsos) Kambanellis, Yiorghos Skourtis, Marietta Rialdi, and Stratis Karras. Karampetsos briefly discusses Kambanellis's Our Great Circus, Skourtis's Karaghiozis, Almost a Vizir, Rialdi's Oust, and Karras's The Troopers. With the fall of the dictatorship in 1974, the needs of audiences changed. The 1975-1976 season saw the comeback of the revue, for which the former dictatorship and the new political situation provided ample material.

Karpozilos, Apostolos. "The Cretan Drama of The Sacrifice of Abraham in the Dialect of the Mariupol Greeks." Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 18 (1994):155-185.

Karpozilos discusses a fourteen-stanza poem, "The Lamentation of Sarah," composed in 1902 by Damian Bgaditsa (1850-1906). Bgaditsa, who lived in the village of Sartana, was a descendant of the Greek Orthodox Christians who escaped the rule of the Tatars in Crimea by settling in about 24 villages in the Mariupol area and the Donetsk region in the Ukraine in 1778. This ethnic minority was recognized by the Soviet Union in 1926. It built and funded its own schools, an academy for the training of teachers, a museum of Greek art and history, and it published its own newspapers in the Greek Mariupol dialect. It was in this dialect that Georgi Kostoprav (1903-1944) translated Anton Chekhov's works before he was executed during the Stalinist purges. Kassandra Kontan included a Ukrainian translation of this poem in her anthology, Z Literaturi Mariyupol'skikh Grekiv (1932). For her, this poem is a fragment from The Sacrifice of Abraham--a play that was known to them before they left the Crimea in 1778. Bgaditsa rendered "The Lamentation of Sarah" in the Greek Mariupol dialect, which used the Greek alphabet phonetically, disregarding traditional spelling, because the Greeks in the Ukraine could no longer understand the Greek Cretan idiom. The poem published by Karpozilos is 106 lines long. It is based on one of the two transcriptions made in the Greek-speaking village of Makedoniya.

Kazantzakis, Nikos. "Drama and Contemporary Man," translated by Peter Bien. The Literary Review 19/2 (1976):115-121.

Kazantzakis believed that "our" age was profoundly dramatic because full of conflict, rebellion, sarcasm, and anguish. Of all literary genres, he chose drama because it can best express the fears and hopes of modern man effectively. Even his novels, no matter how much he strove to make them tranquil, assumed a violent dramatic pulse and became theatrical. He therefore concluded that drama was for him the most spontaneous form, and employed it. He began to write plays in unrhymed verse or in prose. He dealt with contemporary, actual issues even when he used ancient or mythical plots. He tried to articulate the hopes that help people sustain major suffering without losing faith in a better future. In the ancient Greek theater, the clashing tragic heroes were the scattered parts or limbs of Dionysus, while Dionysus, the complete, undivided god, stood invisible at the center of the theater observing the conflict. In Kazantzakis's opinion, three main ways were open to creative writers in his day: the ways of flight, disintegration, and integration. The way of integration was the most difficult and dangerous. In his play Sodom and Gomorrah, Kazantzakis followed the way of disintegration. The protagonist is neither Abraham nor Lot, but the invisible presence of the stormy times in which Kazantzakis lived.

Kerenyi, Karl. "Prologue to Comedy: A Tragedy in One Act," translated by Peter Bien. The Literary Review 18/4 (1975):412-416.

Kerenyi points out Kazantzakis's existentialism in this play, which predates Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit (1944) and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot (1952) and Comedie (1963).  Nikos Kazantzakis and Angelos Sikelianos were nominated for the Nobel Prize by the Greek Writers Union in 1946, but the Swedish Academy failed to recognize the full significance of their work because very few of their plays were available in translation.

Kokori, Patricia. "Kambanellis' The Courtyard of Miracles: A Refashioning of Theatrical Tradition." To Yofiri: Journal of Modern Greek Studies 12 (1992):12-21.

Kokori explores how Kambanellis extended the postwar Greek theatrical tradition by cautiously appropriating the innovations in the 1950s of the European avant-garde (especially Brechtian principles and existential sensibilities). She claims that Kambanellis's effort to promote a new realist style for modern Greek drama, different from the prevalent naturalist style, constitutes a turning point in the history of the Greek theater. She focuses on The Courtyard of Miracles, a frequently performed play that she regards as the zenith of postwar Greek neo-realism. Kokori analyzes the economic predicament of the working class people in the play, and the technique of shifting audience sympathies toward a character (e.g., Anneto) by delaying full disclosure of his or her personal history. The courtyard, as a thematic image that represents a communal way of life, is destroyed by those who herald the new era of the alienating apartment house.

Krafchick, Marcelline. "Theater in Athens Today." Educational Theater Journal 8 (1956):207-216.

Krafchick mentions the limited information available in English about modern Greek theater in the early 1950s and offers a tourist's view of a sector of theatrical activities in Athens during her nine-day visit. She watched Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor at the National Theater of Greece (Terzakis), Macbeth at the Rex Theater (Kotopouli), Robert Sherriff's Journey's End at the Theater of Athens (Ploritis), Giorgos Roussos's Tuesday the 13th at the Argyroupolis Theater (Logothetidis), Chekhov's three one-act plays at the Athens Art Theater (Koun), and a French comedy entitled The Eighth Wife at the Mousouris Theater. Overall, this article is a subjective but interesting account by a young theater scholar who had no previous contact with modern Greek language or culture.

La Piana, George. "The Byzantine Theater." Speculum 11/2 (1936):171-211.

La Piana makes a clean sweep of Sathas's unfounded theories in his Istorikon dokimion peri tou theatrou kai tęs mousikęs tôn Buzantinôn (Venice, 1879), arguing that Byzantine religious drama had four sources: the apocrypha, the Syriac canticles, the hymnographers, and the popular comedy or the mime (cf. the homily about Joseph, Mary, and Gabriel attributed to Germanos of Constantinople, and Proclos's Encomium). The liturgical drama, which may have replaced the sermon, remained within the liturgy. La Piana criticizes Cottas's Le Théâtre ŕ Byzance (Paris, 1931) and L'Influence du drame "Christos Paschon" sur l'art chrétien d'Orient (Paris, 1931) and concludes that all the evidence about the presumed theater in Byzantium consists of a few fragments from the late eighth or early ninth century, several vague references to dramatic compositions, a few dialogues with personifications of abstract qualities, written for pedagogical purposes, and some satirical pieces. Christ Suffering and Three Children in the Furnace attest to the existence of a liturgical drama around the twelfth century in some parts of the Greek-speaking Byzantine Empire.

Lowe, C. G. "The Rhodolinos of Joannes Andreas Troilos." In Eis mnęmęn Spuridônos Lamprou, 190-198. Athens: Estia, 1935.

Lowe observes that Legrand knew about Troilos's tragedy King Rhodolinos when he compiled his Bibliographie hellénique ou description des ouvrages publiés par des Grecs au XVIIe sičcle (Paris, 1894, II:37-38, no. 388). Legrand was unable to find a copy of the play and drew his information from a comment by Christian August Brandis, an adviser of King Otto in Greece. Brandis presumably read King Rhodolinos in a copy published in Venice in 1647. As a tribute to the memory of the late scholar Spyridon Lambrou, Lowe describes the copy that he found in the Gennadios Library in Athens. It is a small octavo volume of 136 pages with legible printing. It includes a title page, a list of the speaking characters, and a prologue spoken by Fortune. The play proper has 3,128 15-syllable lines and five acts separated by short choral odes. Lowe ends his article with a plot summary of King Rhodolinos.

Martin, Donald. "Theotokas's Constantinople: Nostalgia as a Source of Literary Creativity." Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 2 (1986):113-120.

Martin offers an aesthetic appreciation of Theotokas's novels Leonis and Argo, his essay Free Spirit and, only summarily, his play The Game of Folly vs. Wisdom. He argues that the two novels represent, respectively, the nurturing and the negative aspects of Theotokas's nostalgia for Constantinople. Theotokas's essay, however, clearly illustrates that his Constantinople is a metaphor for both bondage and liberation. This nostalgia has a subconscious, subrational appeal to the reader of the novels that is perhaps similar to the appeal that Andronikos exerts on Arete in The Game of Folly vs. Wisdom. Although the rational and reasonable characters win the contest in the play, Arete cannot dispense with the irrational and subconscious presence embodied by Andronikos. Interestingly, this article does not mention the exemplary metaphorical use of Constantinople in Theotokas's play Byzantine Night (1944).

Maskaleris, Thanasis. "The Socially Committed Sikelianos 1941-1951." Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 2/2 (1975):39-41.

Maskaleris proposes a revisionist look into the work of Sikelianos, free from political and aesthetic bias. He argues that the impact of World War I and the 1922 defeat of the Greeks by the Turks in Asia Minor made Sikelianos withdraw to metaphysical concerns that gave rise to his Delphic Idea and to his first poetic drama, The Dithyramb of the Rose (1932). However, the alarming advance of fascism in the 1930s made Sikelianos once again become socially concerned and write his second tragedy, The Sibyl (1940). The experience of hunger, pain, and oppression during the Axis occupation of Greece inspired his tragedies Daedalus in Crete (1943), Christ in Rome (1946), and The Death of Digenis (1947). Maskaleris concludes that Sikelianos's major concerns during the last decade of his life were the issues of freedom and social justice.

Matlaw, Myron. "Greece." In Modern World Drama: An Encyclopedia, 318. New York: Dutton, 1972.

Matlaw gives an extremely brief description of modern Greek drama from 1865 to 1967. The limited space of this account gives rise to several misappraisals about the contribution of certain playwrights--for example, Notis Pergialis--to modern Greek drama. The work of directors, designers, actors, and critics is neglected. Matlaw overestimates the effect of the censorship exercised by the junta in 1967.

Mavrogordato, John. "The Greek Drama in Crete in the Seventeenth Century." Journal of Hellenic Studies 48 (1928):75-96.

Mavrogordato discusses three plays: The Sacrifice of Abraham (1635), an unusual "mystery" play of liturgical origin intended to be performed at the Easter festival; Erophile (1637), an Elizabethan-like tragedy of love and bloodshed written by Georgios Hortatzes; and Gyparis,  a pastoral tragicomedy. He speculates on the plays' approximate dates of composition, first and subsequent publications, authorship, and language. He also provides detailed plot summaries.

Mavrogordato, John. "The Cretan Drama: A Postscript." Journal of Hellenic Studies 48 (1928):243-246.

Mavrogordato briefly argues that The Sacrifice of Abraham was directly modeled on Luigi Groto's biblical play Lo Isach (1586); that Panurgia in Groto's Il Pentimento Amoroso (1583) is an earlier version of Panorea in Gyparis. He provides a detailed summary of Groto's Lo Isach, which he compares to The Sacrifice of Abraham. He concludes that the two plays are structurally identical but that the Greek play stresses poetry and humanism.

Moskhos, Mikhalis. "Romanos' Hymn on the Sacrifice of Abraham: A Discussion of the Sources and a Tradition." Byzantion 44 (1974):310-328.

Moskhos observes that Romanos's hymn deviates from the biblical story on seven points. Was Romanos influenced by the eight homilies and sermons on the topic of the sacrifice of Abraham that were written by the Fathers of the Eastern Orthodox Church--Gregory of Nyssa, Ioannes Chrysostomos, and Ephraem of Syria? Moskhos argues that Romanos relied on his imagination and the biblical story rather than on the homilies of the Fathers, who had recognized the potential for dramatic conflict between Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and God in the biblical story. Moskhos concludes that Romanos increased the dramatic effectiveness of his hymn by introducing dramatic dialogue, by rejecting the omniscient narrative viewpoint, and by adopting the subjective viewpoint of the characters involved.

Mouzenidis, Takis. "The Revival of Ancient Drama." Thespis 6 (1972):24-28.

Mouzenidis highlights several steps in reviving classical drama in modern Greece: Rangavis's translations of Euripides's The Phoenician Women (1927) and of Sophocles's Antigone (1867) at the newly excavated Theater of Herod Atticus, the Hristomanos-Voutieridis translation of Euripides's Alcestis (1901), the Classical Drama Festival at Delphi organized by Angelos and Eva Sikelianos (1927), the opening of the National Theater of Greece (1932), and the establishment of the classical drama Festival at Epidaurus (1954). Mouzenidis also distinguishes five different performance styles: the archeological (texts in original Greek), the neoclassical (bombastic and melodramatic), the realistic (which deemphasizes the poetry), the modernist (in which Artemis appeared in twentieth-century riding costume), and the expressionist.

Myres, J. L. "The Miser's Doom: A Modern Greek Morality." The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 25 (1896):102-104.

Myres's illustrated article describes a street performance that Myres saw in Athens during the 1893 carnival season. Seven performers in masks and costumes (a miser, two angels, two devils, a one-man chorus, and a walk-on who also collected money from the audience) performed a skit in iambic tetrameter. The miser, who gets upset when the chorus reproaches him for his lifestyle, feels sick after he chases the chorus away. The angels and devils approach the miser's deathbed and he pleads for his life. The archangel strikes him dead and the other angel extracts the miser's soul, which is represented by a small, nude doll. When weighed against its "good deeds," the soul's scale sinks. The angels give the miser's soul to the devils, who torture it. The chorus advises the audience that they should pay for the performance they just saw if they wish to escape the miser's doom. The miser stands up, and the company carry their props (desk, chair, "bed") to the next street. 

Myrsiades, Kostas. "The Classical Past in Yannis Ritsos' Dramatic Monologues." Papers on Language & Literature 14/4 (1978):450-458.

Myrsiades discusses Ritsos's classical cycle of eleven dramatic monologues: The Dead House, Under the Mountain's Shadow, Ajax, Philoctetes, Agamemnon, Chrysothemis, Helen, Ismene, Persephone, Orestes, and The Return of Iphigenia. In Ritsos's view, modern man is the sum of the possibilities of his past. In building a future, his task is to revive in himself the resources of his race without letting any ancient myths diminish his present and its meaning for the future. Ritsos therefore rejects Seferis's pessimistic view, which sees the classical past as the golden rule against which the modern present is measured and is found wanting, and which concludes that modern man has no future. For Ritsos, the past must be overcome because the historical identity of a people exists in that people's present consciousness. Standing firmly in the present, Ritsos scrapes off the stain of antiquity from the ancient myths. Unlike Seferis, Ritsos does not intersect past and present to comment on the inadequacy of the present. Unlike Kazantzakis, he does not steer the past in the direction modern man would take were he placed to live in the past. Unlike Cavafy, he does not embed himself in the past, using historical events and personages as ironic commentary on the present. Ritsos reenacts the scarred dignity that has marked the everyday experiences of the Greek peasant during the long history of Greece.

Myrsiades, Kostas and Linda Myrsiades. "Texts and Contexts: A Primer for Translating from the Oral Tradition." Translation Review 11 (1983):45-59.

Kostas and Linda Myrsiades argue that the Karaghiozis shadow plays are cultural products of an oral tradition that provides role models for its audiences. Translators, therefore, should select a "text" that represents its class and its culture, not just a local variant; they should respect the traditional techniques of oral composition; they should translate by effacing themselves, since the original "text" resulted from the interaction of the Karaghiozis puppeteer with his audience; they should translate what is culturally significant for the target audience by striving for a dynamic, cultural equivalence rather than a formal, literal equivalence between the original text and its translation; and they should recapture the social immediacy of the performance. Kostas and Linda Myrsiades conclude that translations should be attempted directly from taped (video/audio) performances of collections such as the Milman Parry Collection at the Center for the Study of Oral Literature, Harvard University.

Myrsiades, Linda. "Adaptation and Change: The Origins of Karaghiozis in Greece." Turcica 18 (1986):119-136.

Myrsiades argues that, after the Greek War of Independence, the Greek upper class made a radical shift away from orientalism, whereas the Greek lower class maintained ties with a residual Muslim cultural presence in Greece in the nineteenth century. She examines the process of assimilation of the Turkish Karagöz in Greece. The Turkish Karagöz was gradually Hellenized in this new cultural environment even though the oriental satire and sexual humor were retained. The Greek Karaghiozis developed an independence from the Turkish Karagöz because it was transplanted into nineteenth-century Greek oral literature, which had persisted from the Byzantine into the Ottoman era. Myrsiades concludes that the Turkish Karagöz did not appear in Greece in the eighteenth century because the Greek Orthodox Church and the local Greek authorities resisted its dissemination. Under the anti-Turkish sentiments of Greek nationalists, it gained "formal" acceptance very slowly. 

Myrsiades, Linda. "Aristophanic Comedy and the Modern Greek Karagiozis Performance." Classical and Modern Literature 7/2 (1987):99-110.

Myrsiades argues that the Greek Karaghiozis grew out of an earlier Turkish Karagöz whose performances spread throughout the Middle East in the sixteenth century, and ultimately arrived in Greece perhaps in the eighteenth century. Nonetheless, she acknowledges that Cedric Whitman makes a strong case when he suggests that the Greek Karaghiozis revived the comic spirit of "cleverness." This spirit was shared by Aristophanes's comic heroes, reflecting a collective popular psychology. Myrsiades then submits that Karaghiozis's cleverness serves as a resurgence of the transcendent cleverness of such Aristophanic characters as Dicaeopolis, Xanthias, and Strepsiades. She claims that, like the Aristophanic comic hero, Karaghiozis may be seen as a force by means of which the underdog avenges himself against the powerful. Myrsiades concludes that the effect, the structure, the themes, the stock characters, the conflicts, the comic statements, and the spirit of anarchy and freedom of the Karaghiozis plays echo the intent and effects of Aristophanes's comedies. She ends the article by juxtaposing in two columns some of Aristophanes's comedies and some Karaghiozis plays.

Myrsiades, Linda. "The Female Role in the Karaghiozis Performance." Southern Folklore Quarterly 44 (1980):145-163.

Myrsiades points out that the Karaghiozis shadow theater has a limited number of female stock characters such as the hag, the nag, the flirt, and the obedient daughter or wife. They have fewer lines and appear less frequently than the male characters. She argues that, under the influence of the Turkish Karagöz, the female characters were "objects" in the hands of the male characters. Under the influence of Greek nationalism and the urbanization of rural Greece, they became down-to-earth, domesticated wives or daughters with subordinate social, domestic, and sexual functions. Myrsiades concludes that the female characters are underrepresented in the dramatic world of the Karaghiozis shadow plays. However, their portrayal moved away from the anti-feminist sentiments of Turkish-style Karaghiozis puppeteers (Kareklas, Vasilaros) to the moderate sentiments of Greek-style Karaghiozis puppeteers (Xanthos, Haridimos). But even the Greek-style Karaghiozis puppeteers did not question male dominance.

Myrsiades, Linda. "Greek Resistance Theater in World War II." The Drama Review 21/1 (1977):99-107.

Myrsiades argues that the traveling puppeteers of the Karaghiozis shadow theater were part of a larger communication network that disseminated anti-Nazi literature in the cities and villages of Greece. Besides the traveling puppeteers, Greek guerrilla fighters performed agit-prop plays by Vasilis Rotas, Yerasimos Stavrou, and Yorgos Kotzioulas, soliciting the villagers' help for their cause by exchanging tickets for food. German censorship, which was imposed in 1941, closed city theaters periodically (May, June, and July in 1942 and 1943) and approved of only a short list of plays. The Greeks, nonetheless, produced (1) German plays by Schiller and Hebbel in subtle anti-Nazi interpretations, (2) liberal foreign plays--such as the 1943 production of Tobacco Road at the Athens Art Theater--with titles and authors' names falsified. In Thessaloniki, Palamas's Trisévyeni was revived in 1943 to represent the untamed national spirit of the Greeks against Nazi oppression.

Myrsiades, Linda. "Historical Source Material for the Karagkiozis Performance." Theater Research International 10/3 (1985):213-225.

Myrsiades suggests that the regional Greek stock characters, dialects, costumes, and manners of the Karaghiozis shadow theater express the continuity of Greek culture in the  nineteenth century. She argues that the Greek upper middle class and its administrative branch resisted the establishment of the Karaghiozis shadow theater in Greece in the nineteenth century for the following reasons: The Greek Karaghiozis was similar to the Turkish Karagöz, a stock character who had his roots in the Byzantine and the classical Greek mimes; Karaghiozis's vulgar, anarchist, and unethical practices offended upper-class sensibilities; and the Karaghiozis characters spoke in the modern Greek of the folk songs rather than the purist Greek language favored by the Greek administration. Myrsiades concludes that the Karaghiozis shadow theater, which was heavily influenced by the Turkish stock characters and subject matter, was supported mainly by the lower classes.

Myrsiades, Linda. " Karankiozęs: A Bibliography of Primary Materials." Mantatophoros 21 (1983):15-42.

Myrsiades lists primary source materials on the subject of Greek shadow theater since 1826. These materials are available in the archives of the Hellenic Theater Museum, the National Library of Greece, the Gennadios Library in Athens, and the Milman Parry Collection at the Center for the Study of Oral Literature of Harvard University. The bibliography focuses on manuscripts, audiotapes, videotapes, and slides. The list does not include printed texts of Karaghiozis plays because they represent the "corrupt" influence of the written literary tradition and the local interests of the publishers, not the tradition of the art of oral composition. For additional bibliographical entries, see Linda Myrsiades, "The Karaghiozis Tradition and Greek Shadow Puppet Theater: History and Analysis" (Ph.D. dissertation, Indiana University, 1973) and Aekaterini Mistakidou, "Comparison of the Turkish and Greek Shadow Theater" (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1978).

Myrsiades, Linda. The Karagiozis Heroic Performance in Greek Shadow Theater. Translations by Kostas and Linda Myrsiades. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1988.

This book begins with a historical survey of the Karaghiozis performances in Greece, discussing origins, developments, and cultural contexts. Then it presents two translations with critical notes that compare historical knowledge and folk tradition: Kostas Manos's Katsandonis (63-136), translated by Kostas Myrsiades, and Markos Ksanthos's The Seven Beasts and Karagiozis (149-175), translated by Kostas and Linda Myrsiades. Katsandonis is a three-part play: the first part has 3 acts and 17 scenes, the second part 4 acts and 15 scenes, and the third part 5 acts and 20 scenes. An introductory analysis explains each playtext by examining its sources, structure, and variant texts performed by different Karaghiozis puppeteers. Finally, the three appendices provide information about the stock characters of the Karaghiozis shadow theater, the "stage" of the Karaghiozis performance, and the history of the published texts of Karaghiozis shadow theater.

Myrsiades, Linda. "The Karaghiozis Performance in Nineteenth Century Greece." Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 2 (1976):83-97.

Myrsiades argues that the Greek Karaghiozis shadow theater originated from the Turkish Karagöz shadow theater--even though she has no records prior to the testimony of J. C. Hobhouse, who saw a Karagöz play performed in Greece in 1809. She claims that the Turkish Karagöz was introduced to Greece by the Turks prior to the Greek War of Independence in the 1820s, a period that was hostile to Turkish culture. The Karagöz shadow theater moved from northern Greece, which was heavily populated by Turks, to newly liberated southern Greece, where the Turkish stock characters and plots were Hellenized and new Greek stock characters and plots were introduced. The 1841 and 1852 performances in Nafplion and Athens, respectively, show how far south the Karagöz puppeteers had reached. The first completely Greek Karaghiozis shadow theater originated in Patras in the 1890s, becoming the most representative national dramatic form until the 1930s.

Myrsiades, Linda. "Legend in the Theater: Alexander the Great and the Karaghiozis Text." Educational Theater Journal 27/3 (1975):387-394.

Myrsiades argues that, for many centuries, the Greeks had no performances of literary drama and that the Karaghiozis shadow theater expressed the national identity of the illiterate Greeks. She traces the fool hero and the farcical situations in the Karaghiozis shadow plays back to the Byzantine and Classical Greek mimes despite the dominant influence of the Turkish Karagöz shadow plays in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. She divides the topics of the Greek Karaghiozis shadow theater into comic, tragicomic, and historical, maintaining that most topics originated in legends and folk tales, such as that of Saint George and Alexander the Great, that blend pagan (classical) and Christian (Byzantine) values. She points out, however, that several Karaghiozis shadow plays show a literary influence. For example, Mollas's Karaghiozis and the Beautiful Gypsy (1925) is patterned after Cervantes's Don Quixote, and Markos Xanthos's Karaghiozis as Woodcutter (1924) after Moličre's Le Médecin malgré lui.

Myrsiades, Linda. "Nation and Class in the Karaghiozis History Performance." Theater Survey 19/1 (1978):49-62.

Departing from the practices of their Turkish counterparts, the Greek Karaghiozis puppeteers exploited Greek local idioms and customs as well as the socioeconomic gap between the upper and lower classes in the Greek kingdom by giving patriotic performances about local heroes for their nineteenth century audiences. Dimitris Sandouris (Elias Mimaros), a traveling puppeteer from Patras, had assimilated in his work the various characteristics of the Greek Karaghiozis performance by 1894. Especially during the four-year occupation of Greece by the German and Italian forces in the early 1940s, the adventures of Karaghiozis expressed the complaints of poor Greeks against socioeconomic tyranny, rather than overt protests. The Karaghiozis puppeteers performed at great personal risk. Their performances were based on class distinctions, on prejudicial national sentiments, on superstitious religious feelings, and they manifested a limited political understanding.

Myrsiades, Linda. "Non-theatrical Entertainments in Greece: Through the Eyes of Foreign Travellers, 1750-1850." East European Quarterly 16/1 (1982):45-58.

Myrsiades argues that around 1821 Greek entertainment grew from a homogeneous, popular, domestic pastime to a socially polarized amusement. Prior to 1821, the Greeks had religious festivals, holidays, a carnival season, bazaars, and fairs that attracted itinerant dancers, singers, jugglers, actors, and story-tellers. After 1821, the growth of reading clubs next to coffee houses manifested the social divisions between the upper class and lower classes. Westernized balls and musical concerts became popular among members of the upper class. Unfortunately, Athens had the only symphony orchestra in Greece and, whenever the king wanted music with his dinner parties, the companies performing at the Theater of Athens and their audiences had to wait. Myrsiades concludes that these social and national divisions were bridged during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, when the acceptance of native popular taste helped to bring about the birth of a coherent national culture. 

Myrsiades, Linda. "Oral Composition and the Karaghiozis Performance." Theater Research International 5/2 (1980):107-121.

Myrsiades traces some patterns of oral composition techniques in the Greek Shadow Theater since the first recorded Turkish performance in Greece in 1809. She distinguishes the Turkish Karagöz performance (conceived as primitive) from the Greek Karaghiozis performance, discussing characteristics in prologues, plots, and conclusions. She sees a difference in the way the quarrel and the quiz scenes were handled by prewar and postwar Karaghiozis puppeteers. She argues that the Karaghiozis Shadow Theater continues the oral tradition established by Homer's epics in Ancient Greece, by the epic of Akritas in Byzantine Greece, and by the ballads of the Greek freedom-fighters in Turkish-occupied Greece. She concludes that the oral composition of Karaghiozis performances successfully resisted domination by the corrupting influence of literary drama.

Myrsiades, Linda. "Oral Traditional Form in the Karaghiozis Performance." Ellęnika 36 (1985):116-152.

Her understanding based on 36 interviews and 41 Karaghiozis plays, Myrsiades discusses how the Karaghiozis puppeteer composed his performance-text. She assumes that the Karaghiozis puppeteer's compositional process was simpler and freer than theorists generally think because he would rather entertain than observe structural or thematic "laws." She discusses (1) the compositional units that made up the performance, (2) the compositional techniques of expansion, substitution, and order, (3) the creative process in terms of inspiration and organization. She concludes that the process of composition was structured by a three-part framework (introduction, main action, and closing action). Within this framework, the scenes had different functions: the stock scenes could be substituted; the plotted scenes could not be substituted; and the specifying scenes could be substituted only when they were thematically related.

Myrsiades, Linda. "Resistance Theatre and the German Occupation." Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 17/2 (1991):5-36.

The war-records of the German army, the British intelligence, and the Greek government determined the narrative of later historical accounts about the 1940s. The viewpoints and memories of the average Greek villager about the 1940s have not received any attention until recently. Several autobiographies by Greeks who were involved in guerrilla warfare and guerrilla theater have surfaced, providing testimony of the constant and discreet action of resistance theater troups. These troups provided ideological preparation and social unity for armed struggle. In Antonio Gramsci's sense, history in action was the only philosophy to which these troups adhered. The cultural teams formed by EPON (the youth branch of EAM) launched an impressive number of theatrical performances. More formal troupes, such as the Kaftantzis EPON troupe, the Kotzioulas ELAS troupe, and the Rotas EPON troupe, were organized in 1943.

Myrsiades, Linda. "The Struggle for Greek Theater in Post-Independence Greece." Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 7/1 (1980):33-52.

Myrsiades explains why Greek drama failed to establish itself in the newly founded kingdom of Greece prior to the 1880s. The Greek enlightenment that preceded the 1821 Greek revolution was influenced by European neoclassical plays rather than by classical Greek plays in the eighteenth-century Greek communities in the European capitals. The classical continuity was located in a residual paganism that affected the folk tradition, not the literary tradition. She concludes that a combination of factors inhibited the quick  growth of a native theater in Greece: class conflict, the lack of a professional cadre of theater artists, the lack of a suitable repertory of Greek plays, the lack of well-defined managerial policies, the lack of financial stability, debilitating licensing regulations, and bureaucratic intolerance of theatrical performances. She argues that modern Greek theater grew out of two impulses: a desire for liberty among the Greeks in the Ottoman Empire, and an understanding that the new era required new means of expression. The intervention of the king's entourage and other westernizing political factions helped Greek theater to take roots in Athens.

Myrsiades, Linda. "Theater and Society: Social Content and Effect in the Karaghiozis Performance." Folia Neohellenica 4 (1982):147-159.

Myrsiades argues that, unlike the plays of the Greek enlightenment in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and the agit-prop plays in the 1940s, the Karaghiozis shadow plays were not a systematic form of ideologically committed theater that dealt with historically specific social conflicts. Through the study of the Karaghiozis shadow plays, Myrsiades hopes to understand the relationship between theater and society. She investigates how society affected the composition of the shadow plays and how the shadow plays affected their audiences. The Karaghiozis puppeteer, who was an average person, tried to reflect his society by entertaining rather than by agitating his audience. Myrsiades concludes that Karaghiozis's humor reflected society honestly, expressing popular conservative values. The same essay by the same author under the same title appeared in To Hold a Mirror to Nature: Dramatic Images and Reflections, edited by Karelisa V. Hartigan, 61-76. (University of Florida Department of Classics Comparative Drama Conference Papers, volume 1. Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1982.)

Myrsiades, Linda. "Traditional History and Reality in the View of the Karaghiozis History Performance." Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 1 (1985):93-107.

Myrsiades looks into the oral literature of the Greek shadow theater in order to explain how the Greek common man viewed historical events--especially under Ottoman rule. She discusses several "history" plays by Karaghiozis puppeteers such as Mollas, Moustakas, and Xanthos, who brought "oriental" values into their performance-texts when nineteenth-century Greeks were adopting "Western" values and a national consciousness. She argues that the Karaghiozis history plays distorted and conventionalized historical events and personages by making their dramatic function interchangeable. Cultural universality rather than historical accuracy determined composition, allowing anachronisms placed in an eternal Greek landscape and in an uninterrupted historical time. These plays survived for seventy-five years because they justified the values of the existing culture, not because they conveyed historically accurate information about the past.

Myrsiades, Linda, and Kostas Myrsiades. Karagiozis: Culture and Comedy in Greek Puppet Theatre. Lexington: The University of Kentucky Press, 1992.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part revisits several issues that had not been addressed conclusively by scholars working in Greek. The authors discuss as a form of folklore the "non-canonical" and "unofficial" world of the Karaghiozis shadow theater, its split social vision, and the cultural pluralism that it represents. In the last chapter of the first part, they deal with the career of Yorgos Haridimos, a Karaghiozis puppeteer who retired in 1989. The second part consists of a translation made from Haridimos's 1973 performance of Karagiozis [as] Baker. The translation also includes Haridimos's testimony about scenic effects and audience responses during the performance--becoming a record of oral compositional techniques in performance. 

Nickels, Mary. "Alexander's Ear." The Athenian 1/15 (1975):36-37.

Nickels reviews a performance of Kostas Mourselas's play Alexander's Ear at the Analyti Theater. Nickels summarizes the plot of the play and she mentions that Ilias Logothetis (Apostolos) was convincing and comical, Vassilis Platakis (Joseph) was completely believable, Nikos Pangratis (Aristides) performed with impeccable nerve, and Makis Revmatas (the Man in Black) was matter-of-fact and properly sinister.

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