Interview: Ancient Greek tragedy "Medea 2" to be shown in Beijing

2008-07-28 16:18:15 GMT       2008-07-29 00:18:15 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

ATHENS, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Dirmitris Papaioannou, director of the 2004 Athens Olympics opening ceremony, is to bring his adapted version of ancient Greek tragedy Medea to Beijing early August.

Papaioannou told Xinhua in an exclusive interview in Athens that most of the techniques adopted by the Athens Olympics opening ceremony were first tried out in the performance of Medea in 1993.

Papaioannou directed Medea 2 based on the 1993 version specially for the "Cultural Year of Greece in China." The play will be performed in the newly-built Grand National Theatre in Beijing on Aug. 1 and 2.

Medea 2 had a trial showing at the Athens Festival early this July. The audience reacted favorably, proving that it has stood the test of time.

"Medea tells a story of a special witch and her love affairs with an arrogant Greek hero. She is adorable, dangerous, passionate as well as revengeful," said Papaioannou.

The stage, where the play was performed, was filled with water to symbolize ocean and Aegean civilization. Its visual impact, creative mix of movements and stillness have fascinated audiences in Athens. Chinese people will be able to experience the same.

Papaioannou said compared with the previous version, Medea 2 adopts more bright colors and leaves more space on the stage. It will have fewer and more simplified plots. The Chinese audience can sympathize with the lovers even if they have not read Greek mythology and do not know the language.

In one part of the play, actors and actress were required to be naked when performing in Athens. Papaioannou said he would make some minor modification in accordance with Chinese customs.

"Water and eroticism are very important elements in Greece. Greek people would never be afraid to look at it," said Papaioannou.

"I hope in the future something like Medea will be performed in China completely as it is performed all over the world. China could invite more and more artists to the country so that Chinese people, especially young artists, are able to appreciate more modern arts. Art is necessary for the people," he added

"I like Chinese culture and I have watched some Chinese operas acrobatics. It was part of my job to see performances when I was in China. Although it is difficult for me to follow, I like the style of Chinese opera," said the Greek choreographer and director.

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