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

by Stratos Constantinidis
Greek Theater: An Annotated Bibliography of Plays Translated and Essays Written from 1824 to 1994
Stratos Constantinidis
Ohio State University
Journal of Modern Greek Studies 14.1 (1996)



Modern Greek drama has been performed and discussed in several European languages. This bibliography lists translated plays and original essays that appeared only in English. Therefore, the 182 entries that follow represent only a small sample of artistry and scholarship.

I compiled this bibliography in order to guide beginning students of Greek theater who are not fluent in modern Greek. Modern Greek theater has been victimized by brief, sweeping generalizations in introductory surveys that beginning students find in encyclopedias and in general histories of Greek literature. These surveys, which discourage the further study of modern Greek theater by underrating its significance, inadvertently expose the limitations of their authors.

For example, Myron Matlaw boldly--and, to a certain extent, unjustly--claims that "Greek drama in modern times hardly reflects the glories of its golden age" (Modern World Drama: An Encyclopedia 1972:318). Likewise, but more tactfully, Rae Dalvenconcludes that modern Greek theater is making an enormous contribution to world drama through the many revivals of classical Greek drama in translation, the production of countless foreign plays in translation, and the production of an "abundance" of original [modern] Greek plays (The Readers' Encyclopedia of World Drama1969:400). This cajoling "abundance" of original modern Greek plays, however, misconstrues the production record of modern Greek drama in the 1960s and earlier.

A deprecating attitude toward modern Greek drama and scholarship is also shared by widely used texts such as Constantine Dimaras's A History of Modern Greek Literature (1972), Linos Politis's A History of Modern Greek Literature (1973), andRoderick Beaton's An Introduction to Modern Greek Literature (1994). The above popular histories share, in addition, a  literary bias: they neglect the performance side of theater and give dramatic literature and scholarship only a cursory mention. However, a fair amount of modern Greek dramatic literature, performances, and scholarship is not second rate. Of course, modern Greek drama and theater have not yet benefited, internationally, from as systematic, extensive, or detailed an analysis as that accorded classical Greek drama and theater.

I offer my brief comments below with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I know how presumptuous it is to attempt to describe or evaluate in ten-line annotations plays such as Kostis Palamas's controversial Trisévyeni or the books of prolific scholars, such asLinda Myrsiades, whose work has not yet been fully discussed. On the other hand, I am aware of how indispensable a bibliographical guide can be for a more analytical and, one hopes, revisionist study of modern Greek theater.


Dramatic literature


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. InThree 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, NikosTwo 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, KostasThe 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. InSelected 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. InSelected 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, NikolaosThe 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. InIntroduction 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. InIntroduction 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.



Dramatic theory, criticism and history


Andriopoulos, Dimitris. "The Problem of Aesthetic Categories in Contemporary Greek Aesthetics." Neo-Hellenica 1 (1970):141-178.

Andriopoulos reevaluates the contribution made by Mihelis and Papanoutsos concerning the concept, number, and meaning of aesthetic categories. He exposes several discrepancies in their arguments, such as the alleged autonomy of aesthetic categories and their arrangement in binary oppositions--tragic/comic, etc. Concerning the nature and status of aesthetic categories, he concludes that Papanoutsos fails to demonstrate satisfactorily how the aesthetic category of the beautiful can be both a genus and a species. Since Papanoutsos has already accepted the tragic and the comic as varieties of the final definition of the beautiful, he has driven his argument into a self-defeating exercise in logic.


Angelaki-Rooke, Katerina. "Kazantzakis's Buddha: Phantasmagoria and Struggle."Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 10/4 (1983):69-72.

Angelaki-Rooke argues that Kazantzakis transforms Buddhism from a dogma of introspective withdrawal into a statement for social struggle against injustice and corruption. The Buddhist notion of non-attachment to the phenomenal world appears only when, paradoxically, the people struggle to make their short lives immortal. Angelaki-Rooke maintains that Kazantzakis turns life into a pageant in which human suffering becomes a small wrinkle on the tapestry of imagination. When the spectacle (phantasmagoria) vanishes, however, the human will does not yield to the divine will because divinity is not the ultimate value. Angelaki-Rooke concludes that Kazantzakis's characters do not deny the significance of life as they try to overcome pain and to improve their understanding of social or cosmological "chaos." 


Anton, John. "Kazantzakis and the Tradition of the Tragic." Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 10/4 (1983):53-67.

Anton examines the meaning that the word "tragic" acquires in Kazantzakis's work by following Albin Lesky's triune distinction: the tragic worldview, the tragic conflict, and the tragic situation. He compares Kazantzakis's plays OdysseusChrist, and Nikiphoros Phokas to Sophocles's Oedipus Rex, Euripides's Medea, and Aristotle's definition of tragedy. Anton argues that the Aristotelian definition of the tragic experience lacks the contemporary understanding of the relationship between human evolution and the persistence of conflicting forces in life. Anton concludes that, for Kazantzakis, the world must become what the world of the mind demands. The tragic conflict is rooted in the fundamental oppositions that permeate nature and humanity. The tragic depends on an awareness of inescapable conflicts. Given the opportunity, Kazantzakis's assertive characters accept the challenge and enter the domain of the tragic experience.


Antonakes, Michael. "Christ, Kazantzakis, and Controversy in Greece" Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 6 (1990):331-343.

Antonakes discusses how Photis Kontoglou, in 1978, perpetuated the hostile view from the 1930s about Kazantzakis's plays and novels. When, for example, Kazantzakis's play Christ was published in 1928, it received limited attention in the literary reviews, which noted its "hysteria," its declamatory style, and its attempt to mix Christian with Buddhist concepts. A charge against Kazantzakis was filed at the office of the district attorney in Athens in 1930. (It was later withdrawn.) The political tensions during the second World War and the Greek Civil War in the 1940s exacerbated the ideological conflicts. Kazantzakis's work was judged strictly on political and religious grounds in the 1950s. When the Vatican placed his novel The Last Temptation of Christ on the index of forbidden books in 1954, the Holy Synod in Athens charged Kazantzakis with blasphemy because of his novel Captain Michael. But the Greek parliament came to his defense in 1955, reaffirming an author's right to freedom of speech.


Antoniadou, Eleni. "The Theatre in Cyprus." In Five Short Essays on Cypriot Literature, edited by Andreas Sophocleous, translated by John Vickers, 55-63. Nicosia: Cyprus PEN, 1981.

Antoniadou surveys theatrical activity on the island of Cyprus in ancient times, the Byzantine period, and modern times. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, Cypriot theater was revitalized thanks to a handful of playwrights (Sivitanides, Constantinides, Theocharides, Zenonos, Karageorghiades), a few amateur theater companies, the study of classical Greek drama in high schools, and the touring theater companies from Greece. This newly founded tradition continued during the first half of the twentieth century with a new generation of playwrights, directors, designers and actors who formed amateur and semiprofessional theater companies such as Love of the People, Panergatiko, Prometheus, Lyriko, and the Paphos Revue in Nicosia, Paphos, Limassol, and Larnaca. During the third quarter of this century, more theater companies were founded, such as The Cypriot Theater, The United Artists Theater, the New Theater, The Cyprus Organization for Theatrical Development, the Greek Popular Theater, the C.B.C. Little Theater, the Cyprus Theater Organization, and the Art Theater (Thanos Saketas), which should not be confused with the Art Theater of Athens (Karolos Koun) or the Art Theater of London (George Evgeniou). 


Antoniou, Theodore. "Searching for the Theme of an Article about Contemporary Theatre Music," translated by N. C. Germanacos. Boundary 2: A Journal of Postmodern Literature 1/2 (1973):454-468.

Antoniou thinks that "applied" music is designed to serve the play for which it is commissioned. It therefore offers a composer little opportunity for personal expression unless the composer's personal views are close to those of the playwright or the director. Antoniou first questioned his function as a composer when he wrote the score for The Beggar's Operain 1970. Since that year, he has believed that music must be ideologically engaged or else it becomes just decorative, and he has written music as an act of protest and provocation: Protest II (about the banning of a play in Athens), Cassandra (about the human tragedy in Troy), Nenikikamen(about the victory of the Greeks at the Battle of Marathon), Events III(about the document-collage poem by Nanos Valaoritis), and Collective Improvisation (for a protest demonstration). Antoniou is fed up with artistic manifestos, avant-garde navel-gazing, traditional establishments, and avant-garde establishments.


Arnakis, G. Georgiades. "The Tragedy of Man in the Poetry of George Seferis." The Texas Quarterly 7/1 (1964):55-67.

In discussing Exercise Book, Gymnopaedia, Mythical Story, Spring A.D., The Cistern, and Thrush, Arnakis analyzes Seferis's tragic vision. Seferis looks for points of contact between classical and modern Greece. The figures of classical Greek drama (e.g., Agamemnon and Oedipus) become the symbols of the various aspects of human tragedy in modern times. Seferis articulates a subdued despair. His resigned pessimism has a Euripidean flavor without a revolutionary flair. Greece is the origin and central theme of his pessimism. Not a neutral observer of history, Seferis sees an all-pervading death theme that contaminates the experience of life. Instead of amalgamation and fulfillment, humankind knows only disintegration and a void in a world of broken arcs. Seferis has no vision of unity and completeness, nor in a Byzantine or Christian heaven. Hellenism offers no remedy to the struggling human spirit.


Bacopoulou-Halls, Aliki. Modern Greek Theater: Roots and Blossoms. Athens: Diogenis, 1982.

Bacopoulou-Halls presents a kaleidoscopic critical overview of modern Greek drama through sweeping statements on the Greek neoclassical and romantic plays. She focuses on post-World War II plays but traces their development back to the folk tradition of Byzantine games and liturgical drama, the sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century theater on the island of Crete, the folk theater of the Ionian Islands, and the Karaghiozis shadow theater on the mainland that, in turn, bequeathed some of its stock characters to the revues in Athens and to the anti-heroes in plays of postwar playwrights such as Kehaidis and Skourtis. She concludes that the development of modern Greek theater has been like Odysseus's journey to Ithaca--a journey back to the sources of Greek culture away from foreign influences.


Bakker, Wim. "Religious Drama." In Literature and Society in Renaissance Crete, edited by David Holton, 179-203. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Bakker peruses three Greek texts from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that share some similarities with the genre of religious drama in European dramatic tradition--namely, Marinos Falieros's Lament on the Passion (Thrênos eis ta pathê ); an anonymous poet's Supplications ( Logoi paraklêtikoi ); and an anonymous dramatist's The Sacrifice of Abraham ( Ê thusia tou Abraam ). Lament on the Passion (404 verses) involves, next to Mary's lamentations, several speakers such as Martha, John, Mary Magdalene, Christ, and  the Jew Tzadok, who, at the request of the poet and his friends, translates the Hebrew words that are spoken by the persons represented in the painting of the Crucifixion scene before them.Supplications (112 verses) tells the story of the Passion according to St. Matthew's Gospel in a dialogic form. The Sacrifice of Abraham (1,144 verses) was probably written by Vintsentzos Kornaros. He modeled its plot after Luigi Grotto's five-act play Lo Isach (1586). However, the Greek religious play has no prologue, no epilogue, no act division and no scene division. Its playwright invented several new scenes, a fresh dramatic action, a deeper portrayal of character psychology, and more profound themes. The first performance of this religious drama on record took place on the island of Zakynthos in 1855. Its second performance on record took place in Athens in 1930.


Bakker, Wim. "Is The Sacrifice of Abraham a Drama?" Krêtika Chronika 21 (1969):515-518.

Bakker compares the negative criticism of Spyros Melas and Alexandros Embirikos about The Sacrifice of Abraham to the positive criticism of Giannis Psycharis. (He also mentions Legrand, Pernot, Hesseling, Politis, Valsa, Megas, and Manousakas.) Embirikos, who feels some admiration for this play, thinks nevertheless that Abraham is not "human enough" because he accepts God's command to sacrifice his son immediately and without any protest. Does or does not Abraham accept God's command without a struggle? Bakker sides with Psycharis, arguing that the Greek Abraham undergoes an intense psychological conflict that is not apparent in the Italian Abrahams portrayed in the plays of Luigi Groto and Feo Belcari, where Abraham accepts God's order gladly.


Bakker, Wim. "The Sacrifice of Abraham: A First Approach to Its Poetics." Journal of Modern Greek Studies 6/1 (1988):81-95.

Bakker attempts a stylistic analysis of The Sacrifice of Abraham based on a concordance of the play completed by Dia Philippides in 1986. According to Philippides, mantato (message) is one of the key words in the play. It occurs twenty-seven times. Sarah uses the word nine times, more than any other character. This repetition is a technique employed by the playwright, according to Bakker. The technique of the recurrent motif--based on one-word themes or one-phrase themes repeated by different characters in different circumstances--establishes a chain of associations in the mind of the reader or listener. In The Sacrifice of Abraham, this one-word theme occurs as a deadly message in the very beginning of the play and as a happy message at the play's end.


Bakker, Wim. The Sacrifice of Abraham: The Cretan Biblical Drama " Ê thusia tou Abraam " and Western European and Greek Tradition. Birmingham: University of Birmingham Centre for Byzantine Studies, 1978.

Bakker departs from Mavrogordato's comments on the similarities between the Italian play Lo Isach by Luigi Groto and the Greek play The Sacrifice of Abraham. Finding Zoras's comparative study of the two plays unsatisfactory, he reexamines three questions: What is the central meaning of the Greek play? How does it imitate the Italian play? Can it stand as an independent, original work of art in its own right? The comparative analysis of the plots and characters of the Italian and Greek plays, in the context of similar European plays of the period, shows that the Greek play has an inherent structural economy in both plot and characters that sets it apart from its model. Bakker concludes that the Cretan dramatist adopted Groto's basic plot but with a critical mind. The dramatist changed the causal sequence of the dramatic events and the decadent mannerism of Lo Isach in such a way that the Greek "imitator" of Groto wrote a better play.


Bakker, Wim. "Some Remarks on Megas' Commentary on The Sacrifice of Abraham." Krêtika Chronika 21 (1969):130-133.

Georgios Megas thought that certain lines in the text of this play were "difficult" to emend because, even though they were grammatically "incorrect," they made perfect sense "poetically." Bakker discusses some of these lines, especially 343-344, 371-372, 407-410, 417-418, 619-620, and 625-626. After stating his objections, he draws his own conclusions.


Bakker, Wim. "Structural Differences Between Grotto's Lo Isach and The Sacrifice of Abraham." Folia Neohellenica 1 (1975):1-26.

Through a comparative structural analysis of the two plays, Bakker tries to understand the Greek dramatist's intention and working method in order to clarify the relationship between the Italian "prototype" and the Greek "copy." He analyzes the structural differences between the two plays by observing that they are almost identical in the first two acts but entirely different in the third act. The Greek dramatist must have seen the structural weaknesses of the Italian play. The changes that the Greek dramatist implemented in the fourth act are many, but only a few of them are of a structural nature. Bakker concludes that the Greek dramatist did not respect the dramatic rules of the time even though he used them for the most part in constructing his plot. The Greek dramatist was consciously creating a structure different from Grotto's. For an expanded version of this argument, see the previous entry.


Bakker, Wim, Harrie de Korte, and Gerard Verbaarschot"The Sacrifice of Abraham and its Tradition: Evaluation of the Manuscript and the Editions." Cretan Studies 2 (1990):11-71.

The Bakker team argues that, in preparing a new critical edition of The Sacrifice of Abraham, one can trust as reliable only the 1713 Bortoli edition and portions of the Turkish translation based on Sarros's 1696 edition. Megas applied two criteria in his 1954 critical edition of this play: (a) the text of the Marcianus Graecus XI.19 (1934), ff. 210r-23lr is completely unreliable on account of its many mistakes and alterations, (b) the text of the 1713 Bortoli edition is reliable regarding content but not regarding language, which was changed. The Bakker team refines Megas's criteria by analyzing both lines of the tradition (the manuscript and the editions), trying to understand what motivated these alterations. The team concludes that Megas was a good intuitive philologist who was able to use inadequate tools wisely. The Bortoli edition normalizes the text according to a more common and (in some cases) more learned form of Greek. The great majority of the alterations, which make the text of the Marcianus Graecus an unreliable but interesting source, stem from the person who wrote its prototype, not from the scribes of the Marcianus Graecus text itself. This person was interested in producing a religious reader's text, not a performable play.


Bancroft-Marcus, Rosemary. "Georgios Chortatsis and His Works: A Critical Review." Mantatophoros 16 (1980):13-46.

Bancroft-Marcus reviews the current status of scholarly research on Hortatsis's plays, which were written when Crete was a Venetian colony. She examines his tragedy Erophili, his comedy Katzourbos, his pastoralPanoria (alias Gyparis), and the comedy Stathis, which is ascribed to him. She discusses Hortatsis's comedies by reviewing (a) the textual history of each play from the first known edition to the twentieth-century editions, (b) the various attempts to provide a chronology for each play with the help of datable Italian and other literary sources or historical events mentioned in the playtexts. She further discusses Hortatsis's cultural background, his debt to Italian literature, the staging requirements of his plays, and the various glossaries in twentieth-century editions of his plays. For more  information, see Rosemary Bancroft-Marcus, "Georgios Chortatsis, 16th-century Cretan Playwright: A Critical Study" (D.Phil. diss., Oxford University, 1978).


Bancroft-Marcus, Rosemary. "Interludes." In Literature and Society in Renaissance Crete, edited by David Holton, 159-178. Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Bancroft-Marcus discusses eighteen interludes (i.e., playlets, ranging in length from 40 to 200 lines, that were performed in the intervals either of a banquet or of a play in several acts). These interludes have survived from the heyday of Greek Renaissance drama on the island of Crete. Each interlude is divided into several "phases," just as a regular play is divided into acts or scenes. These interludes contain songs, dances, combats, many fine passages of poetry, and quite a few interesting dramatic characters with clear motives, engaging dialogue, and inspiring soliloquies. The stage-direction moresca means a "Moorish dance," which usually was a mimed combat between two groups of four men (e.g., Christians vs. Muslims). As the plays of the period were divided into five acts, interludes tend to be found in sets of four. Bancroft-Marcus provides a separate summary for each of the following interludes: the four interludes of Erofili(the enchanted garden, the rescue of Rinaldo, Armida's appeal, the liberation of Jerusalem); the eight interludes of Panoria and Katzourbos(Sofronia and Olindo, Glaucus and Scylla, Jason and Medea, the sacrifice of Polyxene, Politarchos and Nerima, Pyramos and Thisbe, Perseus and Andromeda, the judgment of Paris); the two interludes of Stathis (Tselepis and the Christians, Priam and Menelaus); and the four interludes ofFortounatos (the apple of discord, the judgment of Paris, the pursuit of Helen, the Trojan horse). Bancroft-Marcus also compares the Greek interludes to the works that inspired them, such as Torquato Tasso'sGerusalemme Liberata (1575), Giovan Andrea dell'Anguillara'sMetamorfosi d'Ovidio (1561), and Giambattista Marino's Adone.


Bancroft-Marcus, Rosemary. "The Pastoral Mode." In Literature and Society in Renaissance Crete, edited by David Holton, 79-102. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Bancroft-Marcus surveys three five-act pastoral plays and one pastoral idyll--namely, Georgios Hortatsis's comedy Panoria (or Gyparis, ca. 1592); an anonymous dramatist's tragicomedy, The Faithful Shepherd ( O mpistikos boskos , ca. 1594), which was a translation/adaptation of Giambattista Guarini's tragicomedy Il Pastor Fido (1589); Antonio Pandimos's tragicomedy Fidelity in Love (L'Amorosa fede, 1616), which was published in Venice in 1620; and an anonymous poet's 476-line idyll,The [Young] Shepherdess ( Ê boskopoula , Venice 1627), which is structured as if it were a neoclassical play, relying extensively on quoting speeches (266 lines). Bancroft-Marcus provides detailed summaries of the three plays and of the idyll. Panoria dramatizes the love story of a wealthy and handsome young shepherd (Gyparis) and his friend (Alexis) for the beautiful but proud Panoria and her kind companion (Athousa), respectively. The Greek adaptation of Guarini's Il Pastor Fido, which eliminated scenes and passages with low dramatic and theatrical value, deals with a love quadrangle. Silvios is engaged to Eroprikousa, who, in turn, secretly returns the love of her former suitor, Myrtinos, who in turn is pursued by Koriska, while Silvios wounds Dorinda in a hunting accident and promises to cure her and to marry her. Fidelity in Love dramatizes the subjugation of the Cretans to the Venetians by disguising it as a past state of servitude of the people of Mount Ida to the King of Knossos.


Beaton, Roderick. An Introduction to Modern Greek Literature. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994.

Beaton, in his 426-page long introduction, mentions modern Greek drama on nine pages (5-6, 27, 62, 120, 241-242, 306-307), but the overall information he provides does not exceed five pages of continuous text. He disregards drama for four reasons: (1) Only the  genres of poetry and prose fiction have been central to any modern definition of Greek "literature" since 1821; (2) only those two genres have been central to the literary canon for the past one hundred years; (3) Greek theater in the nineteenth century failed to live up to its promising start that was marked by two plays written in prose--Basil Plant (1829) and Babel (1836); (4) few modern Greek plays written before 1940 have been regularly performed and reissued in new editions. Beaton chooses not to try to determine in his book whether these reasons are true and, if they are, which of any number of possible factors have caused this situation.


Bien, Peter. "Buddha: Kazantzakis' Most Ambitious and Most Neglected Play."Comparative Drama 11/3 (1977):252-272.

Bien offers a thematic analysis of the play, seen as an icon with two levels: The upper level is heaven (Buddha) and the lower level is earth (Epaphos). Through the two levels of the actual and the phenomenal world, the dramatic events cover the full spectrum of life and death--alluding to the paradox of the triumph of the Greeks against the Italian army in Albania, followed by the German invasion and subsequent occupation of Greece. The two levels or realms of experience, however, are conceived as a totality--as aspects of a unity. Bien concludes that Kazantzakis was pushed by the harsh political experience of the early 1940s to a renewed state of awareness, and that his play demonstrates that mankind can be ennobled only through a spiritual, individual awareness of the overall evolution of the material world.


Bien, Peter. "Christopher Columbus: Kazantzakis's Final Play." Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 10/4 (1983):21-30.

Bien briefly analyzes Kazantzakis's Christopher Columbus (first title The Golden Apple). Although Kazantzakis initially wanted to write the play in a classical dramatic form, he ended up writing a four-act play that conforms neither to the classical norm nor to the surrealist norm that he mentions in his notebooks. Bien identifies the paradox in Kazantzakis's concept of tragedy--namely, that the upward struggle for tangible improvement of life is thwarted by negative forces as soon as achievement begins to replace aspiration. The play reflects Kazantzakis's high hopes for a new world after the occupation armies withdrew from Greece in 1944. For Bien, the play is, at first, the dream of a journey to a "new world" that does not exist outside Columbus's desire. However, as soon as the dream comes true, negative forces creep into the picture. Instead of the paradise that he had imagined, Columbus creates a hell of slavery, exploitation, suffering, and disillusionment. The play alludes to the horror and disappointment that the Civil War brought to "liberated" Greece.


Bien, Peter. "Kazantzakis' Kapodistrias, a (Rejected) Offering to Divided Greece, 1944-1946." Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 3 (1977):141-173.

Bien contends that Kazantzakis, confined to the island of Aegina during the German occupation, wrote Kapodistrias in order to bridge the ideological dichotomy between the Aristotelian and the existentialist views of humanity. Kapodistrias's deliberate death is the private "exit" of a solitary, existentialist hero. At the same time, however, his death is the ultimate political act, one that paradoxically affirms that humanity fulfills itself through the community. Bien shows Kazantzakis's protest against factionalism by analyzing the character of Makriyannis and the unstated ideologies in the dramatic conflict. Bien also shows Kazantzakis's notion of Greekness by analyzing the unifying metaphors in the play. Bien concludes that the cultural concern about Greekness and the political concern about factionalism in Kapodistrias are brought into an appealing synthesis.


Bien, Peter. "Kazantzakis' The Masterbuilder with an Additional Note onKapodhistrias." The Literary Review 18/4 (1975):398-411.

Bien discusses two plays written in 1908 and 1944, respectively. Kazantzakis, who considered himself a playwright until the end of his career, was discouraged by the prevailing conditions in the theater of his day, and became an armchair dramatist. Bien examines the theatrical situation in prewar Greece, making Kazantzakis's playwriting career a case study. If Kazantzakis's case is at all representative, Bien concludes, then the Greek theater failed to realize its immense potential in the first half of the twentieth century.


Bien, Peter. "Kazantzakis's Long Apprenticeship to Christian Themes." In God's Struggler: Religion in the Writings of Nikos Kazantzakis, edited by Darren J. N. Middleton and Peter Bien. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press, 1996.

Bien analyzes how the Christ theme evolved in five plays by Nikos Kazantzakis--namely, Day Is Breaking (1906), Fasga (ca. 1907), Comedy(1909), Nikiforos Fokas (1914), and Christ (1921). Kazantzakis's religious ideas developed in a seesaw fashion, alternating from Orthodox faith to scientific doubt, from doubt back to Christian Orthodoxy, and then forward to metacommunism, a concept that is compatible with Kazantzakis's notion of a meta-Christianity. Comedy shows how people suffer when science, by pronouncing that God is dead, deprives them of the belief in an afterlife. Fasga dramatizes the case of a man (Loris) who, like Moses, sees a Promised Land but dies before he reaches it. Loris is torn apart by his love for two women--his Christian wife and his pagan mistress. Nikiforos Fokas rejects the traditional Christ and introduces a meta-Christian Christ who needs the help of humankind to achieve salvation. This Christ astounds Nikiforos. Christ begins the day after the Crucifixion while Christ rests in his tomb, waiting to be resurrected, crying for help. He is resurrected not by a divine Creator but by Mary Magdalene, whose sexuality is the prime mover of evolution. She had a vision during which she felt that she gave birth to Christ. He is reborn, resurrected, and rescued from death. The newborn Christ is no longer a humble prince of peace. Like a meta-Christian superman, he comes armed with a sword of slaughter. His program now is for men to evolve into supermen ( theanthrôpoi ) who are no longer misled by false promises. The disciples, except for Judas, are unable to follow Christ's new message. Kazantzakis employs dualistic means to embody a monistic view of Christ as a "godman." Christ (love, spirit) is incomplete without Judas (hate, matter). Judas sees his expanded role in the universal process, and he responds to Christ's call for unification. Bien concludes that, even at his most seemingly anti-Christian moments, Kazantzakis was always looking for a way to transmute the Christian religion rather than to abandon it. His theology was part of a wider, biblical faith still in the making.


Bien, Peter. "A Tiny Anthology of Kazantzakis' Remarks on the Drama: 1910-1957."The Literary Review 18/4 (1975):455-459.

Bien compiles Kazantzakis's passing comments on the art of theater that were recorded in interviews and appeared in newspapers (e.g., Akropolis,Kathimerini) or in periodicals (e.g., Europe). He also includes Kazantzakis's aphorisms about the art of theater that he wrote in his letters to Galatea Kazantzaki, Eleni Samiou, and Pandelis Prevelakis concerning his own plays, the plays of Japanese Noh playwrights, and the plays of Shakespeare. For more information on Kazantzakis's ideas about the art of theater, see Thomas King, "Kazantzakis's Prometheus Trilogy: The Ideas and their Dramatic Rendering." (Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 1970). 


Bien, Peter. "Kazantzakis' Melissa." To Yofiri: Journal of Modern Greek Studies 12 (1992):34-44.

Bien examines how this play functions as a work of art, not as a philosophical treatise or an autobiographical document. The commercial vicissitudes of Melissa, which is perhaps the most technically disciplined of Kazantzakis's plays, show how politics inhibited his theatrical success. Kazantzakis wrote the play in 1937 specifically for Alexis Minotis and theVasilik is perha, which rejected it. Alexis Solomos finally produced it in 1962, five years after Kazantzakis's death. The play suggests that heroism may originate in the mundane spheres of existence. The playwright's autobiographical elements serve the aesthetic needs of the play while at the same time giving it an authenticity that keeps it from being a sterile exercise in Greek history. The situation involves civil and family strife in a state so repressive that the peasants have begun to plot a people's revolution. The play builds up a case for militaristic ideology only to tear it down by showing that nothing ennobling results from aggression. Melissaproves Kazantzakis's ability to transubstantiate his political misfortunes into artistic excellence.


Bloch, Adèle. "The Dual Masks of Nikos Kazantzakis." Journal of Modern Literature2/2 (1971-1972):189-198.

Bloch points out that masks play a major role in Kazantzakis's works--both novels and plays--especially as a metaphor. She traces Kazantzakis's fascination with masks back to his visit to an African mask exhibit at an ethnic museum in Berlin after the first world war. She mentions that Kazantzakis kept a mask of Nietzsche's face hanging over his door for many years. People wear masks that often deceive. Serene Apollo can wear a Dionysian mask while Dionysus can put on an Apollonian mask. Despite the appearances and contradictions, however, Kazantzakis perceived a deep unity in life. He believed that in the ephemeral, innumerable masks God has assumed though the centuries, there exists an indestructible unity. The mask that Kazantzakis preferred for himself was the mask of "tragic optimism."


Bosnakis, Panayiotis. "Greece and Modernity in Kazantzakis's Prometheus." Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 17/2 (1991):57-86.

Bosnakis analyzes the Prometheus trilogy and the debate between Kazantzakis and Vasilis Laourdas. He shows that Kazantzakis envisioned Greece as a secularized, modernized state that would catch up with European modernity. He defines modernity as a critical, self-aware, mental attitude that one can earn with effort--not as a specific historical period that one can enter by merely being there. For northern European critics (Foucault, de Man, Habermas), modernity began with the Enlightenment, attempting to reform society and to transform the historical subject. It rejected neoclassicism and the past. For Kazantzakis, modernity did not reject antiquity; it rediscovered its lost spirit by peeling off the "classical" layers of tradition and continuity piled up by Romantic scholars. His Prometheus represents a Nietzschean archetype whose modern mental attitude and action must be emulated by all Greeks and Europeans. Greek identity, with its explosive mix of Western and Eastern cultures, may help wage a victorious battle against totalitarianism, represented in the play by Zeus. Bosnakis concludes that this trilogy of plays reflects Kazantzakis's ideological confrontation with the generation of the 1930s that caused his marginalization.


Carpenter, Marjorie. "Romanos and the Mystery Plays of the East." University of Missouri Studies 11/3 (1936):22-51.

The evidence that theatrical performances took place in the Byzantine Empire, and the recognition that a type of hymn known as kontakion has a dramatic structure, inspires Carpenter to examine how this type of hymn contributed to the development of the mystery play. This type of hymn drew on stories from the cycles of Christmas or Easter and from the lives of saints or martyrs. Carpenter compares Romanos's Resurrection, a sixth-century kontakion, with a Byzantine passion play from the thirteenth century. She reclassifies this type of hymn from the Easter cycle in order to show that Romanos's compositions--owing to topic selection--were intended for the great festivals of the Christian Church: The Resurrection of Lazarus, Palm Sunday, The Harlot, The Betrayal, The Denial of Peter, The Passion, Mary at the Cross, The Triumph of the Cross, The Resurrection, Easter Sunday, and The Doubts of Thomas. She concludes that this type of hymn is important because it links the popular interest in drama in Constantinople to that in Syria.


Catsaouni, Helen. "Cavafy and the Theatrical Representation of History." Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 10/1-2 (1983):105-116.

Catsaouni argues that Cavafy's texts, following their own selective rules, constitute an idiosyncratic mirror that reflects and "deflects" history. Cavafy himself was aware of the deflecting effect of literary production on historical events ("The Enemies," 1900). The article discusses the general technique of Cavafy's theatrical representation of history and it provides evidence of Cavafy's belief in the strong influence of theater: "Herod's Mime Iambs" (1892), "A Displeased Spectator" (1893), "Ancient Tragedy" (1897), "The Tarantinians Carouse" (1898), "At the Theater" (1904). It explores theatrical dimensions of Cavafy's historical poems such as the use of mimetic forms of speech, the careful arrangement of settings, the dramatic development of events, and detailed, delicate characterization. In this context, Catsaouni divides Cavafy's "The Displeasure of Selefkidis" into four acts.


Colakis, Marianthe. "Classical Mythology in Yannis Ritsos' Dramatic Monologues."Classical and Modern Literature 4/3 (1984):117-130.

Colakis discusses the dramatic monologues of Ritsos that have a mythological theme: The Dead House, Under the Mountain's Shadow, Agamemnon, Chrysothemis, Orestes, The Return of Iphigenia. Persephone, Ismene, Ajax, Philoctetes, Helen, and Phaedra. Ritsos gives these lengthy poems the form of a dramatic monologue. By means of a prologue, Ritsos reveals the place, time, and characters. The speaker reflects on what has happened, is happening, or will happen while the addressee remains silent. In an epilogue, Ritsos reveals the consequences of all that preceded. Ritsos's monologues invert the ancient myths. He shows their negative aspects by concentrating on the characters' failure or less glorious moments. Ritsos shocks the reader because he recreates ancient Greek heroes and heroines in ways that are unexpected, yet not inappropriate.


Constantinidis, Stratos. "Existential Protest in Greek Drama during the Junta."Journal of Modern Greek Studies 3/2 (1985):137-144.

Constantinidis discusses Aliki Bakopoulou-Halls's book Modern Greek Theater: Roots and Blossoms (1982) as he attempts to answer Giorgos Mihaïlidis's plea for an alternative classification of modern Greek drama in Mihaïlidis's book Neoi Ellênes theatrikoi sungrapheis (1975). The article questions Bakopoulou-Halls's allegation that the characters of post-Civil War plays retain an attitude of existential commitment. It shows that "existential commitment" does not carry over to many postwar plays that she mentions, such as those by Kambanellis, Skourtis, Mourselas, Karras, Anagnostaki, and Matesis. Constantinidis proposes an alternative classification for modern Greek plays.


Constantinidis, Stratos. "Social Protest against Authoritarianism in Modern Greek Drama." In Within the Dramatic Spectrum: The University of Florida Comparative Drama Conference Papers, vol. 6, edited by Karelisa Hartigan, 7-19. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1986.

Constantinidis discusses fourteen plays by Kambanellis, Anagnostaki, Stavrou, Skourtis, Pontikas, Kehaidis and Haviara. He argues that these playwrights saw social conflict as a form of theater and that they attacked the radical nationalism, anti-liberalism, and anti-parliamentarianism of authoritarian regimes in modern Greece. They depicted the frustration, anger, and wishful thinking of the underdog with a healthy sense of humor whenever they could afford to. The characters express the spirit of the times, which was to earn a living through political and moral compromise in a police state. These plays opened a dialogue with their politically silenced audiences. Constantinidis concludes that although their protest did not change Greek society it did change the perception of postwar Greek audiences about the role of theater in the politics of modern Greece.


Constantinidis, Stratos. "Classical Greek Drama in Modern Greece: Mission and Money." Journal of Modern Greek Studies 5/1 (1987):15-32.

Constantinidis describes several issues and tensions that have resulted from reviving classical drama in modern Greece. Should a theater company "translate" the verbal and visual aspects of the ancient plays to suit the understanding and tastes of modern audiences, or preserve the verbal, paraverbal, and non-verbal elements? He reviews amateur productions from 1830 to 1930, concluding that the revival of classical Greek drama took three major steps: from eighteenth-century neoclassics to the Greek classics, from performances in ancient Greek to translations, and from in-house performances to open-air festivals. The demand by audiences for understandable performances and the concern of commercial companies for ticket sales were the main factors causing change.


Constantinidis, Stratos. "The New Dionysus of Modern Greek Poetic Drama: Crucifix or Grapevine?" In From Bard to Broadway: The University of Florida Comparative Drama Conference Papers, vol. 7, edited by Karelisa Hartigan, 21-31. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1987.

Constantinidis discusses how Dionysus became the prevailing metaphor in several plays by Sikelianos, Kazantzakis, and Palamas. Through these plays, the playwrights wished to affect the quality of social life and attitudes in Greece. If they could merge art with life, overcoming the separation between the dramatic and the real worlds, life might begin to embody their imaginative experience in the future. The quixotic and inexpedient spirit of these plays failed to address concrete social problems in a society rent by severe military, economic, and political conflicts. Instead, they pondered fundamental human problems and the spiritual liberation of mankind. After losing faith in the nationalist and later the fascist and communist mass movements, even though accepting Nietzsche's idea of a superman, Palamas, Kazantzakis, and Sikelianos envisioned the emergence, through conscious selection, of a new kind of man whose human nature would transcend itself.


Constantinidis, Stratos. "The Rebirth of Tragedy: Protest and Evolution in Modern Greek Drama." Comparative Drama 21/2 (1987):156-181.

Constantinidis analyses several plays by Sikelianos, Kazantzakis, and Palamas in the context of European thought and drama. He proposes that, outside the narrow context of Greek drama of the 1940s, which favored realism, these plays may acquire their long-overdue recognition. In these plays of "Dionysiac protest," the rebellion of the main characters is based on an ethical rather than a political decision, and the "social" conflict is presented  as part of a central theme of greater universal significance. Their protest formulates an optimistic, irrational doctrine of purposeful evolution that aspires to bring society out of a state of fear and conflict into a state of altruistic love and harmony.


Constantinidis, Stratos. " Elenê Boïskou. Alla pente theatrika. Athens, 1986." World Literature Today 61/4 (1987):663-664.

In this book review, Constantinidis discusses five plays by Eleni Voiskou. He begins with the two-play sequence Political Before (1973) andPolitical After (1976). He continues with her four one-act plays--Guesswork (1972), Night (1979), Canceled Broadcast (1985), Luxurious Suite (1985). The book ends with a poor English translation ofGuesswork. The plays share a post-absurdist theme of diminishing self-control and state-control. Voiskou's scene sequences have the quality of a "slide show." She creates one-dimensional characters in a two-dimensional political landscape that is crowded by semi-surrealistic characters.


Constantinidis, Stratos. " Alekos Geladas, O agapêtikos tês boskopoulas. Edited by Minas Alexiadis. Athens: Kardamitsas, 1990." Journal of Modern Greek Studies 12/1 (1994):149-151.

In this book review, Constantinidis discusses Minas Alexiadis's critical edition of Alekos Geladas's play, The Beloved of the Shepherdess (ca. 1910). This book, which has an introduction, the edited text of the play (2,419 couplets), a commentary, a bibliography, a glossary, a table of all the proper names and placenames mentioned in the play, an index, and an appendix, is, in Constantinidis's opinion, a useful contribution to the study of early twentieth-century Greek dramatic literature. However, Alexiadis's belief that this play is a "homiletic" skit continuing the oral tradition of Greek theater on the island of Zakynthos into the twentieth century is hard to swallow. Constantinidis points out that, when Geladas adapted Dimitris Koromilas's play (performed in 1891 and published in 1903), he simply borrowed the "homiletic" form from earlier centuries. Geladas gave to his play a progressive social content by dramatizing how, thanks to specific sociocultural factors, some women in rural Greece maintained marriage as an economic institution from generation to generation.


Dalven, Rae. "Greece: Modern Period." In The Reader's Encyclopedia of World Drama, edited by John Gassner and Edward Quinn, 392-400. New York: Crowell, 1969.

Dalven gives a clear, mostly accurate summary of Greek drama from 1600 to 1965. She outlines only the major plays of major playwrights, providing a coherent and concise account. However, she pigeonholes several plays and playwrights under facile labels such as realism, symbolism, bourgeois drama, historical drama, and theater of ideas. Dalven dates each play, mentions its Greek title, and translates the title into English. She occasionally mentions alleged "foreign" influences on modern Greek playwrights.


Danforth, Loring. "Humour and Status Reversal in Greek Shadow Theater."Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies 2 (1976):99-111.

Danforth argues that Karaghiozis embodies a Greek cunning ( ponêria ) that expresses itself humorously through a reversal of social roles. Danforth sums up the standardized plot of the Karaghiozis plays as follows: The Turkish deputy in Greece, who needs a skilled person to perform a task, asks Hatziavatis to help him find such a person. Hatziavatis runs into poor Karaghiozis, who convinces Hatziavatis and the Turkish deputy that he is skilled enough for the job. Dressed in the appropriate costume, Karaghiozis deceives several stock characters until he is exposed and punished. Karaghiozis's humorous status reversal is a subversive challenge to the dominant system of hierarchy and control represented by the  Turkish deputy. Danforth concludes that deceitful Karaghiozis succeeds in asserting his false claim by effectively manipulating the hierarchical principle of prestige (honor/precedence) as a structural feature in Greek social organization.


Danforth, Loring. "Tradition and Change in Greek Shadow Theater." Journal of American Folklore 96/381 (1983):281-309.

Danforth observes that while scholarly interest in the Karaghiozis shadow theater increased in the 1960s, the oral tradition itself was undergoing drastic changes such as fewer live productions owing to competition from film, television, and comic books. Against the Greek folklorists, who thought that the mass media commercialized and cheapened the Karaghiozis shadow theater, Danforth argues that such dichotomies as commerce/art, traditional/modern, and genuine/spurious are misleading. He applies Propp's syntagmatic structural analysis, instead of Levi-Strauss's paradigmatic structural analysis, to a group of Karaghiozis plays such as Karaghiozis as James Bond and Karaghiozis as Astronaut, showing how these Karaghiozis plays were able to remain traditional while incorporating what is clearly new material from other contemporary narrative genres in the 1960s. He concludes that the narrative tradition is dynamic and constantly changing, just like the larger cultural context of which it is part. Cf. Loring Danforth, "Greek Shadow Theater: A Metasocial Commentary" (M.A. thesis, Princeton University, 1974).


Danforth, Loring. "Kostas Myrsiades and Linda S. Myrsiades, The Karagiozis Heroic Performance in Greek Shadow Theatre. Hanover, New Hampshire: University of New England Press, 1988." Journal of Modern Greek Studies 7/2 (1989):359-361.

In this book review, Danforth welcomes this study on shadow theater as an addition to the growing body of literature on modern Greek theater folklore and popular culture. The book opens with a detailed history of Greek shadow theater, recording its Turkish origins, its introduction to Greece, and its Greek development. The critically annotated translations of two plays--The Hero Katsantonis and Karagiozis and the Seven Beasts--in Danforth's opinion, suffer from an overbearing abundance of disruptive footnotes. The study suffers from a narrow concern for "historical veracity," which devours a more valuable commentary on issues of interpretation. The authors' nationalist emphasis on the "Greekness" of Karaghiozis raises questions about the role of Karaghiozis scholars in ideological discussions of Greek national identity. The exclusive focus on the past (primarily the 1920s) disregards the contemporary performances in Plaka and in the movie theaters of Athens in the 1980s.


Dimaras, ConstantinosA History of Modern Greek Literature. Translated by Mary Gianos. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1972.

Dimaras surveys modern Greek drama in less than 30 pages of continuous text (76, 81-88, 102, 158-159, 162, 174-177, 202-203, 213, 228-229, 246-248, 272-274, 276-277, 282, 287, 290-291, 294, 302, 307, 317-318, 323, 334, 341, 347-348, 350-352, 354, 367-368, 393, 421, 441-442, 449-450, 458, 462, 493-494). He devotes the remaining 470 pages to poems, novels, and short stories. He presents an uneven and very selective account of modern Greek drama. Plays and dramatists receive only a cursory mention. When authors are better known for their poems or novels (e.g., Kazantzakis and Palamas), Dimaras neglects their plays. Generally, this book is very poorly translated and filled with typographical and other errors. Readers would do well to consult the Greek original if possible. 


Doulis, Thomas. "Loula Anagnostaki and the New Theater of Greece." Chicago Review 21/2 (1969):83-87.

Doulis argues that prewar Greek drama was overshadowed by the great tradition of classical Greek drama. Neither classical nor folk drama enabled prewar playwrights to create a distinct modern Greek drama, because they saw these two traditions as examples of a coherent continuity rather than as manifestations of a fragmented culture. The postwar generation of playwrights, including Anagnostaki, escaped from the vortex of chauvinism/patriotism by placing itself in the broader European theatrical tradition without recourse to classical or Greek folk drama. Doulis argues that for the past two centuries, Greek theater followed European models in playwriting, design, acting, and directing. Finally, this western influence helped the postwar dramatists of Greece to discard the ideas that had hampered prewar playwrights such as Palamas, Rotas, and Melas.


Doulis, Thomas. "The Man of the Theater." In George Theotokas, 86-109. Boston: Twayne, 1975.

In his search for a workable modern Greek dramatic style, Theotokas experimented with classical forms in his plays With Night Falls (1941),Revolt at Anapli (1942), and Byzantine Night (1944). Theotokas also experimented with the folk tradition in his plays The Bridge of Arta(1942), The Dream of the Twelfth Night (1943), The Castle of the Beauty(1944), The Game of Folly vs. Virtue (1944), Encounter on Penteli(1947), and The Price of Freedom (1948). This chapter in Doulis's book also mentions Hard Roots (1956), Since Alcibiades (1957), The End of the Road (1960), and The Final War (1964). Theotokas's tenure as Director General of the National Theater of Greece (1945-1947, 1950-1952) suffered from ideological disagreements about the purpose of that institution. Doulis concludes that classical drama and the theater market inhibited the development of modern Greek drama by smothering the valuable experiments and insights of playwrights such as Theotokas.


Fann-Bouteneff, Patricia. "The Bridge Rebuilt: The Myth of the Masterbuilder in Folksong and Theatre." Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 9 (1993):267-279.

Fann-Bouteneff shows how seven Greek plays written in the twentieth century treat the theme of the "bridge of hair" differently from their traditional sources. The Christian metaphor of a bridge made of a strand of hair spanning a river of fire goes back to the fourth century. In Byzantine times, the bridge was a supernatural construct, and the focus stayed on the sinners plummeting into the river of fire (as in The Life of St. Philaret, for example). In the folksongs, the bridge is a family affair, and the focus is on the wife being tricked to die in the foundation. In the plays--e.g., Voutieridis's The Bridge of Arta (1905), Horn's The Invaluable (1906), Kazantzakis's The Masterbuilder (1908) and Kapodistrias (1946), Photiadis's The Bridge of Hair (1927), Theotokas's The Bridge of Arta(1942), and Ktenidis's The Masterbuilder's Wife (1950)--the bridge is an individual matter and the focus is on the masterbuilder's attitude toward his craft.


Fann, Patricia. "In-Between States: The Uses of Liminality in the Pontic Theatre."Modern Greek Studies Yearbook 8 (1992):273-291.

Fann sees Greece as a country that discourages the heterogeneity of ethnic minorities such as the Greek Pontians. She analyzes two Greek Pontian plays, Xenophon Akoglous's Akritas and Philon Ktenidis's Emigrant, by using two concepts: liminality (the state of a hero's transition and incorporation) and marginality (the state of a hero's exclusion and peripheral existence). In Akritas, liminality and marginality afflict the hero and his children who, socially and geographically, live literally in a bordertown. His children inherit  his geographical marginality and social liminality; they feel more marginal and liminal than their father. InEmigrant, liminality is dramatized by a villager (Toton) who returns home after a prolonged life as an immigrant in Russia. Fann concludes that dramatic characters who are in a state of liminality are consistently redeemed, and that they are reincorporated into the community chiefly through marriage. The Greek Pontian playwrights associate marginality with liminality, implying that the cultural and social marginality of the Greek Pontians is not a permanent condition. Instead, like liminality, it is a temporary state of being as they transit from the periphery to the center of Greek society.


Fann, Patricia. "Pontic Performance: Minority Theater vs. Greek Ideology." Journal of Modern Greek Studies 9/1 (1991):107-122.

Fann discusses how Pontian theater in Greece became an important community theater that asserted the identity of those refugees who were evicted from their homeland on the southeast coast of the Black Sea after the Greek-Turkish Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. This Greek Orthodox Christian minority produced plays written and performed in the Greek Pontian dialect by amateur playwrights, directors, and actors. Their performances functioned as local, social, "speech" events, allowing the homesick refugees to relive their past and to celebrate their survival. This community theater reinvented (not just transplanted) Pontian culture and tradition on Greek soil by disregarding the policy of the Greek administration, which encouraged the refugees' linguistic and cultural integration.


Friar, Kimon. "Nikos Kazantzakis in the United States." The Literary Review 18/4 (1975):381-397.

This article presents Friar's impressions of the scholarly and artistic activity in the U.S.A. regarding Kazantzakis's works. It gives a brief account of Kazantzakis's plays translated and produced in the U.S.A. in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. Specifically, it mentions the dramatization of Kazantzakis's epic Odyssey, and the productions of ComedyKouros, andSodom and Gomorrah in American universities.


Gressler, Thomas. Greek Theater in the 1980s. Jefferson: McFarland, 1989.

Gressler surveys theatrical activity in Greece from 1974 to 1988 in four parts: The first part of the book provides a historical overview of the Greek people, a sketch of the alleged national Greek character, a dubious metaphor of the Greek theater standing between East and West, and an impressionistic report on the status of theater research in Athens. The second part surveys the various types of theaters such as those subsidized by the government, commercial theaters, children's theaters, puppet theaters, amateur theaters, and more recent types of theater. The third part looks at the facilities, locations, working conditions, and theatrical seasons as well as at production techniques and the training of theater professionals. The fourth part discusses playwriting opportunities, the Greek Actor's Equity, the Hellenic Theater Museum, and ends with a chapter-long summary.


Gudas, RomThe Bitter-Sweet Art: Karaghiozis, the Greek Shadow Theater. Athens: Gnosis, 1986.

This illustrated book begins with an introduction (11-19) that places the Greek shadow theater in its Middle-Eastern historical context; it surveys the background of a short story, The Bitter-Sweet Art/ Tês technês ta pharmakia (20-21), which is based on the experience of the Karaghiozis puppeteer Yannis Roulias (renamed "Foulias" in the short story), written by Yannis Vlachoyannis (1867-1945) at the turn of the twentieth century. It includes a translation of the short story (23-90), a brief history of the Greek shadow theater (91-110), a commentary on the shadow plays and the method of their presentation (113-124),  and brief biographies of the following Karaghiozis puppeteers: Yannis Brachalis, Dimitris Sardounis or Mimaros, Vassilis Tsilias, Vassilis Liakos or Prevezanos, Yannis Roulias, Memos Christodoulos, Dimitris Dalianis or Manopoulos, Yannis Moras, Markos Xanthos, Harilaos Petropoulos, Kostas Manos or Athanassios, Andonis Papoulias or Mollas, Spyros Kouzaros, Dimitris Aspiotis, Vassilis Fildissakos, Christos Haridimos, Sotiris Spatharis, Lefteris Kelarinopoulos, Vassilis Andrikopoulos or Vassilaros, Athanassios Spyropoulos, Dinos Theodoropoulos, Panayiotis Michopoulos, Dimitris Meimaroglou or Mimaros, Topekitsoglou, Manthos Lionettis or Athinaios, Yannis Mourelatos or Yannaros, and Andreas Kyriazopoulos (127-144). In addition, it describes various figures of the Greek shadow theater--from Karaghiozis to Velighekas (147-165); devotes a chapter to the figures, tools, and set designs of the Greek shadow theater (167-175); prints Gudas's translation of Andonis Mollas's Karaghiozis play A Little of Everything (177-253); and adds detailed notes on the play (255-263).



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'sThe 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 hisIstorikon dokimion peri tou theatrou kai tês mousikês 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 à 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 andThree 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 mnêmên 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 XVIIsiècle (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 andArgo, 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 Studies48 (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 inGyparis. 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'sAlcestis (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 HouseUnder the Mountain's ShadowAjax, PhiloctetesAgamemnonChrysothemisHelenIsmenePersephone,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 Review21/1 (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'sTrisévyeni 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. " Karankiozês: 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'sKaraghiozis and the Beautiful Gypsy (1925) is patterned after Cervantes'sDon Quixote, and Markos Xanthos's Karaghiozis as Woodcutter (1924) after Molière'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." Ellênika36 (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 MyrsiadesKaragiozis: 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.



Patsas, Giorgos. Costumes, Stage Designs. Athens: Ergo, 1995.

This 176-page illustrated book is a bilingual (English/Greek) edition which is dedicated to the work of the costume designer and set designer Giorgos Patsas. It includes the following: a list of the costumes and set designs that Patsas designed for various productions from 1981 to 1994 which were exhibited at the 1995 Prague Quadrennial Exhibition; a comprehensive list of Patsas's works from 1965 to 1994; and a retrospection of his professional activities from 1972 to 1994. Patsas made his professional debut in 1968. Since then, he has designed the sets and costumes for nearly 300 plays, seven films, and two historical series filmed for the National Television of Greece.


Petsalas, Anastasios. "The Cypriot Theatre in Great Britain." To Yofiri: Journal of Modern Greek Studies 12 (1992):50-61.

Petsalas provides a brief record of Greek-Cypriot community theater companies in England and their productions--from the amateur ones (e.g., the Greek Orthodox Christian Church Schools) to the semi-professional ones (e.g., the Prometheus Theatre Company in Oxford). He begins with the pioneering Koromilas Theatre Company that was founded by George Birbas in Liverpool in the early 1920s. He continues with the Theatre Company of the Students of St. Sophia School in Bayswater (West London) that was founded by Archimandrite Ilarion Vasdekas in 1922. Petsalas believes that the repertory of the early Greek-Cypriot community theater companies in England was influenced by the colonial politics of the day as well as by the rich theatrical tradition on the island of Cyprus from 1900 to 1962. Contributing to the theatrical culture of England were about a dozen Greek-Cypriot community theater companies such as the CamdenThéatro Téchnis and the Cypriot Artists Union, which performed at the Scala Theatre, the King George's Hall, and the Palace Theatre (West End) from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. During the 1963-1984 period, the Camden Théatro Téchnis produced Greek and Greek-Cypriot plays in Greek, in Greek-Cypriot, and in English translation. Among the playwrights who saw their plays produced by these ethnic community theater companies were Stavros Lillitos, George Evgeniou, Christos Araclides, Nick Axarlis, Eve Adam, Martha Demetriou, Peter Polycarpou, and Yannis Grivas.


Philippides, Dia. "Literary Detection in the Erotokritos and The Sacrifice of Abraham." Literary and Linguistic Computing 3/1 (1988):1-11.

Philippides argues that rhyme is an important stylistic feature in the composition of the two texts, and that her study yielded new statistical data about the style of their author(s). She analyzes the phonology and morphology of the two texts, providing additional data for the renewed comparison of the two works regarding the date and nature of their (common) authorship. Philippides shows how rhyme is adapted to the internal structure of both works. 


Philippides, Dia. "Rhyming Patterns in the Erotokritos and The Sacrifice of Abraham: A Preliminary Investigation." Cretan Studies 1 (1988):205-216.

As a first step toward a fuller linguistic and stylistic analysis of The Sacrifice of Abraham, Philippides published a concordance of the play. She now reevaluates opinions on the play's authorship and date of writing by comparing its stylistic features (especially rhyme) to those in the text ofErotokritos. The comparative analysis is based on phonological and morphological criteria. She also links the repetition of some lexical patterns in the rhyme to the dramatic content of the play. Philippides concludes that the differences in frequency of the rhymes between the two texts could be due to differences in the subject matter. The analysis does not preclude the hypotheses: (a) that the two texts have the same author, or (b) that the richer rhyme of Erotokritos proves that it was composed after The Sacrifice of Abraham. Besides rhyme, additional stylistic features (meter, word frequencies, variant forms, patterns of phrasing) also need to be studied before any conclusions can be reached. An earlier version of these ideas appears in Dia Philippides and J. Frangiovini, "Patterns in the Rhyming Couplets of Cretan Renaissance Drama: The Case of The Sacrifice of Abraham." In Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference of the Association of Literary and Linguistic Computing, 153-168. Norwich: University of East Anglia, 1-4 April 1986.


Politis, Linos. A History of Modern Greek Literature. Translated by Robert Liddell. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1973.

Politis devotes 338 pages to poems, novels, and short stories but only 17 pages to plays (54-59, 62-64, 147-149, 177-178, 214-220, 222-223, 225-226, 263-267). He presents an uneven, reductive, highly selective, and occasionally misleading account of modern Greek drama. He highlights plays and playwrights in the general context of modern Greek literature; yet he spends more time on late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Cretan drama than on any other period of Greek drama in the eighteenth, nineteenth, or twentieth centuries.


Politis, Linos. "The Theater in Crete During the Time of the Renaissance." In The Modern Greek Theater: A Concise History, translated by Lucille Vassardaki, xiv-xxii. Athens: Difros, 1957.

Politis discusses eight plays that were written between 1600 and 1669--three tragedies: Erophili, King Rodolinos, and Zeno; three comedies:KatzourbosStathis, and Fortunatos; a pastoral tragicomedy: Gyparis; and a religious drama: The Sacrifice of Abraham. Politis briefly summarizes the textual history of these plays and compares them to their Italian models.


Poulakidas, Andreas. "The Operatic Aspects of Kazantzakis' Broken Souls." Folia Neohellenica 5 (1983):157-173.

Poulakidas argues that Kazantzakis's novel Spasmenes psuches (1908) can be divided into four operatic arias (Triomfale, Vibrato, Fouette, Marche Fenebre) because it observes the five elements that Lehman Engel prescribes for an opera: feeling, subplot, romance, particularization of characters and situations, and comedy. The story begins at the grave of Adamantios Koraës in Paris on March 25 and focuses on four characters, Orestes, Nora, Chrisoula, and Gorgias Progonopliktos. Orestes, a 25 year old student, is modeled after Aeschylus's tragic hero; Gorgias is an unemployed expert on Sophocles's tragedies; Nora, a liberated woman, reflects the dark Dionysian forces as described by Euripides; and Chrysoula embodies the Christian virtues of self-sacrifice and pure love. Poulakidas concludes that Manolis Kalomiris must have detected the operatic elements in Kazantzakis's early novels and plays because he turned The Sacrifice (renamed The Masterbuilder) into a "musical tragedy" in 1916. 


Puchner, Walter. "Scenic Space in Cretan Theater." Mantatophoros 21 (1983):43-57.

Puchner examines several sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Cretan playtexts such as Erophili, King RodolinosFortunatosKatzourbos,Panoria, and The Sacrifice of Abraham. Based on an alleged similar theatrical activity in Ragusa, Sicily, he tries to show how plays were staged on the island of Crete. By analogy to the practices of the Academy of the Stravaganti and the Vivi, he assumes that they were staged in an upper-class environment during important social events. However, there seems to have been a public, popular theater, such as that in Handakas until 1660, that may invalidate current assumptions about scenic space in Crete. He concludes that most Cretan playtexts required a conventional simple set design--a Serlio-type of set with multi-local possibilities. The comic playtexts required panoramic views; the intermedia required either a pastoral or a war setting; and the religious dramas probably had their own staging conventions.


Puchner, Walter. "Tragedy." In Literature and Society in Renaissance Crete, 129-158. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Puchner surveys three five-act tragedies that range in style from late Renaissance to Jesuit baroque. These are Georgios Chortatzis's Erofili (ca. 1590), Ioannis Andreas Troilos's King Rodolinos (1647), and an anonymous dramatist's Zeno (1631). Puchner provides fundamental historical information for each tragedy, including a plot summary, a plot analysis, a metrical analysis, and, when applicable, a production record.Erofili (3205 verses), the most frequently published and performed of the three, is fashioned after Giraldi Cinthio's tragedy Orbecche (1547) and Torquato Tasso's tragedy Il re Torrismondo (1587). Erofili uses character psychology, dramatic action, and theatrical language more effectively than its models. It also bridges literary and oral culture in modern Greece. King Rodolinos (3230 verses) is modeled after Torquato Tasso's Il re Torrismondo. However, it moves dramatic action from Northern Europe to Northern Africa, while it drops ten scenes from the last three acts of its model, and focuses on the main character. It was probably never performed. Zeno (2195 verses) is a historical tragedy about the Byzantine Emperor Zeno (474-491). It was modeled after a tragedy by the same title written in Latin by the English Jesuit Joseph Simon (1594-1671) in Rome. Zeno and his cousin Longinos perpetrate many crimes in order to gain and secure power. When the wheel of Fortune turns, Longinos is fatally wounded by his victims' ghosts, and Zeno is walled into his grave alive. Spectacle, not language, is the strongest element in this tragedy. It was performed in Zakynthos in 1683, and it connects the seventeenth-century Cretan drama with the eighteenth-century Heptanesian drama of Petros Katsaitis. Puchner mentions, but does not discuss, Francesco Bozza's tragedy Fedra (1578), which was written in Italian.


Raizis, Byron. "Kazantzakis' Ur-Odysseus, Homer, and Gerhart Hauptmann." The Journal of Modern Literature 2/2 (1971-1972):199-214.

Raizis departs from Prevelakis's claim that Kazantzakis was influenced by Hauptmann when he wrote his play Odysseus (1928). Raizis compares Kazantzakis's play with Hauptmann's The Bow of Odysseus (1914). Both playwrights borrow material from Homer's account in the last books of theOdyssey. However, Hauptmann selects only what can be treated in a rational, realistic manner. His characters are psychological entities with realistic motives. Kazantzakis gives an allegorical interpretation of Homer's story. He injects Bergson's and Nietzsche's ideas into the Homeric situation. Raizis concludes that the influence of Hauptmann helped Kazantzakis improve the make-believe aspect of his play, but that Kazantzakis freely created his two-dimensional Ur-Odysseus.


Rexine, John. "The Karagiozis Heroic Performance in Greek Shadow Theatre. Text by Linda S. Myrsiades. Translation by Kostas Myrsiades. Hanover, New Hampshire and London: University Press of New England, 1988." Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 15/1-2 (1988):114-117.

In this book review, Rexine points out that this joint effort provides, for the first time in English, the texts of two Karagiozis plays (Kostas Manos'sKatsantonis and Markos Ksanthos's The Seven Beasts and Karaghiozis). The book has four parts that, in succession, provide a discussion about the Turkish origins of Karaghiozis, a translation of the two plays, with endnotes, an analysis of the two plays and their variant sources, and an appendix with information about the characters. Rexine acknowledges that this study reinforces the view that, despite the Turkish origin of Karagöz, Karaghiozis is an integral part of the Greek folk tradition. He also notes that Linda Myrsiades is sympathetic to Yannis Kiurtsakis, who thinks that Karaghiozis represents the coexistence of continuity and discontinuity, heroism and anti-heroism, past and present. Rexine concludes that this study is a rich source of information for the English-speaking scholar.


Rondiris, Dimitrios. "The Greek Tragedy Electra: Chorus as Theater." In Theater: The Search for Style, edited by John Mitchell, 177-196. Midland, Michigan: Northwood Institute Press, 1982.

Rondiris, who studied drama under Max Reinhardt, explains how he developed an operatic style of presentation for the revival of classical Greek tragedy in the 1930s. As Director General of the National Theater of Greece, he founded the Classical Greek Theater Festival in Athens with a production of Sophocles's Electra in 1936, and the Classical Greek Theater Festival at Epidaurus with a production of Euripides's Hippolytusin 1954. Rondiris uses Electra as an example to highlight his directorial approach to the choreography and orchestration of voice, diction, movement, and acting for the chorus as he freely borrows ideas from the entire Greek tradition--classical and Byzantine alike. Rondiris's approach has influenced not only the style of presentation of revived classical Greek tragedies, but of modern Greek tragedies as well.


Sideris, Giannis. The Modern Greek Theater: A Concise History. Translated by Lucille Vassardaki. Athens: Difros, 1957.

This book, aside from Sideris's illustrated historical survey from 1757 to 1957, contains two articles: Emil Hourmouzios's "The Ancient Drama in Our Time" (i-xiii) and Linos Politis's "The Theater in Crete during the Time of the Renaissance" (xiv-xxii). Sideris highlights the theater of the Greek Enlightenment, the theater of the Ionian Islands, and the theater of Athens, which had its first permanent resident theater company in the newly built Theater of Athens (alias Boukouras Theater) in 1862. He marks a theatrical awakening with the new companies and buildings in the 1880s. He mentions the appearance of the New Stage Company and the Royal Theater Company in 1901, the revival of classical Greek drama at the Theater of Delphi (1927), the Theater of Herod Atticus (1936), and the Theater of Epidaurus (1954); the establishment of the Free Stage (1929) and the National Theater of Greece (1932). He concludes with the theatrical activity in postwar Greece and a list of theatrical organizations in the 1950s.


Sideris, Giannis. "The Playwrights of the Modern Greek Theater." Thespis 2-3 (1965):10-43.

Sideris surveys popular Greek playwrights and mentions their most popular plays. The article reads like an illustrated telephone directory that follows a questionable chronological  order rather than an alphabetical one. Sideris gives the dates of birth and death for each playwright. He starts with Timoleon (1818) by Ioannis Zambelios (1787-1856), goes back to the plays of seventeenth-century Cretan playwrights, and ends withVilla of Orgies (1963) by Gerasimos Stavrou. He also mentions two outstanding Greek actors and one actress: Vasilis Argyropoulos (1894-1953), Evangelos Pantopoulos (1860-1913), and Marika Kotopouli (1887-1954).


Solomos, Alexis. The Living Aristophanes. Translated by Alexis Solomos and Marvin Felheim. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1974.

The introductory chapter, "The Theater of Aristophanes Today" (1-11), and the concluding chapter, "The Posterity of Aristophanes" (244-276), explain why Aristophanes has been a major influence on modern Greek playwrights. Solomos raises the question of how Aristophanes's comedies should be meaningfully revived for modern Greek audiences, suggesting that modern Greek dances should substitute for ancient Greek dances (e.g.,chasapikos ). He also shows how Aristophanes's comedies were interpreted and revived on modern Greek stages by directors, such as himself, who frequently produced modern Greek comedies in the same spirit. Solomos sees the intoxication, impropriety, and sexuality of Aristophanic comedy in the context of Kazantzakis, Bergson, Chaplin, Disney, Karaghiozis, and the music hall tradition, or in the context of topics such as "war," "justice," and "feminism."


Spatharis, Sotiris. Behind the White Screen. Translated by Mario Rinvolucri and Leslie Finer. New York: Red Dust, 1976.

This book is divided into two parts: The first part (7-91) is a translation of the memoirs of the Karaghiozis puppeteer Sotiris Spatharis, who first published them in Greek in Athens in 1960. The second part is a translation of Spatharis's anecdotal remarks on the history and the art of the Karaghiozis shadow theater. This part has the following sections: an account of the arrival of the Karaghiozis shadow theater in Greece, a list of the Karaghiozis puppeteers, a list of the main characters in the Karaghiozis shadow theater, an account of how the shadow theater figures are made, an explanation on the "hinges" that turn a figure (about-face) on the screen, a description of the stage and screen of the Karaghiozis shadow theater, a long note on the singers who accompanied the performances of the Karaghiozis shadow theater, and a retelling of several jokes by Karaghiozis puppeteers.


Stavrakopoulou, Anna. "Linda S. Myrsiades and Kostas Myrsiades. Karagiozis: Culture and Comedy in Greek Puppet Theatre. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1992." Journal of Modern Greek Studies 11/1 (1993):179-183.

In this book review, Stavrakopoulou points to the interdisciplinary scope of this study and to "some alarming misunderstandings" that appear in the text, undermining its validity. In the first part of the book, which is dedicated to the life and art of puppeteer Yorgos Haridimos, the authors deal with cultural issues that determine the "making" of a puppeteer and his type of performance. Stavrakopoulou notes that, in the book, the female characters of the Karaghiozis shadow theater are polarized between the old shrew and the young virgin. The second part of the book transcribes a performance of Karagiozis [as] Baker by Haridimos in a meticulous and complete way that includes the responses of the audience. But Stavrakopoulou is disturbed because, in her opinion, the authors did not recognize the contribution of such scholars as Yannis Kiourtsakis and Mario Rinvolucri to the study of Karaghiozis. 


Stavrakopoulou, Anna. "Stathis Damianakos, editor. Theatro skiôn, paradosê kai neôterikotêta . Athens: Plethron, 1989." Journal of Modern Greek Studies 13/1 (1995):139-141.

In this book review, Stavrakopoulou praises the editor for fostering a universalist (instead of a nationalist) approach to a topic of interest to students of Greek culture and theater. The book contains the editor's introduction, and 21 articles. The articles appear in three sections discussing the Asian (Thai, Indian, and Javanese) sources of the shadow theater; the Mediterranean (Turkish and Greek) variants of the shadow theater; and the practice and values of the shadow theater from a psychological, semiological, and postmodern perspective. Stavrakopoulou claims that, some thirty years ago, Greek and other European scholars were reluctant to acknowledge the Far East origin of the Greek shadow theater. All the articles touch upon such topics as training, production techniques, performative techniques, improvisation, and thematic similarity. Stavrakopoulou sees this book as a sequel to the 1963 issue ofTheatro that was dedicated to the Greek shadow theater.


Terzakis, AngelosHomage to the Tragic Muse. Translated by Athan Anagnostopoulos. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978.

This book is a subjective and largely undocumented account that illustrates Terzakis's own understanding of tragedy as he discusses several tragedies such as Oedipus Rex, HippolytusDr. FaustusAntony and Cleopatra, and Romeo and Juliet. It gives a clear description of Terzakis's existential concept of tragedy as demonstrated by the plays he wrote after World War II. Terzakis argues that a tragedy does not provide the answer to the mystery of existence, but rather presents a coherent structure whose verity results from the internal tensions of the dramatic utterance. Tragedy arises from the opposition between human conscience and the world "order" wherever and whenever they collide. His criterion for tragedy rests upon the tragic hero, whose youthful, pioneering spirit pushes him or her to challenge the established order of things.


Terzakis, Angelos. "Contemporary Theater in Greece." Thespis 6 (1972):32-33.

Terzakis makes a very general statement about how the Greek people have always loved the theater. He briefly mentions seventeenth-century Greek drama on the island of Crete and nineteenth-century Greek drama on the mainland. He focuses on the debate between theater artists and scholars on the "appropriate" performance style: (a) for reviving classical drama, (b) for portraying modern Greek society on stage, and (c) for distinguishing a genuine modern Greek drama from its European counterparts. He praises the artistic individualism of the modern Greeks and asserts that Greek theater artists have produced an "incredible" amount of work since 1830.


Terzakis, Angelos. "Matesis' Vassilikos: The First Drama of Ideas." In Modern Greek Writers: Solomos, Calvos, Matesis, Palamas, Cavafy, Kazantzakis, Seferis, Elytis, edited by Edmund Keeley and Peter Bien, 93-107. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1972.

Terzakis argues that Matesis's Vassilikos is an artistically and ideologically precocious play for both Greek and European dramatic literature. It was written by an enlightened aristocrat, and it is a social drama that deals with the problems facing the aristocracy in a changing world. Matesis, who was four years younger than Dionysios Solomos, was a member of Solomos's coterie. Vassilikos was written on the island of Zakynthos, which was a British protectorate, whereas mainland Greece had just been liberated from Ottoman rule. The play was written in 1830, the very year that French Romanticism made its debut on the stage with Victor Hugo's Hernani. In Terzakis's opinion, the Greek play is superior  to the French play. Hernaniis a poor melodrama with pompous dialogue written in excellent verse.Vassilikos is a realistic drama with simple, direct dialogue, written with a sense of immediacy. If Greek, not French, had been the fashionable language in 1830, Vassilikos, not Hernani, would have been theaccomplishment of European theater.


Terzakis, Angelos, George Theotokas, Alekos Lidorikis, Notis Pergialis, Sotiris Patatzis, Vangelis Goufas, and Iakovos Kambanellis. "The Modern Greek Playwrights and Their Problems." Thespis 2-3 (1965): 45-50.

This article identifies the following problems: (1) How to modernize Greek drama by internationalizing its themes about man's relationship to his destiny (Terzakis), (2) how to secure artistic and financial progress for Greek playwrights without submitting to the anxieties of the economically developed cultures (Theotokas), (3) how to sell a play as "commercial enough" to a producer and how to withstand rewriting it to satisfy directors and leading actors (Lidorikis), (4) how to keep modern Greek theater alive against the elitist, decadent trends that undermine dialogue, characterization, and fourth-wall illusion by bringing actors and spectators "into a revolting intimacy" (Patatzis), (5) how to stop the overwhelming production of translated foreign plays, the irresponsible reviews of theater critics, the star-system, the pandering to the vulgar tastes of the public, and the censorship of socially conscious plays (Pergialis), (6) how to take Greek drama beyond the narrow psychological cases of Tennessee Williams and the social symbolism of Bertolt Brecht (Goufas), (7) how to discover and render the "unique" characteristics of the contemporary Greeks (Kambanellis).


Theodorakis, Mikis. Music and Theater. Translated by George Giannaris. Athens: Efstathiadis, 1983.

This book contains Theodorakis's artistic credo (15-62), a translation of his musical tragedy The Ballad of the Dead Brother (63-130), a translation of his dramatic fantasy Exodus (131-147), the music to the songs of The Ballad of the Dead Brother with the lyrics in Greek and in transliteration (149-168), and Giannaris's essay on Theodorakis's approaches to incidental music for classical Greek drama (169-178). The book presents Theodorakis's most articulate statements on theater and music in the 1960s. Theodorakis started writing for the musical revue before he ventured to write music for classical Greek plays such as Euripides's The Phoenician Women (1960) and for plays such as Vasilis Rotas's translation of Brendan Behan's The Hostage (1962). Theodorakis, like the classical Greek playwrights who wrote the music to their own plays, strove for a unity between drama and music.


Trilling, Ossia. "Away with Us to Athens: A Bird's Eye View of the Greek Theater Today." Theater World 56/424 (1960):32-33, 41-42.

This illustrated article mentions that in 1960 Greece had nine schools of drama with three-year curricula and nineteen theaters, two of which were state-subsidized--i.e., the National Theater of Greece and the National Opera of Greece, absorbing, annually, £131,000 and £95,000, respectively. It mentions the following productions of modern Greek plays: Sklavos's Kassiane, an opera about the love of Emperor Theophilos for a ninth-century poetess, hymnographer and nun; Kambanellis's "social realist" play Yard of Wonders; Kasonas's sentimental Trees Die Upright(Diamantopoulos); Skouloudis's The Dreyfus Affair (Myrat), and Psathas's comedy Company of Miracles (Horn). It reports that private theaters in Greece get interest-free loans but pay high admission tax (25% for plays and 40% for musicals), that actors have free pension funds and health insurance, and that Thessaloniki, the second largest city of Greece, had no permanent theater in 1960.


Valamvanos, George. " Athenaïki epitheoresi --The Athenian Review, by Thodoros Hatzipantazis and Lila Maraka. Athens: Ermis, 1977." Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 6/1 (1979):109-113.

Valamvanos reviews this well-documented, three-volume book on the Athenian revue. Two of the volumes include seminal "texts" of annual revues such as A Bit of Everything (1894), Cinema (1908), Panathenaia(1911), and Ksifir Faler (1916). The third volume gives a disappointing analysis but insightful footnotes. The Greek quest for European models, which encouraged the production of many foreign plays, was responsible, according to Valamvanos, for the production of only 384 original modern Greek plays in Athens from 1800 to 1908. The "central" and the "regional" Athenian revues, which were modeled after a French prototype, satirized the Athenian sociopolitical environment between 1907 and 1922, but were occasionally subjected to government censorship. Despite the lack of any definitive "texts," most revues follow a similar pattern. They have a three-act structure that is unified by the presence of an actor who appears throughout the play. Each act has several scenes (or numbers) interspersed with songs, music, dance, and spectacle.


Valamvanos, George. " Theatro sta bouna --Theater in the Mountains, by George Kotzioulas. Athens: Themelio, 1976." Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 5/4 (1979):91-93.

Valamvanos reviews this book which contains 14 plays by Yorgos Kotzioulas and his essay on the production record of his traveling theater company--perhaps the best example of ideologically committed theater in Greece in the 1940s. Valamvanos discusses Cinderfella, The Party RepresentativeThe Forest RangerThe PolicemanThe Sufferings of the JewsWomen of Epirus, and Wake Up, Slave. The plays follow the following formula: the villagers, at first, mistrust the communist partisans; then they begin to trust them because of a benevolent act; finally, they realize that without them they have no hopes for survival, freedom, or equality. The plays' message is twofold: repel the Nazis and change the social structure. In conclusion, these agit-prop plays are one-dimensional, employing the same antics and dialogue as the Greek shadow theater.


Vallianos, Pericles. "Homage to the Tragic Muse by Angelos Terzakis." Translated by Athan Anagnostopoulos. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978. Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora 6/1 (1979):97-102.

Vallianos writes a favorable book review of Athan Anagnostopoulos's translation of Terzakis's subjective, undocumented discussion. He focuses on Terzakis's concept of tragedy, which places the tragic conflict beyond the range of rational discourse. The substance of the tragic conflict is a confrontation between the ineffable world and the human will, which defies it. Although the destruction of the individual rebel is "preordained," tragedy presents the problem, not the solution, of freedom. Vallianos reviews Terzakis's analyses of Sophocles's Oedipus Rex, Marlow's Dr. Faustus (which Terzakis considers the first genuine tragedy of the Christian world), and Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, concluding that, for Terzakis, tragedy is an aesthetic rendition of the conflict over human freedom whose purpose remains a sealed mystery to human intelligence. In a psychological rather than a physiological sense, the tragic age is the age of youth, which challenges its limits and is crushed.


Van Dyck, Karen. "Linda Myrsiades, The Karagiozis Heroic Performance in Greek Shadow Theatre. Text by Linda S. Myrsiades, translation by Kostas Myrsiades. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1988." Journal of Modern Greek Studies 11/1 (1993):178-179.

Van Dyck welcomes this joint effort to inform the English-speaking public about the tradition of the Greek shadow theater. The book, which is organized into three chapters  and three appendices, places the Karaghiozis performances in their historical contexts and presents English translations of two Karaghiozis texts, The Hero Katsantonis and The Seven Beasts and Karagiozis. The various appendices sketch out the main Karaghiozis characters, the mechanics of the "stage," and the publishing history of the plays. Van Dyck concludes that this pioneering book falls short of its aspiration to speak meaningfully to both scholarly readers and lay readers. The authors' scholarly efforts involve a great deal of summarizing of the work of other scholars with very little analysis or new insight. Their attempt to simplify (popularize) their topic undermines their scholarly pretentions and is, in turn, undermined by detailed chronologies.


Velimirovic , Milos. "Liturgical Drama in Byzantium and Russia." Dumbarton Oak Papers 16 (1962):349-385.

Velimirovi^c discusses references by Ignatius of Smolensk (1389), Bertrandon de la Broquiere (1432), and Symeon of Thessaloniki (Dialogus contra Haereses) about the performance of the liturgical dramaThree Children in the Furnace. He suggests that the liturgical drama and its practice are older than the first recorded date in the fourteenth century. He also compares four extant manuscripts of the play: MS 2406 (A.D. 1453 ) in the National Library of Greece; MS 1120 (A.D. 1458) in the Iviron Monastery on Mt. Athos, Greece; MS 1527 (sixteenth century) of Mt. Sinai in microfilm in the Library of Congress, Washington D.C.; and MS^165 (seventeenth century) in the Lavra Monastery on Mt. Athos, Greece. All four manuscripts contain musical notations. The staging directions for the children are identical in MS 2406, MS 1120, and MS^165. He concludes that in the Greek and Russian Orthodox Churches liturgical plays were performed inside the churches.


Vincent, Alfred. "Comedy." In Literature and Society in Renaissance Crete, edited by David Holton, 103-128. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Vincent introduces three five-act urban comedies that were written in Greek during the Venetian period. These are Georgios Hortatsis'sKatzourbos (or Katzarapos); an anonymous dramatist's Stathis, and Markos Antonios Foskolos's Fortounatos (ca. 1655). Vincent provides plot summaries for each comedy, discusses their relation to earlier neoclassical Italian comedies, and explores parallels between their dramatic "world" and the "real" world in Crete as illustrated in historical documents. He mentions the Venetian actor Antonio da Molino, who visited Crete in the sixteenth century, and the seventeenth-century testimony of Giovanni Papadopoli, who witnessed theatrical performances during Carnival. The three comedies share all the basic features of the Italian literary comedy (commedia erudita) as developed by Ariosto, Macchiavelli, Aretino, and Bibbiena. Their action covers less than a day, it is set in Kastro at a time close to the date of writing, the protagonists belong to the urban "middle classes," the happy ending is precipitated by the discovery of a character's long-lost child, and the last act ends in a brief address to the audience by one of the characters. Stathis as preserved in manuscript has only three acts because it was "edited" at some point during its transmission. The use of verse in Greek comedies marks a break with Italian practice, which had introduced prose since the early sixteenth century. Vincent concludes that the attitudes on social and political issues conveyed by these three comedies were benign and did not offend either the prosperous urban classes or the Venetian administration.


Vincent, Alfred. "A Manuscript of Chortatses' Erophile in Birmingham." University of Birmingham Historical Journal 12/2 (1970):261-267.

The Library of the University of Birmingham acquired a manuscript of Georgios Hortatsis's tragedy Erophile (ca. 1599) that was auctioned at Sotheby's on 15 June 1970.  Matthaios Kigalas, who edited the first printed edition of this tragedy in 1637, mentioned a manuscript allegedly written in Hortatsis's own hand. The Birmingham manuscript is written in the Italian alphabet. Two other manuscripts known to have survived are the one in the library of the Historical and Ethnological Society of Greece in Athens (ms. Th 62 [16]) and the one in the National Library of Munich (ms. graec. 590). Ambrose Gradenigos, who edited the 1676 edition of this tragedy, provided a better text because he reportedly preserved the play's "natural Cretan language," and restored the text to the form in which Hortatsis wrote it. Vincent concludes that its title, dedication, list of characters, and intermedia were added later. Vincent discerns three different handwritings, and is able to identify one of them. It belongs to playwright Marcos Antonios Foscolos (ca. 1597-1662), who wrote the comedy Fortunatos (1655). This comedy survived in a manuscript written by Foscolos himself. It is owned by the Marcian Library in Venice.


V., S. "Review of Three Cretan Plays: The Sacrifice of Abraham, Erophile and Gyparis, translated by F. H. Marshall, with an introduction by John Mavrogordato. Oxford University Press, 1929." Journal of Hellenic Studies 50 (1930):369.

S. V. gives a very brief, condescending review of Marshall's translations and of Mavrogordato's introduction. According to S. V., the introduction largely consists of a summary of the "miracle play," the "tragedy of blood," and of the "pastoral drama." S. V. argues that these plays constitute outstanding achievements of early seventeenth-century Greek literature and are not adaptations of Italian plays. S. V. mentions that The Sacrifice of Abraham was successfully performed in Greece and Holland in the late 1920s, and observes that Marshall, who translated the "political verse" of the Greek plays into the English "fourteener, a rather refractory metre," did not succeed in keeping it consistently under control.

Wace, A. J. B. "Mumming Plays in the Southern Balkans." The Annual of the British School at Athens 19 (1912-1913):248-265.

Wace argues that mumming plays were shared by Greeks, Bulgarians, Vlachs, Albanians, and Gypsies. Wace describes mumming performances in Thessaly and Macedonia during the holiday of Epiphany (the 6th of January) from 1910 to 1912. He mentions towns such as Agyia (Mt. Ossa), Peparethos (Skopelos), Zangarada (Mt. Pelion), Kozani, and several villages (Mt. Pindos). At Briaza, a mummer play involved a bride, a bridegroom, an Arab, a doctor, and a Karaghiozou. This performance was repeated during Carnival Day. In Grevena, the clergy demanded that the mumming play be transferred from Epiphany Day to Carnival Day. Wace concludes that mumming plays support the premise of the Dionysiac origin of classical Greek drama, especially if one compares the ancient Greek satyrs to the modern Greek kallikantzaroi and if one recalls that Dionysus arrived in Athens from the north, where the mumming plays are not exclusively Greek.


Wace, A. J. B. "North Greek Festivals and the Worship of Dionysos." The Annual of the British School at Athens 16 (1909-1910):232-253.

Wace observed several mumming performances in Thessaly and Southern Macedonia on the eve of Epiphany Day from 1906 to 1909. At sunset, groups of twelve boys would form eight-member choruses (divided into two four-member semi-choruses) with four actors who impersonated four stock characters: a bride, a bridegroom, an Arab (in a black mask of goatskin or a pumpkin shell, a beard of goat's hair, a sheepskin cloak, and a tail), and a doctor. The boys performed in the front yard of the houses. The choruses in a semi-circle sang " Sêmeron ta phôta " to the host family, and the actors, in the center, performed a simple play: The Arab steals a kiss from the bride. The bridegroom quarrels with the Arab. The Arab kills the bridegroom. The bride mourns the bridegroom and fetches the doctor. The doctor brings the bridegroom back to life with a miraculous medicine. The bridegroom gets up and makes love to the bride. If the host family failed to treat the group with a gift (money or food), the boys "tricked" the family by stealing chickens or by cutting the family's vine stems or by singing a "curse." This illustrated article ends by observing that European influence, Greek education, and the police (who punish chicken theft) have lessened the practice of these carnival plays of death and resurrection.


Wellesz, Egon. "The Nativity Drama of the Byzantine Church." Journal of Roman Studies 37 (1947):145-151.

A large number of monostrophic hymns ( troparia ) in Eastern Orthodox Churches originally followed a verse ( stichos ) from a psalm or canticle. Wellesz argues that their connection with the content of the verse was loosened as hymnography developed and their number increased. The words and melodies of these verses, which were intended for singing, were blended together. The highest achievements of this technique are the hymns for Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost, which have a distinct dramatic element. This dramatic element is so well developed that a kind of liturgical drama can be detected. After comparing five manuscripts, Wellesz concludes that the words and the melodies of the Nativity cycle remained unaltered from the tenth to the thirteenth century. Wellesz does not venture to reconstruct the original form of the Byzantine Nativity play, but surveys twelve tropária composed or adapted by Sophronius for Christmas Eve in order to show how the fully developed form of the Nativity drama unfolded itself to the congregation of the ninth century.


Wellesz, Egon. "The Theatre" and "The Pantomime." In A History of Byzantine Music and Hymnography, 2nd revised edition, 85-87, 87-88. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961.

Wellesz mentions the sixty second canon of the Concilium in Trullo, which prohibits the masks of Aristophanic comedies, satyr plays, and Euripidean tragedies. The Byzantine Empire of the sixth century inherited from Rome seven different kinds of light comedy (palliatatogata,AttelanatabernaliaRhinthonics, phanipedaria, mimic comedies), and the pantomime. The Christian Church, however, suppressed these "pagan" pastimes because they allegedly ridiculed the Christian religion. According to Libanius's essay Oratorio pro saltatoribus (94-98), pantomimes were performed in the following way: a poem was sung and an actor expounded its meaning through a mimic dance. Mimic dancers such as Xenophon could perform a complete tragedy such as Euripides's The Bacchae. Wellesz concludes that the mimic dancers ( tragôidoi ) were very popular with Byzantine audiences during the Empire despite the discriminatory social policies of the Christian Church.


Whitman, Cedric. "Appendix: Karaghiozes and Aristophanic Comedy." InAristophanes and the Comic Hero, 281-293. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1964.

Whitman questions the strained, chauvinistic assumptions of scholars such as Costas Biris and Giulio Caimi who trace the origin of the Karaghiozis shadow theater to the Old Attic comedy on the grounds of similarities that cannot be validated historically. Whitman raises two questions: Why and how did the Turkish Karagöz, who seems to be the most direct parent of the Greek Karaghiozis, become, scarcely a generation after the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire, a naturalized Greek struggling for survival under Turkish rule? What determined the transformation of the Turkish Karagöz into the Greek Karaghiozis, who is strangely reminiscent of Aristophanic characters? Whitman discusses the contribution of Mimaros (Dimitrios Sardounis), who began this transformation by introducing new themes and Greek stock characters. He also discusses the image of the oppressed but resilient "little self," which makes both Karaghiozis and the Aristophanic characters stand as national or individual survival symbols. He finally links  Karaghiozis's ponêria, anaideia, and alazoneia with the Byzantine hymns celebrating military triumphs ( apelatika ) and the Zakynthian homilies. Whitman concludes that the similarities between Karaghiozis and the Aristophanic comedies are due to a revival rather than to a survival of a certain kind of comic spirit that can be discerned in the plays of Gouzelis, Rousmelis, and Vizantios.


Wilson, Colin. "The Greatness of Nikos Kazantzakis." The Minnesota Review 8/2 (1968):159-180.

Wilson claimed in The Outsider (1956) that the day of the "men of genius" who felt stifled by society was over. Years later, he discovered that Kazantzakis, another "outsider," was still alive when his--Wilson's--book was published. For Wilson, man has reached a point in his evolution where he experiences the choice to transform himself. Unlike Sartre and Camus, Kazantzakis tackled this issue of freedom with "Promethean" rigor. Following the anti-Christian ideas of Nietzsche and Marx, Kazantzakis ceased to regard man as a servant of God and he raised man to the status of God's co-worker. For Kazantzakis, God would die without man's creative efforts. Man becomes the savior of God through the godlike act of creation. In the context of these ideas, Wilson briefly mentions four of Kazantzakis's plays: The Master Mason (1908), Lidio-Lidia (1936),Othello Returns (1937), and Christopher Columbus (1949). Kazantzakis's existential man is indestructible because, like Sisyphus, he insists on pushing the rock uphill or, like Prometheus, he re-creates himself.

  • Recommend Us