Nikos Karathanos

‘Birds’ by Aristophanes

19-20 AUG 2016
Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus
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VIP Zone: 45€
Zone A: 30€
Zone B: 20€, 15€ (Students)
Upper Tier: 10€, 5€ (Students, Unemployed)
People with disabilities: 5€
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A team of artists bids farewell to fear, bursting with love at the words of a poet who is ‘not ashamed of anything’.
Have you noticed that when the lights go out at Epidaurus, one can hear the steps of the actors approaching the orchestra, and somewhere in the background the sound of an owl? This time you will hear a hooppoe, a nightingale, a cuckoo, a hawk, a goldfinch, a heron... because The Birds are coming, only at Epidaurus!

The Onassis Cultural Centre of the Onassis Foundation goes to Epidaurus for the first time with the most comic birds of Aristophanes, namely The Birds (414 BC), in the context of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival. The Birds essentially talk about man’s need to fly, to create a new world, to come into contact with his innermost desire. Following his breathtaking Golfo, Nikos Karathanos returns to the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus with a remarkable group of actors and a production/feast of the senses, rooted in the unsurpassable poetic power of this remarkable comedy.

The work tells the story of two people, Pisthetaerus and Euelpides, who leave their city, Athens, in search of a new one, ‘soft and plump like a feather mattress, or like the belly of a baby’. They find it in the country of the birds, which they call ‘Cloudckuckooland’. The birds welcome the two strangers. They give them wings. Together, they work with enthusiasm to build a wall up in the sky to stop the communication between gods and humans. The happiness of this new state is based in this newfound idea. Imagination and reality, human, gods, and animals come together in a world that has the seriousness of a game, the fluidity of a dream, and the sweet melancholy of life. This is a production that aims at a clear approach of Aristophanes, wishing for the poetry of the leading comedian of Attica to be heard and loved anew. A theatre group ‘that wants to fly, while falling’, seeking, daring, and confronting ‘an elusive happiness, so big that cannot be uttered or thought of’.


With English surtitles.

Translation: Giannis Asteris
Direction: Nikos Karathanos
Adaptation: Nikos Karathanos, Giannis Asteris
Sets - Costumes: Elli Papageorgakopoulou
Music: Aggelos Triantafillou
Lighting Design: Simos Sarketzis
Movement: Amalia Bennett

With: Alexandra Aidini, Aliki Alexandraki, Fotini Baxevani , Konstantinos Bibis, Natassa Bofiliou, Maria Diakopanagiotou, Vasiliki Driva, Galini Hatzipaschali, Nikos Karathanos, Emily Koliandri, Giannis Kotsifas, Ektor Liatsos, Christos Loulis, Grigoria Metheniti, Aggelos Papadimitriou, Foivos Rimenas, Michalis Sarantis, Aris Servetalis, Giannis Sevdikalis, Aggelos Triantafillou

Live music: Marios Dapergolas, Sofia Efkleidou, Dimitris Klonis, Vasilis Panagiotopoulos, Dimitris Tigkas

Assistant to the Director: Ioanna Bitouni
Assistant Director: Marissa Triantafillidou
Assistant to the Set Designer: Evaggelia Therianou, Myrto Kosmopoulou, Myrto Lambrou
Music Assistant: Vassilis Panagiotopoulos
Production Assistant: Tzela Christopoulou
Technical Staff Assistant: Panos Svolakis

Hair Design: Chronis Tzimos
Sewing: Dimitra Kaisari, Aphrodite Pournari
Construction of the props "trees": Socrates Papadopoulos, Stephanos Grammenos, Daphne Iliopoulou
Set Construction: Lazaridis Scenic Studio

Sound Engineering: Kostis Pavlopoulos, Dionisis Manousakis
Stage Manager: Giannis Kritikos
Theatre Mechanics: Vasilis Dresios, Christos Mavros, Giannis Psarros, Panagiotis Vasilopanagos
Electrician: Pavlos Pappas

Surtitles editing: Melissanthi Giannousi
Simultaneous surtitling: Yannis Papadakis

Line Production: Yolanda Markopoulou, Konstantina Georgiou / POLYPLANITY Productions
Production: Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens

There will be a recite of the Giorgis Pavlopoulos' poem "Where the birds are?"

Special thanks to: National Theatre of Greece, Megaron the Athens Concert Hall, Athens Drama School - Giorgos Theodosiades, Georgio Aggouris, Pantelis Mountis, Polyanna Vlatis, Anastasia Mikrou, Lina Stavropoulou, Stella Gaspari and Tzortzina Finiki

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Read more:
For The Birds, Aristophanes received the second prize in the Dionysia Festival in 414 BC. The play is considered by leading scholars to be the best of his surviving works. It was written during a time when peace was strongly undermined (Nikiios Peace Treaty); the operation in Sicily was ongoing and the political situation in Athens was not managed by suitable politicians.
Aristophanes (c. 445-385 BC) is the most prominent representative of ancient comedy. Eleven of his works survive in a complete form: The Acharnians (425 BC), The Knights (424 BC), The Clouds (423 BC), The Wasps (422 BC), Peace (421 BC), The Birds (414 BC), Lysistrata (411 BC), Thesmophoriazusae (or, The Women Celebrating the Thesmophoria, 411 BC), The Frogs (405 BC), Ecclesiazusae (or, The Assemblywomen, 392 BC), and Wealth (388 BC). The plot in his comedies often focuses on someone leaving a place full of machinations, poverty, war, and big words, for imaginary places where he attempts to make his dreams come true.
The Birds are the first production of the Onassis Cultural Centre (OCC) of the Onassis Foundation at the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus in the context of the Athens and Epidaurus Festival, 2016. This is another collaboration between OCC and Nikos Karathanos and his wonderful team, following The Cherry Orchard, a production that not only surprised audiences but also sparked a rare discussion and an invaluable debate on stage readings of Chekhov’s oeuvre.
The production of The Birds by Karolos Koun for the Art Theatre (Theatro Technis) is a point of reference in the history of contemporary Greek stage works; featuring a translation by Vasilis Rotas, sets and costumes were designed by Greek painter Yannis Tsarouchis, music was composed by Manos Hadjidakis, and choreography by Rallou Manou. The production received its premiere in 1959. The rest of the performances were cancelled by order of Konstantinos Tsatsos, Minister to the Presidency of the Government. It was staged again in 1960 in its final form. This was the first Art Theatre production to be presented abroad, receiving the first prize in the Festival of the Nations in Paris (1962).
‘More than any other kind of poetic language, Aristophanes brings us closer to the human condition. If through tragedy we become familiar with the quality and the content of ideas of classical Greece, through comedy we gain insight on the kind of person who conceived these, bringing them to life.’ Nikos Hourmouziadis
The Birds are perhaps the first work of utopian literature.’ Stathis Dromazos
‘Comedy is often the writer’s sob, when he knows that he cannot or is not allowed to write a tragedy.’ Pavlos Matesis 

Reduced priced tickets are available for the following groups on presentation of the relevant documentation:  students, soldiers, children aged 6-17, people over 65, the unemployed, Friends of the OCC, Onassis Institute scholars.
Reduced priced tickets are also available in all zones for groups:
11-20 people: a 10% discount (bookings can be made at the Festival box office and ticket booths only)
21+ people: 20% discount (bookings can be made at the Festival box office or at the OCC: and 213 017 8036 with payment required by 12 August 2016)
Transport to and from Epidaurus on the day of the performance for just 9 €.
Tickets from the OCC box office Mon-Fri, 09:00-21:00.
Places on the coach can be booked for 9€. Packages including discounted tickets plus transport are also available for 24€ (B Zone) and 14€ (Upper tier). Payment by cash only.

Free transport is available for 50 unemployed people on presentation of their unemployment card.
Information & bookings: 213 017 8036 |

Tickets can be purchased through:
– Credit Card Bookings via the Athens and Epidaurus Festival Website No reservations are possible. Online booking is completed 1 hour and 30 minutes before the beginning of a performance. Online booking allows you to choose your seats depending on price and availability.
– The Athens and Epidaurus Festival Box Office (Monday to Friday 9:00-17:00, Saturday 9:00-15:00)
– From event venues: the box office opens two hours before the scheduled performance. Tickets for all performances and events are available during the first hour. During the last hour, only tickets for the scheduled performance are available.
– Tickets can be delivered by courier. There is a charge of 3.50 € per delivery.
– Ticket printouts can also be used.
Credit Card Telephone Booking
Telephone Booking Centre: +30 - 210 32 72 000 | Monday to Sunday 9:00-21:00
Telephone booking is available until 1 hour and 30 minutes before the beginning of a performance.
On the day of a performance, telephone booking is available until 14:00.
Tickets can be collected from the Festival’s Box Office, or event venues. They can also be delivered by courier. There is a charge of 3.50 € per delivery.
Main Box Office
39 Panepistimiou Str. (inside Pesmazoglou Arcade)
Monday to Friday 9:00-17:00 and Saturday 9:00-15:00
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