Romáland – Once upon a time, between real and unreal
Carefree nomads? Great artists? Victims of social structures, or dangerous and delinquent? What, after all, are Roma? And what are they not? Anestis Azas and Prodromos Tsinikoris explore this in a production that walks the line between documentary and fiction about the life of Greek Roma.
Run time 85 minutes
Language Greek & Romani
Surtitles Dutch and English
Age category 16+
Dutch premiere Fri 9 Feb
Pre programma Fri 9 Feb in the ITA Salon
After talk Fri 9 Feb in the Nieuwe Foyer
Romáland – Once upon a time, between real and unreal
During the past year, the killings of two young Roma following a police pursuit occupied public opinion and mass media: Nikos Sampanis in Athens and Kostas Fragoulis in Thessaloniki. The two cases will soon be tried by the Greek justice system, and together they form two iconic events with Roma as victims, who, however, are not the only ones.
From the worker accident at the collapsed bridge in Patras to the eight-year-old Olga in Keratsini, who was trapped by a sliding factory gate and died helpless, monstrous incidents of violence and indifference reveal that the Roma lives in Greece are often treated as ‘lives not worth living.’* Concurrently and in direct contrast with the actual incidents of racial violence, the public imaginary is keen to see Roma people as blithesome entertainers, children of nature who live outside norms and rules. However, is there such a vast difference between Roma and ‘Gadjo/Baleme’? Specifically, if we go back a few generations, we will find many men and women—among them our grandmothers and grandfathers—who didn’t even finish primary school, were married against their will, sacrificed their desires to follow their father’s profession, and even lived as wandering nomads who based their survival on constant movement. Why is it then that the lives of Roma seem so distant to us?
Following months of research from Zefyri and Aspropyrgos to Thessaloniki, Larissa, and Serres, the Romáland performance aspires to tell an inverted journey across Greece’s contemporary history through the perspective of Roma. Ascribing to the tradition of the documentary theater genre, the performance is shaped by the participation of Roma protagonists, who narrate their real stories live and aims to highlight the multiple social exclusions they face as well as their daily efforts to overcome them.
The directors Anestis Azas and Prodromos Tsinikoris return attempt to approach the lives of Greek Roma, looking back at facts, toy with stereotypes while evading romanticization.
*A phrase used by the Nazi regime to describe people it considered to have no ‘right to life.’
About Anestis Azas and Prodromos Tsinikoris
Prodromos Tsinikoris and Anestis Azas are both theatre directors and have been co-writing and co-directing their performances since 2011. They revolve around sociopolitical topics such as immigration and refugees, the rise of the far-right and the concept of Greekness, the state of homelessness and mass touristification, and the privatization of public organizations such as the Greek railways.
Their work has been presented in many international venues and festivals.
research, text, and direction Anestis Azas, Prodromos Tsinikoris
with Giorgos vilanakis, Theodosia Georgopoulou, Avraam Goutzeloudis, Angeliki Evangelopoulou, Melpo Saini
directors' assistant Avraam Goutzeloudis
music Panagiotis Manouilidis
sound design Panagiotis Manouilidis, Orestes Patsinakidis
on-stage musician Yorgos Dousos
scientific consultant George Tsitiridis
video Oliwia Twardowska
set and costumes Dido Gkogkou
photos Andreas Simopoulo
light design Eliza's Alexandropoulou
set & costume designer assistant Margarita Tzannetou
trainer performers Liana Taousiani
assistant in dramaturgy Michalis Pitidis
dramaturgy consultant Camille Louis
translation English surtitles Memi Katsoni
simultaneous surtitling Yannis Papadakis
line production Zoe Mouschi, Rena Andreadaki
Commissioned and produced by Onassis STEGI.
This performance is a co-production of Internationaal Theater Amsterdam.
The research for the performance was conducted with the help and support of the NGO “Klimaka” and the Confederation of Greek Roma “HELLAN PASSE”.
Brandhaarden is co-produced by Onassis STEGI’s Outward Turn Program.
Since 1978, the Onassis Foundation has steadily invested in the fields of Culture, Education, and Health, always with a human-centric approach to its endeavors. The Onassis Stegi in Athens, serving as the hub of the Foundation’s cultural activities, encourages the talent and energy of local and international artists to thrive and starts conversations that aim to shake and shape society. Onassis Stegi is a center of global contemporary culture that, through a series of initiatives and works, promotes dialogue about democracy, social and environmental justice, racial and gender equality, and LGBTQIA+ rights.
Brandhaarden is an international theatre festival that brings performances by remarkable theatre makers from abroad to Amsterdam. The festival offers a unique overview of one creator, house, writer, region or theme. Previous editions have spotlighted directors such as Katie Mitchell, Milo Rau and the Rimini Protokoll collective, writer Édouard Louis, the Southern European region (Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece) and city theatres such as Münchner Kammerspiele, Volksbühne Berlin and Peter Brooks Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord.
Fringe programme: Modern Myths
The fringe programme of Brandhaarden 2024 is all about Modern Myths. The word 'myth' has two meanings today. On the one hand, it denotes stories that contain a certain wisdom, and we speak with wonder about what we then call 'mythological'. On the other hand, we use the word to talk about lies and misconceptions. We invite the audience to reflect on the power of shared stories, but together will also look at how this can turn into widespread ideas that are not necessarily true and can thus further marginalise vulnerable communities.