Attiko School of Ancient Greek Drama 2013-2014: AJAX by Sophocles
attikodrama 2014 Small

This year's research concerns the integrated presentation of the work Ajax by Sophocles and focuses on the relation of the ancient drama with the Greek popular theatre, the popular shadow theatre and the popular activities and traditions.
For this purpose, during the 9month program, seminars are scheduled with the following themes:

the actor in the service of figure/ the body in the service of formthe construction of a figure – rolethe tragic nature of the popular shadow theatre and the popular nature of the ancient tragedythe progress from written speech to free associationthe physical hero and the thinking man

In 2006 the theatre company Dromos me Dentra in cooperation with the Research and Practical Application Centre of Ancient Greek Drama “Desmoi” realized a theatre seminar under the titleAjax- The ancient drama through the shadow theatre. The result of this seminar project was an open rehearsal of Ajax in May 2006 in Kratiras Cultural Space. The completed version of the performance was presented as a work in progress in the Greek National Theatre in the period 2007-08.

The shadow theatre
The shadow theatre is the only token of popular theatre that has survived up to now in our country and our connection to the heroic theatre of older times. It has presented heroic figures of the ancient times (Theseus, Hercules, Alexander the Great, Antiochus, Oedipus) in an exceptionally functional manner, while it constitutes one of the most interesting ways to approach a mythic hero. Although its characters are extravagant in their expressions and naïve in their appearance, they convey the spirituality and the mystery of an older world, while through the ethics and the humility of this theatrical kind, the connection to the myth, which is the foundation of the ancient tragedy, is accomplished.

Ajax as a figure
In the performance Ajax appears as a shadow theatre supernatural figure, inspired by the depictions of the hero in the ancient Greek pottery painting. We were led to this choice not only by the figure of Ajax itself as presented in the text of Sophocles (a figure that is incomrehensible, one- dimensional and uncompromising, fighting with its darkness and the solitude of its fate), but also by the significance of the shadow in the text, a repeated pattern, almost an obsession of the writer:
Odysseus: (…) I see that in our lives we are no more than phantoms, insubstantial shadows...
Agamemnon: (…) For a man no longer living, that has become a shadow…
Tecmessa: (…) and he was speaking with a shadow about the sons of Atreus…
Whoever listens to Ajax is not able to understand him, as a human in flesh and blood is not able to understand a paper puppet longing for a place within the living world.


Like the previous year, the International Ancient Drama School will take place from the 1st to the 10th of July 2014 in the Old Oilmill of the Municipality of Eleusis, in Greece. It is intended for 40-50 students over 18 years of age from Greece and abroad and it will include:

60 hours of classes 13 hours of masterclasses7 experimental performances of the 7 tragedies by Sophocles2 speeches- lectures3 two hour projections1 educational excursion (Eleusis)1 welcome lunch1 farewell ceremony for the award of the certificates of attendance

The teachers of the Ancient Drama Summer School will be the following:

Akyllas Karazisis, Manuel Ronda, Ioanna Remediaki, Martha Frintzila, Camilo Betancor, Savina Giannatou, Rootlessroot (Linda Kapetanea -Jozef Frucek), Manya Maratou, Athos Danellis, Nikoletta Frintzila

Rootlessroot ”Fighting monkey”
Under the 'mother ship' of RootlessRoot, exists a 'deeply rooted' extension known by the name of ‘Fighting Monkey Practice’.
This research reconnects with the most essential principles that give birth, nourish and restore forgotten movement patterns and mobility; accessing a powerful potential of simple human motion. They journey with integrity examining and testing limits via practical experience using difficulty and danger to develop strength, adaptability and softness.
Practice will include as well “form of opening of 9 circles” called also “father form”. Jozef got direct permision to teach this form from Master Dr. Ming Wong from whom he is learning now for over 14 years internal martial arts.
"Father" is distinguished by circular movements, doing wonders to our joints, loosening them ( in the form "Nine Heavens") by stimulating Ki stream circulation from its stagnation points in more or less subtle nooks of out body. The movement originates from legs, the darkest and most distant from eyes part of human body, and slowly rises to connect in the tips of our fingers, the brightest and most visible part of human body. The "Father Forms" is also referred to by the name "Heaven" ( the nine main joints in human body are called "Nine Heavens") and "Time". The idea of time is not easy to grasp with our mind only, but practicing of "Father" form enables proper entering into "time" and leaving it with our body in its three basic elements: physical body ( Pig), energy (horse) and mind ( Monkey). The "Father" form is often considered as boring, the movements the same, not beautiful and seemingly unimportant, while in reality it is the fundamental Tai Ki Kung practice. The dullness experienced sometimes is a measure of time. During practice one hour may seem like a long time or almost unnoticalble time, depending on circumstances.
Excerpt from Interview with Master Ming Wong C.Y. conducted by Gaetano Ruvolo
Linda and Jozef engage in dynamic experimentation with movement practitioners of various disciplines to examine human behavior and motion in context of environment in which human evolves and develops.
Discovering movement efficiency patterns and basic human motor skills that are appearing across diverse movement disciplines assist Linda and Jozef in designing irregular training methods; cultivating a self-organized, adaptive system that provokes more creative variability to challenging situations.
-For the workshop it is needed outdoor shoes and knee protections.

Ioanna Remediaki “Antigone Chorus”
“Wonders are many”. The second chorus piece of Sophocles' Antigone focuses on the mankind. Its relation to nature, the city and to itself. Let's talk about the mankind then, in political terms, as tragedy always does. Let's see what this collective voice, the Chorus, means, as the root/ centre of theatre. The shared moment.
Eleusis (solemn or smiling?) is a place that almost provokes us to work on this chorus piece, on this possibility. Inside and outside ourselves, inside and outside theatre.
The seminar will be carried out partly outdoors.
It will be also partly theoretical (a small part of it though), in order for us to reflect a little on the relationship between (ancient) theatre and democracy.
It is not intended exclusively for actors (but exclusively for citizens).

Manya Matatou “Walking with heroes, talking to Gods”
We will elaborate on the mythology of the Trojan Cycle, so that we can compose our own stories, we will explore the oral speech and experiment by implementing narrative techniques.

Athos Danellis “Actor and his Shadow”
The actor in the service of figure.
Construction of a figure- role.
The students will be introduced to the shadow theatre, they will create the Shadow of their role and will be asked to serve it.
This workshop is free of charge for the Summer School students.

Martha Frintzila “What is god, or what is not god, or what is in between...”
The presence of god in the ancient drama.
How do we express what we don' t know, what we are unable to understand on stage.
The students of the workshop are requested to memorize a tragic monologue of a god (or an excerpt) from any tragedy they like.

Nicoletta Frintzila "In the words of Aeschylus..."
Workshop on text translation in the Greek language. Modern interpretations on the language of lyric and tragic poets
This Workshop is free for the Summer School students.

Akylas Karazisis "Workshop"
Every person has the right to the theatrical experience.
Every person’s special way needs to be respected.

Savina Yannatou “The Voice as a Phenomenon”
Outside the predefined standards and codes of speech and singing Savina Yiannatou introduces the voice as a phenomenon. Through group improvisations and without using any sheet music, students explore their inner voice and follow it to its source. The voice expands and shrinks, it gets gigantic, it balances and dances without boundaries. The workshop explores the voice and its mysteries targeting at a voice transcendent experience.

Manuel Ronda “Shadow Partnering”
When we begin tapping into the fundamental resources within each body, we start to re-discover our natural instinct in movement, movement which comes naturally, expressing a wide range of emotions and desires. Movement conceived as a necessity, as a theatrical act, rather than a form.
We will work to discover the many layers involved in partnerwork situations like depending on another body, trusting it, controlling and caring for it, giving and receiving impulses, how to approach an outside body.
Directing weight, learning how to make good use of it, going around it.
Being the shadow of one an other.
Being there.
Being there and weighing 100 tons.
Travelling without moving.
Fighting without fighting.
This contemporary dance workshop is open to actors, dancers and circus people who are interested in voice/movement & partnerwork.

Camilo Bentancor Gallardo “Actor Ex Machina”
This is a workshop on the actor’s body which is pushed to the edge of physical action. Acrobat-aerialist and choreographer Camilo Bentancor, teaches the functions of the body when the actor needs to appear in extreme physical conditions on stage. It is a workshop on extreme acting. It includes first and foremost exercises to increase strength and prepare the body for physical skills. It focuses on the fluidity of movement when it comes to perform aerialist acts, circus acts performed in the air, such as a trapeze, rope hanging from a big height, cloud swing or aerial ring. It also concentrates on the many dimensions of balancing and manoeuvring the body on various aerial apparatuses.
Activities and Events of the Attiko School of Ancient Drama:

AJAX by Sophocles, Director: Martha Frintzila, Music: Vassilis Mantzoukis
ANTIGONE by Sophocles, Actor: Penelope Tsilika, Music: Costas Nikolopoulos
ELECTRA by Sophocles, Actors: Katerina Patsiani, Vivi Smeti, Music: Mihalis Panadis
OEDIPUS REX by Sophocles, Actor: Tassos Dimitropoulos, Music: Panou Manou
OEDIPUS AT COLONUS by Sophocles, Actors: Foivos Simeonidis, Aphrodite Kleovoulou, Music: Panagiotis Tsevas
TRACHINIAE by Sophocles, Actors: Michalis Panadis, Alexandra Tavoulari, Music: Vaggelis Paraskevaidis
PHILOCTETES by Sophocles, Actor: Nansy Sideri, Music: Kosmas Labidis, Stavros Roumeliotis