The COMMEMORATION COMMITTEE OF NEA KIOS in ARGOS-MYCENAE MUNICIPALITY presents the performance “ONE STEP BACK”( “In the seabed of Smyrna”), dedicated to the 100 years since the Asia Minor Catastrophe. The performance starts off as a real testimony given to Nickos Roumpakis who transforms it into a play with his dramaturgical tools and fiction. The Cultural Association of Nea Kios then undertook the task of producing the play in collaboration with the Development Enterprise of Argos-Mycenae Municipality (KEDAM) and the Municipal Theatre Association of Nea Kios. Yiannis Sariyiannis signs the artistic direction. This performance, as part of the documentary theatre, takes place in front of the audience who, thanks to Spiros Poulos’ set design, is able to interact and intervene in the narration.
The story takes place on the last New Year’s Eve in Smyrna and is narrated by the descendant of a family. His memories from the Eve of 1922 are brought to life by narrators who turn into familiar characters. These characters left their permanent mark on his life as he passed from Smyrna to Mytilene to survive , he lost all his beloved family members and his first love, leaving them in the seabed of Smyrna along with hundreds of lifeless bodies of Greeks.
The joy, the sadness and the pain of uprooting, the loss but also the survival, the new beginning and the settlement create a “mosaic” of emotions. Characters’ emotions are passionately expressed through the original soundtrack by Op3 and the voices and melodies of Marios Karachalios and Rania Koutrouli, accompanied by the sounds of psaltery and percussion. Marilena Liagkri’s choreographies resurrect Manolios’ dead relatives, transforming the narrators into existing characters who sing, dance and co-exist with him. Dimitris Papadopoulos’ and WhiteDogFilms’ videos and editing create an even more emotionally powerful atmosphere during the whole performance and especially during the persecution of the refugees. The narrators are dressed and “undressed” in costumes designed by Takis Kokkinopoulos, the members of the Cultural Association and constructed by Nektaria Spinopoulou. Nickos Roumpakis has edited the graphics as well as the teasers of the performance. Kostas Iliopoulos and Kostas Tsevopoulos took care of the lighting and sound design of this performance respectively.
The testimony is dramatically recorded by the journalist-reporter, who introduces the audience to Manolios’ story, making the viewers partakers in emotionally powerful moments of life in Smyrna and at the same time observers of historical documents. Through a constant battle between distancing and personal involvement, the narrators recount real events and recapture the wounds of the characters at once. This alteration, from narration to presentation of Manolios’ memories and the uprooting, gradually leads to the acceptance of a new life and the settlement in a new place with the only defense being the dreams and the memories for consolation and catharsis. The man who survived the Burning of Smyrna recalls all the memories he keeps in his dreams to keep alive his loved ones, his own roots and his identity
We are all grateful for all of you who honor us and support us in our visions and efforts with your presence and your beautiful energy. We are looking forward to seeing you in this performance-testimony and to take one step back, one hundred years later in memory of our ancestors.
Written by Nickos Roumpakis
Directed by Yiannis Sariyiannis
Art direction: Yiannis Sariyiannis
Set design: Spiros Poulos
Movement: Marilena Liagkri, Rania Koutrouli
Musicians on stage: Rania Koutrouli, Marios Karachalios
Music by Op3
Costume design: Takis Kokkinopoulos
Video art-Editing: Dimitris Papadopoulos- WHITEDOGFILMS
Lighting design: Kostas Iliopoulos
Sound design: Kostas Tsevopoulos
Recorded text: Eva Giagiozi
Set construction: Achilleas Mpantanas
Costume construction: Nektaria Spinopoulou
Photos: Lina Moutafi
Graphic design-teasers: Nickos Roumpakis
Cast (in alphabetical order):
Garifalia Chatzikonstantinou: Manolios’ Mother
Marios Karachalios: Musician
Stelios Katriliotis: Photographer
Eleni Konomara: Grandmother Fofo
Rania Koutrouli: Antigone
Elena Miltiadakou: Areti
Achilleas Mpantanas: Manolios
Spiros Poulos: Manolios
Alexia Sariyianni: Kleio