Evangelos Kosmidis – Alaska
Dakh Theatre – Centre of Contemporary Arts (Ukraine)
Alaska, by Greek stage director and author Evangelos Kosmidis, is a play and work in progress performance created as part of Dakh Theatre/Gogolfest’s Marathon of International Residencies in Mariupol (Ukraine) in 2021. While the play’s idea originated in Greece, it is only after arriving in Mariupol that the author managed to realise it, through research, interviews and devising work with his actors, members of the first theatre school-studio of Mariupol. While written before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Mariupol has been a city marked by war, near the front zone since 2014.
The play includes real thoughts and comments from the children and teenagers who faced the war, who went through all the horror, the children who lost their relatives and lost the opportunity to see them. Their monologues about love, friendship, loneliness, war… are combined with texts by Roland Bart, John Green, Sibylle Berg, Elise Wilk, Jorge Bucay, Maria Polidouri, Kostas Kariotakis, Pinelopi Delta and Evangelos Kosmidis himself. The author adds: “Alaska can be a message of peace and a warning to the world”.
The ETC Drama Committee especially enjoyed the rhythm of a “vibrant, organic and heartfelt” play, and praised the mixture of fiction and documentary, made unquestionably more relevant and burning by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and the horrific siege of the city Mariupol – a truly European theatre text as a powerful answer to a theatre being bombed while being used as shelter by its local community.
Simona Hamer – Everything OK
Slovensko Narodno Gledalisce Nova Gorica (Slovenia)
Everything OK, by Slovenian playwright Simona Hamer, completes the selection. In this play, Simona Hamer explores the topics of (un)employment, (im)migration, discrimination and racism, patriarchy, mental health, ageism, and loneliness through three intertwined storylines. The author explains: “For me, the play Everything OK is an x-ray of all the broken bones of today’s society and an invitation to recovery.”
The ETC Drama Committee commented on the play’s political dimension and praised its exploration of different figures and parts of society, especially young adults, without losing on the quality of the structure, of the writing and the language.
About the authors:
Evangelos KOSMIDIS is a Greek stage director, actor and writer, with a focus on devised theatre, documentary theatre and “theatre of the experts”. He has worked at the National Theatre of Greece, the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus, the Athens & Epidaurus Festival among others. Since 2008, as a member of the EnDynameiEnsemble, a group of artists with and without disabilities, he invented and participated in all kinds of projects and tours in Greece and Europe. His work Rendez-Vous?, which he both directed and produced, was staged at the Theseum Theatre in Athens.
Simona HAMER (1984) is an award-winning freelance playwright, writer and dramaturg based in Ljubljana (Slovenia). Hamer studied Dramaturgy and Performing Arts at the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television (University of Ljubljana) and is a recipient of the Prešeren’s University Award for her academic achievements. As a dramaturg and an author she has co-created more than forty theatre performances and radio plays, winning several awards on theatre festival in Slovenia and abroad. For her playwriting work she has been awarded with National award for best play (Postcards or Fear is hollow on the inside and empty from the outside, 2017), best libretto (Roommates, 2019) and nominated for best play (Everything OK, 2020). Her plays, adaptations and dramatizations were staged in SNG Drama Ljubljana, SNG Nova Gorica, Ljubljana Puppet Theatre, Ljubljana City Theatre, Mladinsko Theatre, Prešeren’s Theater Kranj and on Slovenian National Radio. Her plays (with theoretical studies) were published in books (Dramober 2008, Dramober 2009, The Act, Third Reading, 2011), literary magazines and scientific journals (Theater der Zeit, Literatura, Sodobnost, November, Dialogi), theatre programmes and have been translated to English, German, Serbian and Croatian language. Her plays were already presented in Germany (Neue Stücke aus Europa Wiesbadenn, Lettrétage Berlin), Austria (Dramatiker_innen Festival Graz), USA, Serbia, Croatia and Italy. Hamer is a three-time recipient of a Slovenian Book Agency Literary scholarship (2018, 2020 and 2021) and was chosen by Slovenian Ministry of Culture to be an artist in residency in New York (June-July 2014) and Berlin (January 2018).