|Tina Stefanopoulou is an actress (graduate of the School
of Dramatic Arts of the Northern Greece State Theatre -1983). For the last
six years she also teaches drama and directs plays (performed by amateur
or professional theatre groups). She has also translated a number of novels
(mainly English) that have been published and a mumber of plays (English
and Italian) some of which have been performed by professional theatre groups.
NEMESIS is a theatre group formed by Tina Stefanopoulou in 1995. Its members are women, graduates of a 3year theatre workshop, where Tina Stefanopoulou was one of the teachers.
The initial idea was to work (mainly by improvisation) on the psychological portraits of the female characters of the Greek tragedy, seen not as "tragic figures", but as archetypes of female identity and behaviour. After a while the improvisation was focused on the characters of Alcestis (the archetypal model of the ideal wife [and mother, we could say]), of Clytemnestra, of Helena, of Electra, of Iphigeneia and of Antigone.
The other pivotal point of our study (and improvisation) was the types of relation mother- daughter and older sister-younger sister, as revealed both in the Greek tragedy and in the modern family nucleus.
At a certain point of our study, we saw that we had the material to create a new play based on this concept, that is, a kind of a "family psychodrama", where the characters are all these women.
The next step was the setting of the play and the forming of the plot.
The main idea is how a family reunion is turned by an unexpected event (the mother suddenly stops comunicating) into a self revealing ordeal for all the participants. The complicated and ambivalent feelings between family members are brought to light because of this silence that plays the catalyst for a series of sentimental "reactions".
The analogies between the relationships of the characters in the Greek tragedy and the relationships of the characters in this new play are maintained. Naturally the objective was to create realistic characters, relationships and situations, the understanding of which does not require the knowledge of the Greek tragedy. That is the reason we did not use all the names of the original characters, but prefered to maintain only the name of Alcestis, of Helena (which is still very common in modern Greece) and used as "hints" the initial letter of the other names (Clio-Clytemnestra, Alexandra-Antigone. The names of Electra- Hero, and Iphigeneia- Julia lose this hint in the translation because of the different spelling).
The plot was first conceived, then tested in a series of improvisations, and finally the text was written by Tina Stefanopoulou witn the occasional help of some group members.
In conclusion we can say that this play was conceived, elaborated and written during a continuous rehearsal by people who work for the theatre and not by professional playwrights. As a method of creating a new play, I think that is ideal for groups that have established a mode of comunication, a theatre "idiom", and, therefore, can produce new plays beginning with the "acting" and not the "writing" part of the creation.