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The shows go on

By Maria Gregoriou

We used to wait for international actors, singers and general entertainers to come to us for a performance, but now things have changed and we can, in a way, go straight to them. There are no magic carpets involved, just a technological upgrade and a portal that can take us straight to other cities, in other countries where a performance is being staged live. The portal this time is the Rialto Theatre and K Cineplex in Nicosia and Paphos, and the performance is a screening of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot, which will be broadcast live from the New York Metropolitan Opera on Saturday at 7.55pm.

All these advances, using high definition pictures to get us closer to cultural events that may be happening thousands of miles away, are certainly exciting – but let’s also make it clear, while we’re introducing today’s featured events, that the high-tech advances don’t take away from the up-close-and-personal experience of watching performers put on a show right there in front of us. One such performance, Turandot, will have its premiere tomorrow at Theatro Ena in Limassol.

Turandot, the story, is set in Beijing in mythical times. The word Turandot comes from the Persian Turandokht, meaning daughter, and the character Turandot is a princess who has promised herself that a man will never dominate her.

In a crowded quarter near the Forbidden City, it is announced that any prince wanting to marry Princess Turandot will first need to answer three riddles. Ready to take the test and determined to make the princess his bride, Prince Calaf signs up to be part of what may be called a contest.

Calaf passes the test, but Turandot still refuses to marry him. Calaf, believing love will win in the end, gives her one possible escape: if she can learn his name before sunrise, then he will die at dawn.

The best-known part of the score is undoubtedly ‘Nessun Dorma’, a final-act aria made famous by Luciano Pavarotti. Turandot’s final scene was finished by composer Franco Alfano after Puccini’s death.

Moving on to a live performance, Fat Men in Skirts. The title may remind you of the 2009 entry to Britain’s Got Talent Stavros Fatley who got dressed up in a Greek foustanela (skirt) and put on a humorous dance show together with his son, but it is really nothing of the sort.

Yes, the play by Christos Nikolaou may be somewhat of a dark comedy, or a hilarious comedy as the press release puts it, and there may be lots of lipsticks and shoes involved but there is much more behind the funny title.

Fat Men in Skirts, directed by the author, chronicles the darkly humorous and tragic breakdown of the Hogan family.

Although you wouldn’t think an opening scene to do with a plane crash will get you rolling in the aisles, it is a beginning that unravels some dark family secrets.

On the plane were Phyllis Hogan and her 11-year-old son Bishop, who are now stranded on a deserted island. As mother and son struggle to survive, patriarch Howard Hogan is having a great old time back home with porn-star mistress Pam.

When the family do manage to reunite the four characters clash, with disastrous results.

Turandot
Screening of the opera. January 30. K Cineplex Nicosia and Paphos. 7.55pm. €18/13. Tel: 24-819022

Theatre Rialto, Limassol. 7.55pm. €18/13. With Greek and English subtitles. Tel: 77-777745

Fat Men in Skirts
Performance of the play by Nicky Silver. January 29 until February 14. Vladimiros Kafkarides Cultural Centre, 11 – 15 Vladimiros Kafkarides Street, Aglantzia, Nicosia. 8.30pm. €15/12. In Greek. Tel: 96-211590

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