The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the self-proclaimed “greatest platform for creative freedom in the world” – spanning 25 days and hosting thousands of performances in over 300 venues across the city – will this year host a partly Cypriot production.
Expendable Chapters, directed by 23-year-old Seta Astreou Karides, with a cast made up of Sofia Ioannou, Giorgos Orfanoudakis, Ioanna Apostolopoulou and Seta herself, will be performed between August 13 and 18. The four actors make up the Frair Theatre Group, which is based in Athens; Astreou Karides is a Cypriot, while the others are Greeks. The group has received support from the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture.
Borrowing its title from Argentine writer Julio Cortazar, Expendable Chapters, according to the group, is a constant search for the right words, albeit with the understanding that the quest is impossible. The four actors will engage with literary texts and photographs evoking fragments of the urban landscape. Stories intertwine with photos, crafting a journey into fleeting everyday moments.
The members of the group met at the Attiko School of Ancient Greek Drama in Elefsina and were drawn together by their common understanding “of what theatre is or should be” and the need to work with and learn from each other. “We all come from different backgrounds but our common love of literature and the need to interact with literary texts, finding ways of reading, interacting and researching, brought us together. Frair in Greek is the word for a well from which water – or creativity – springs.
“Our performance is very local and engages with landscapes and atmospheres which we encounter in everyday life,” says Astreou Karides. “We all live in Athens. For each of us it is different. Our different perceptions of Athens came together to form our performance. Most of the discussions that led to the idea of forming the group and devising the piece came from our actual walks around the city”. As a result, they say, walking itself became a significant part of the performance.
Standing out from the crowd at such an enormous event will surely be difficult. Still, as they say, you have to start somewhere – and there are certainly worse starting-points than the Edinburgh Fringe for a young actor. Hopefully it can lead to a new, non-expendable chapter.
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