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A tea ceremony like no other

A different kind of tea ceremony comes to the THOC stage this week as Cypriot actor Marios Ioannou takes on a unique performance directed by Achim Wieland. The play, which will be presented in English, is developed around the ancient tradition of the tea ceremony, and will see a Geisha invite the theatre audience to an evening of comfort and delight, wealth and luxury, appearance and well-being.

During the monologue, the Tea Host begins to question her role as ‘entertainer’ operating in a system based on capitalism, consummation and ownership. Well-trained as a performer and ‘servant’, the Geisha challenges not only her own role but the audiences’ motivation as well, in which it fulfils its needs at the expense of increasing exploitation of the world’s resources and the suffering of others.

Geisha, as an icon of beauty and well-trained to seduce her customers through movement, song and dance, leads the audience on a journey of modern-day abuse, child labour, human trafficking, torture and slavery and ultimately “the high price we pay for our joy and greed”.

Through devised script, found text, socio-political and personal material adopted from everydayness and the media, Tea Ceremony intends to carry the world that is happening outside onto the stage into that fresh and voluminous space which the performance effectively provides.

Friday and Saturday’s shows won’t be the first time the Tea Ceremony has been presented in Cyprus. It premiered at the Rialto Theatre for two presentations in May 2018 and now it returns for two more shows.

Its director Achim Wieland produces work that shifts between the Visual Arts, Stage Performance and Writing. He is a founding member of the recently established performance collective SRSLYyours. The ensemble is a group of international performers, writers, visual artists and dramaturges based in Cyprus, Germany, Sweden, Greece and Switzerland and devoted to an inclusive and non-hierarchical content development process around socio-political themes.

Wieland has had many titles in his career. In 2016-17 he was the Artistic Director for the project Uniting the Mediterranean Sea, commissioned by the Cultural Capital of Europe/Pafos. Besides the performances at THOC, he’s also touring with Egoland and is the Artistic Director of the Buffer-Fringe Festival of Performing Arts Cyprus.

The actor taking on the performance in question has been on the theatre and film scene for years both on a local and an international level. Ioannou has participated in productions across Cyprus, Germany, Greece and London among others. In 2002 he won the Best Actor Award at the Thessaloniki Film Festival for his lead in Kalabush and in 2012 received an Honorary Mention for outstanding performance for his lead in Fish ‘n Chips, that won third prize at the 2012 Toronto Film festival. Now, he is transforming into a Geisha to share powerful stories with the Cyprus audience.

Tea Ceremony
Unique performance directed by Achim Wieland and performed by actor Marios Ioannou. The play revolves around the ancient tradition of the Tea Ceremony, in which a Geisha invites the theatre audience to an evening of comfort and delight, wealth and luxury, appearance and well-being. May 17-18. THOC Theatre, Nicosia. 9pm. In English. €15. Tel: 7777-2717

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