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Turkish Cypriot star of Athens theatre

publicity shot of city lights production in greece from national theatre of greece
Izel Seylani on stage as Charlie Chaplin

The first Turkish Cypriot taking on a leading role for the national theatre of Greece is currently starring in their production of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights, reports said on Tuesday.

Izel Seylani, who also starred the award-winning Cypriot version of Waiting for Godot, plays Charlie Chaplin in the theatrical production of the film, which is both a comedy and a modern parable about social injustice and unrequited love.

It is a work that reflects the fraught period between the wars and extols a life without compromise, generosity without expectations, and love without boundaries.

Speaking to Kathimerini Cyprus to editor Apostolis Kouroupakis during an interview Athens, Seylani said that being at the National Theatre of Greece is very important to him, adding that he would have the same motivation if he played the same role in any theatre, small or large.

“We are actors, we cannot make a revolution with guns, but we can find a political and philosophical way to resist artistically,” he said.

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Commenting on how he arrived in Athens, Seylani said that he had made the contact after performing Waiting for Godot in Athens, and that following his audition for the role, he got a call saying to come to Athens.

“It’s important that I’m in Athens, and if you look at it historically, it’s something big, because in the history of the Greek theatre I’m the first Turkish Cypriot to play in a Greek production, so we break the walls through the arts. It can be an inspiration and exhortation for the new generation, but also appreciation and a reason of pride for the older generation of Turkish Cypriot artists. Artistically it was important for me because of the character I play, for society and for the Turkish Cypriot theatre community, it is important because a Turkish Cypriot actor is the star in Greece,” he said.

The production has been showing since October 25.

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