Hello again, Kickstarter supporters,
I've wanted to update you on Echodrama for some time now, hoping I would have concrete news to report, but it seems that any news comes with a rather significant caveat. If you've been following the headlines, you know today marks an historical moment for Greeks and Greece. The decision to default on European loans, as we have already seen, comes at a great cost to the Greek people first and foremost.
This is not the place for that discussion, but I can't ignore the impact of the crisis on Echodrama.
Since my last post, I have received positive feedback from most agents and venues I have spoken with but no one can overlook the shadow of uncertainty that comes with bringing a company from Greece to tour in the U.S. Two producers in particular have told me that if I can get them here, they will guarantee them performances. But I can't get them here. Today Echodrama is in no position to put up the thousands of dollars, or euro (or drachma, if it comes to that) to transport a 12-14 person company internationally. Will that always be the case? Perhaps. Their future in this ongoing crisis cannot be known.
But I can tell you what I do know, and it's not all bad news.
Echodrama's production of "Rhei" was to be presented on several of the Greek islands this summer. Each municipality budgeted for cultural events for visiting tourists, but there is no knowing if these funds will still be available. In addition, the grant that Echodrama applied for through the European Union was returned to them for modifications and resubmission. If Greece leaves the EU, I can only assume that those funds, even if granted, would be withdrawn. The ambitious grant proposal is to present an International Dance Festival on the island of Skiathos, featuring Echodrama and companies from Europe, including Akram Kahn from the UK. As of now, those plans are on hold.
Earlier this month, I asked Yannis to give me an update on their new productions:
ECHODRAMA is in the process of creating not one, but two new shows! The two new shows will also combine contemporary dance with original music and video projections, as in the succesful shows "The Cave" and "Rhei".
The first show is a dance-theater performance called “Eros-Hero”, based on a Greek novel of the same title by Alexandros Papadiamandis, the same author on whose novel “The Murderess” the first performance of ECHODRAMA was based. It will be a performance combining traditional and modern elements. There will be some minimal narration (with English supertitles as an integral part of the projections) not only to help the audience follow the story, but mostly to enable the audience to be exposed to Papadiamandis’ particular language. The dramaturgy and the music have been completed and the choreographies are in the process of being created.
The second show is a dance-theater performance with the temporary title “Freedom’s Shadow”. Through contemporary dance, original music, some minimal narration and projections, it will address the issue of freedom and the consequences of its absence or misuse, like the mass psychology of fascism that led to WWII and the Holocaust (2015 is the 70th Anniversary of the end of WWII.) The dramaturgy and the music are in the process of being created, in close cooperation with the choreographers.
It is unknown what the impact of the crisis will be on these shows and on the individuals within the company. Lack of employment may force dancers to look abroad for work. Yannis' daughter, Phaedra, has been dancing professionally in Germany for an opera company and a contemporary dance company for several years now. It's not impossible to imagine other Echodrama members making that transition as well as the situation worsens. I ask that you keep them and their families in your thoughts in the coming weeks.
But I did promise you good news.
Last month, Daniela, Yannis' eldest daughter and the lead choreographer of the company, married her long-time boyfriend, Renos, in a beautiful outdoor ceremony. The father of the bride, on a borrowed guitar, surprised her with a song he wrote about the passage of time and how quickly she grew up. I wish I had the translation for you, but it's adorable and touching and even made the groom tear up... so, on this last hopeful note for the future, I thought I'd share it with you.
I'll keep you updated as time progresses. I have to admit that the chance of seeing an Echodrama performance here in the States this year or the next is unlikely, but it will happen. Until then we wish you a wonderful summer and thank you again for your support.
Dena Paponis Dahilig