She was born in Salonika and started her grand journey in the world of theatre at age 21. She went from “Shakespeare to Ravenhill in one breath” and the National Theatre of Northern Greece, where she studied and graduated in 2008, to the career defining role of Anne Frank, at the Anesis theatre. We are of course talking about Efi Gousi.
She might have struggled in pursuit of her dreams, but she has done so, while keeping hold of an impressive array of collaborations (A. Voutsinas, N. Tsakiroglou, P. Michailidis, P. Choursoglou, K. Gerardos, A. Benet), both on film and on stage. Ozon Raw meets up with her during a highly creative time in her life, as she is busy both as an actor and the director of “Cleansed”, the Sarah Kane play that opens in a few days at the Simio theatre. She is also credited with the French speaking short film « La nuance bleue du profond rouge», which made quite an impression at the 7th TiSFF and is also involved in “Skin Possession”, a fashion film that one can catch until 28/2 at the ROOMS 2014 exhibition, as well as the ΣΟΜΦ video project for their upcoming winter collection.
How did you begin your adventure in showbusiness?
It’s that voice inside you that you eventually give in to. I took the exams for the National Theatre of Northern Greece at 21 and then went from Shakespeare to Ravenhill in one breath.
Did you move to Athens because of the National theatre?
I came to Athens because I was looking for someting else. Salonika is a city that one can feel very trapped in.
What corner of the city do you love the most and what do you miss most about Salonika?
I like every part of it that makes me forget I’m in a city. I like the walk around Filopapou hill. What I miss most about Salonika is the horizon, the sea.
Talk us through Sarah Kane’s “Cleansed”, a play that you are directing as well as playing in.
Cleansed is Kane’s only text where we find hope being conveyed. There is still light to be found and I want to focus on that. Kane writes about violence, for sure, but she also writes about love.
Who is Grace, the woman that you play?
To explain Grace, I have to explain Tinker. What we have is a modern day doctor Mengele, a man that leads souls to their breaking point, who is against love, that tests their limits when it comes to love. Grace is a woman that comes forward and defeats him, as she breaks his heart.
Did you change the timeframe and setting of the play?
The time and space are undefined in her text and we have kept it that way. It could anywhere, at any time.
Can we expect your directorial approach to be in the context of in your face theatre?
No, it very much follows a pattern. All of the play’s action takes place on a playing field sort of platform. All the characters are on stage throughout the entire play.
What’s “La nuance bleue du profound rouge” and how do you feel after its showing at the 7th Short Film Festival of Salonika?
It’s the internal monologue of a girl who is dying. I like the melody of the French language, so it tied in well with the imagery. I took great joy from the film’s showing and it gave me strength to carry on.
“Being in love is like being in Auschwitz” (Roland Barthes): It is said that Kane wrote her play after reading this particular quote. What’s your take on it?
Within this phrase we’re talking about the lost lover and this phrase is at the very heart of Cleansed. Love is of vital importance to me. I would compare it to a flower. As long as you take care of it, it gives your life a sense of beauty.
Interview Despina Ramandani Photo by Yiorgos Mavropoulos