“Human to human, is all that is left from the civilization of D. Dimitriadis”“The role of Medea is a defining moment in my life”, actress Kariofillia Karabeti tells Ozon Raw. Currently taking part in “Civilization – A cosmic tragedy”, the D. Dimitriadis play that director Giannis Skourletis is guiding at the Mihalis Kakogiannis Institute. “The fact that she’s faced such a level of emotional betrayal, weighs heavily in all of us and me as a person”, she candidly states, before we make our first stop among the ruins of faith and hope and take in the need to create a new civilization which focuses on love and humanity.
Where does “Civilization” meet with Medea by Euripides?
Dimitriadis takes that myth and looks at it from another, more modern perspective, placing it in a world that refers to ancient Corinth, but also incorporates a variety of current elements and mainly focuses on the fall of the gods themselves. That focus, reveals that man is truly alone, truly desperate. The gods are no more. There is no hope, no faith and that has lead the entire world into a demented state of despair and hopelessness. Civilization has focused on the hunt for material wealth and power, choosing to turn its back on Medea and concentrate on the rationale and cynicism of Jason and the results of those choices are clear in the play by Dimitriadis. That is why through the use of Medea as portrayed in the play, we wanted to pay homage to love and passion as well as the need for a more humanitarian civilization.
“If I didn’t do such a deed, I would not be Medea”, the heroine says in the play. So is Medea a character defined by her action?
In a way, the Medea we meet in this play is placed within a vast setting that conveys a sense of destruction. It could well be what is left behind after the end of the Third World War. Medea, as seen by Giannis Skourletis and the way he asked me to play the role, retains her ancient roots in the first part of the play. It’s as if she does not know how much things have changed around her. The other four performers in the play, who play the citizens of this destroyed land, live in a favela on the outer edges of civilization and seek to awaken this ancient creature through this theatrical ritual, in the hope that she can be freed from her stagnant state. However, she assures them that “it is my destiny to kill my children”. It is a ritual repeated through the centuries. Depriving her of that, would be depriving her of her identity.
Jason separates between love and intense passion. Is there really a way to do this in your opinion?
Jason represents a sense of rationality, a cold logic, a cynical view of the world provided by a civilization that is vastly different from the one Medea comes from, which is to say that of ancient Greece. But that is what Dimitriadis is trying to say today, that he who is unable to comprehend this deep feeling, this deep sense of love, represents a crippled civilization and one that ultimately heads towards its doom. That is why Medea has no place is such a civilization and is initially exiled and ultimately killed. The dragon that appears in the end, is symbolic of nature as it punishes and takes its revenge, of human nature that cannot be uprooted.
What do you think defines you as an actress and your career so far?
I don’t like resting on my laurels, on the familiar, on the things that I know that I can do. That’s why I like working with people that take me beyond, show me new ways, like my collaboration with Eleni Skoti at Epi Kolono, Giannis Houvardas and Michael Marmarinos at the National Theatre. Now, with Bijox de Kant I’m crossing over into a more avant garde form of theatrical expression, something that truly fascinates me.
What would the motto of this play?
It’s a phrase by Aegeus, that is spoken from the very start of the play. “Maybe this is all that is left. Human to human”.
Interview Despina Ramandani Photo by Panos Michail