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The online play at the fringe this year was called ‘Champions’ by Himerandit Productions for #Danish Digital and performed by Andreas Constantinou who is Greek actor. The scene we were met with was Andreas breathing before his show in his own ritual; he sat with two pictures of a man and a woman. We spent a prolonged moment with him doing this until a knock came on the door for curtains up.
He proceeded out of the door through a scaffold basement and found his way to the stage. The large venue was set with traditional sloping seats with the iconic positioning of the large stage. Set with mid twentieth century furnishings of a TV, a luxurious chair, a gramophone all of which he would tinker with for self explanatory reasons.
He took up his position at ground level to inform us of the purpose and meaning of his play that he has not performed since before lock down. We found out to ours and his dismay that he lost both his parents during the 2020 pandemic one of whom died having contracted Covid. As we were thinking ‘poor guy’ he finished his lightly dressed introduction by stripping his clothes off and sitting on the chair naked.
The levels of detail that was covered by this experimental plot, were all vividly striking in the light and colour changes, the distances between props. The room looked like something remote, cut off yet completely normal. He waved a hand to our deepest yet simple senses that can experience and create that have both darkness and light.
As the play went on around him he sat still on his chair neither moving nor speaking a word but with a highly relaxed persona that came through with a very controlled and complete action of stillness in the play. His story was of a recorded tape of him, his mother and his father all with a therapist. When we heard him converse with her his troubles began to be revealed.
All he spoke of about his mother and father was his loss and the fact that he had not played this tape so hadn’t heard their voices within the live component of the interview all about being gay and in love with men. His father strongly disapproved but his mother was much easier. As he sat on the chair omitting his relaxed persona the backing of the stage turned into a projector screen that was to convey repetitive footage including a long struggling wrestling match that moved from sea to field.
That story unravelled and still totally unobtrusively and in fact reeled us right into his sore heart, he smiled and seemed to find contention in his still expression. It was almost like magic as the play came together from the huge lessons he has endured in his fragile lifetime. We sat with him and we wanted to talk with his and console him.
But in his transcendent appearance as a performer on a chair his work had come together in a well thought out show and tell, exploration of and intuitive colouring of how his soul works when he simply moves back and is loved again by his lost parents. From listening to this four way conversation we could tell that even in a hurricane there is still love. In the end he forgave his father and his father forgave him, the hour finished with footage of his father’s funeral.
And in his final Eulogy in the church we came to realise that was the purpose of this play from a darling actor who allowed us to feel and think with dialogue, to escape into the scenes of wrestling, water, fields was to fulfil a Eulogy in the highest purpose and with the greatest of taste. As he was sad he sat, as he angered he sat, and as he smiled (with greatness) he sat, so thanks for sitting with us and allowing us to look into your mind and life. So personal, so real, so naked, so much like a champion.