CONSTANTINE CONSTANTOPOULOS’ THEATRE,
- Matina Moschovi, Poet - Writer
Translation: Elena Delliou
“The Screaming Silence of No’s Knife in Yes’s Wound”
Several years ago, at a moonlit roof balcony in Aristippou street, Constantine Constantopoulos, committed to writing a dramatic trilogy with the family unit at its core. The promise has been fulfilled:
Play 1: In the Name of the Mother and the Son
Play 2: Of the Son and the Saint
Play 3: The Spirit in Spirit
The last play of the trilogy consists of two parts and 29 images. Turbulent, dense—like the other two—, tense, and full of suspense, its plot revolves around the tree of life, the tree of knowledge. Its protagonists search for meaning, for cure, for a way to reconcile every dichotomy and division, every fragmentation that accompanies the trauma of existence. They strive to achieve Harmony. Besides, in Greek mythology, Harmonia is the illegitimate child of Ares and Aphrodite; the sister of Phobos [Fear.]
We are "trapped" in time and space, captives within the—sometimes suffocating—family; prisoners of past deeds, intentions, thoughts, and emotions, which intertwine to become blurry by the thoughtless imitation that we call life. Only briefly is there a crack; sickness, helplessness, loss, betrayal, and grief can make us realize how vulnerable we truly are.
The characters of the trilogy’s last play, The Spirit in Spirit—familiar from the previous two – are Thomas: a mature man and artist—actor, director and writer—, Young Thomas—his inner child—, his mother Adamantia and his sister Daphne.
The play moves beyond the conventional space-time; its time is expandable, existential, the one of dreams or nightmares, or the one of the inner passage of the transformation of trauma into miracle.
The space is the symbolic dimension where the transformation of the character brews. Beach, moon-mirror-gate, dressing-stage, home-family, a glass menagerie with "broken forms inside the mirrors / that no one can now reassemble ... images of horror on the threshold of sleep / faces intolerable from affection..."
The protagonists of Constantopoulos’ works (departing from the postmodern man whose characteristics present a paradox where self-realization coincides with the apotheosis and the simultaneous fragmentation of being) stand out in their burning need to open themselves to others. Thus, they do not stifle cries of terror, anger, and agony; they rave and convulse, they are untamed and passionate as they revolt against absurdity: Why must man suffer? Why doesn’t the internal and external war end?
The first play of the trilogy opens with the panting of a man who has been digging around a solitary tree. He has been digging the grave, the womb, the earth, the primordial vulva. This is a nightmare that comes to an end with Thomas’ invocation to the Father, and the reminder that the Earth is our ultimate cradle.
Ten years after the death of the Father—from drowning—and three after the loss of the Mother, ten white roses (planted by mother at the father’s field) will be ceremonially scattered to the water, and the protagonist will be hurled into the night, the arena-stage of life, the arena-stage of the theatre; because for the playwright every man is primarily an actor, who owes it to himself and to others to become a 'person,' to overcome complexes, passions, and decline in order to become illuminated with the grace of a lucid consciousness that holds the potential for resurrection.
In other words, in the author’s world, the existence is both a test and a performance, and the art of living is identified with living artistically. This mode of life has no need of cover-ups but of revelations; it destroys to reconstruct. Instead of someone adapting everything to their small, narcissistic ego, people should turn towards the whole, towards the other, towards an elusive unity.
The relationship with the haggard—by illness—sister (Daphne, with the gloom voice), the regression to the country of their youth, and their childhood games will unfold part of the abysmal sexual instinct, the terror of castration, of annihilation. The sister who removes the eyes of the boy-doll, sister and the knife; "will you marry me to have children? Come closer then, closer, closer. Here, can you see? Bring your head closer to take a better look, see? You must enter here.” The “here” is" the female swampland", the vulva that devours, the frightening crevice. The nightmare, "the past that is crying."
Chiozza asserts that illness is the physical manifestation of a suppressed truth that the individual does not want to acknowledge because its significance is unbearable. For the most part, the disease is a symbolic response; an unconscious attempt to change either the meaning of the story or its end.
So, is there no way out of this hell?
Is it possible?
Forgiveness is a feat, perhaps because one must trace the plight of man inside him before embracing the unfamiliar, the Other, the indecent, the repellent.
In the second play, Thomas’ inner child—Young Thomas—will be led by its adult counterpart via the dramaturgical inquisition to discover theatre’s divine purpose. Deprived of all senses—sight, taste, hearing— I will emerge at the place of the unseen and the unheard. Shattering pitiful facades, I will open the way for the third birth of the Self—since, according to Gregorious Nazianzenus we undergo three births: ... and the third birth will come through our tears and pain, which will cleanse our image from the blemish of vices, as we become our own creators and assume full responsibility. Because "it is a spiritual effort. To finally attribute the spirit in spirit"
In a personal way, Constantine Constantopoulos’ trilogy admirably transforms autobiographical material in a drama that is meaningful, bold, generous, inquisitive, and results in "aidonia” –a term attributed to the philosopher Aristippus of Cyrene, which describes a state between pleasure and pain. Because "a man can be loved for being a passage and an end."