The New York Premiere of Andreas Flourakis play and its successful run at The New York International Fringe Festival.
On Saturday October 27th, I was fortunate enough to attend the closing performance of I WANT A COUNTRY, and follow a group of individuals search for a new & improved country. The play written by Greek celebrated Playwright Andreas Flourakis in a new translation by Eleni Drivas, address’s timely topics such as immigration, race, financial security, human rights, and living in a country that cares about its citizens and doesn’t discriminate. The New York Premiere at The New York International Fringe Festival had a run of four performances between October 20 – 27. The production was directed by Lyto Triantafyllidou and produced by HDGP Productions and The Greek Cultural Center with Eleni Drivas serving as lead producer.
Written in 2013 in an unconventional chorus inspired structure, I Want a Country advocates for social change, when a group of disillusioned individuals embark on a search for a “new” and “improved” country. But is this a search for a new country or a game of rhetoric? Can they create a ¨perfect” country? Can a society reinvent itself? Or will the ideal country remain a utopia?
I Want A Country, is a theater performance where the characters have lost their country – in a geographical and/or ideological way. Believing there is no escape from their current state, they map their time ahead declaring a New Country. Their inability of reaching a consensus on a variety of issues begs the questions: Have we reached a political turning point? Can democracy be enough?
Like a bare canvas before the manifestation of a masterpiece, the stage was full of opportunities and Lyto Triantafyllidou with her cast creatively used it as a beautiful vehicle to dive and sail into the world of Flourakis “I want a country”. The diversity of the cast was an extraordinary smart call that only helped to turn Flourakis’ Greek play, into a universal cry out.
The very talented cast of eight featured: Jessy Donn (Sophomore NYU Gallatin), Joy Donze (13 and Not Pregnant – Winner Best Comedy/United Solo 2017), Sarah Folkins (Cosi Fan Tutte/The Metropolitan Opera), Alexandra Gellner (Julius Caesar/The Brick), Lamin Leroy Gibba (Dust to Dust/FringeNYC 2016), Kevin Gonzalez (Your Ad Here/Web Series), Olivia Konteatis (Fun Home/NYU Tisch), and Simon Winheld (Pete Rex/59E59).
I Want a Country was first produced in June 2013 at Royal Court Theatre, Upstairs (London). Other notable performances include the production of the play at Athens and Epidaurus Festival (2015). Since then, I Want a Country has been produced in different festivals and platforms in Greece, Europe and the United States. Its New York Premier is produced by HDGP productions, a newly founded company with the purpose of producing transnational work, bridging the cultural gap between the continents. HDGP mission is to develop and bring historically charged and socially relevant writing to the stage and to a multicultural audience.
Andreas Flourakis is considered one of the most innovative voices in the Greek theatre scene and part of a new generation of playwrights born in the 1969 in Athens. Flourakis participated in the Royal Court International Residency in 2001, served as visiting professor on Playwriting at The University of Kansas and several institutions in Greece as well. Honors include
A beautiful post show message from the producer and translator of I Want A Country, Eleni Drivas:
“We had our last performance of I Want a Country at the New York International Fringe Festival on Saturday Oct. 27th. This production was truly a labor of love and I am beyond grateful to have had such a dedicated group of people involved in making it happen. THANK YOU to Andreas Flourakis for being so generous with his profoundly relevant and thought-provoking script. THANK YOU to Lyto Triantafyllidou, our phenomenal director, whom I have known and have been fortunate to have worked with the past few years. THANK YOU to our exceptionally talented cast: Jessy Donn, Joy Donze, Sarah Folkins, Alexandra Gellner, Lamin Leroy Gibba, Kevin Gonzalez, Olivia Konteatis, Simon Winheld. You all truly amaze me, and we couldn’t have had a better cast bring the text of I Want a Country to life. THANK YOU to Elizabeth Weber, our wonderful stage manager whom we couldn’t have done without, and to Matt Weber for his amazing photos. THANK YOU to our incredible sound designer Evdoxia Ragkou and Wyatt Moniz our light designer. THANK YOU to Andrea Alton PR. THANK YOU to our sponsors for their generosity and faith in this production. THANK YOU to friends and family who supported this project and helped in any way they could.”
Director Lyto Triantafyllidou and Translator Eleni Drivas post their sold out show with Phyto Stratis.