Greeks Bearing Gifts, an exploration of comedy, tragedy and pathos will be performed at the BIT'S Local Heroes night, September 14th.
Creator & director Alexios Venieris discusses below the joys of examining a variety of human emotions, combining the structure of Ancient Greek tragedy with modern long-form narrative improvisation.
Improv shouldn't always be a laugh riot.
There seems to be a common misconception that all improv should inherently be funny. A silent audience during an improv show sounds like an improviser's worst nightmare. In our show however, we are deeply interested in examining what makes us human. A human being isn't always funny, is she? She is complex, angry, ecstatic, envious, hopeful, treacherous, lovely. That is what we are exploring in Greeks Bearing Gifts. The hilarity and tragedy of what makes us who we are.
Embrace your darkness.
We want to be liked, and we want the audience on our side when we perform. However, I personally find nothing more liberating that inhabiting a character that is thorny, messy, acidic or just plain evil. The truth is that Ancient Greek tragedies were sexist and classist; restrictive when it came to women and minorities. We play intelligently with those tropes, subvert and embrace as necessary, making a point that things may (or may not) be as different now as they were then.
You can't always get what you want.
This is especially true in Greek tragedies. The protagonist usually falters because of their tragic flaw; an element in their personality that brings about their downfall. Each improviser onstage inhabits a character who wants a certain thing more than anything else; it is up to us to find the circumstances as to whether they get it or not (it's a tragedy, so they probably won't, and that's okay. That's life).
Alexios Venieris, Creator & Director
Local Heroes is on Friday 14th September, 8pm. Doors 7.15pm. Tickets are £7 and can be bought HERE.