10 September 2011

Η ομορφάσχημη

The Ugly Beauty

Stunning, gripping performance in the Art Café annexe of the Garden of the Palace by Natalía Kapodístria.

I quote from Corfu's God-send, Whats-up-Corfu:

"Theatrical adaptation, direction, costume interpretation by Natalía Kapodístria.

The Omorfaschimi (The Ugly Beauty) ... a theatrical monologue adaptation of the eponymous literary text of Νίκος Καχτίτσης, narrated in a letter to a friend, the story of Gertrude Stern, an Austrian Jew who as a child actually lived through World War II."

ugly beauty catalogThe audience is politely seated, it is close with the two fans uselessly placed several rows back at the rear of the room, cooling only the paintings.

Ms Kapodístria enters stage left with a glittering smile, reflected in her equally burning eyes, a warning of her remarkable armoury of expressions.

She is wearing over nothing else what I call a 'war heroine' coat that looks cruelly hot for the evening - indeed, if Natalía had stood stock still it would have been warm for the night, but the intensity of her performance wrings rivulets down her delicate bone structure.

She has a remarkable face - burning eyes, killer profile, a pointy chin that has a vocabulary of its own.

She used every prop - pillar, table, chair - with a dangerously feline grace and her voice ... oh poh poh ... tears, laughter, low confidences, but always with a perilous edge of hysteria.

This wasn't acting as mere mortals dish up; we were there. Before we took our seats I worried about the robust brass band that was entertaining a few doors down. As it was, I was deaf to everything except Ms Kapodístria's captive magic.

It sounds as if I understood most of the monologue. I did not but I had done my homework on Καχτίτσης, sufficient to have the drift and, if I needed, I had the multi-lingual assistance of a Kapodístria grand-daughter/daughter/niece at my side to translate. I was in distinguished company and it was a moving honour to see my fellow audience pay court to the respected pater familias who was with us in the front row.

Live Performance ~ Too often I'm lazy about stirring myself to attend theatre en personne. That night's gruelling gripping involvement reminded and brought home to me what I lose if I choose the lazy, losing way out and settle for the screen.

We need that kick up the derrière that only a 'live' artiste can deliver.

Recovery - no sooner had this tour de force ended than the family - then the rest of the crowd - shuffled back-stage to offer congratulations.

There she sat, in the blessing of her unlit sanctuary, recovering. What a performance.

If I was her man or her manager I'd have whisked her off to a corner and rammed a large single malt into her delicate paw as I beat off the polloi:

"Back you dogs! Give her to room to recover!"

But no, Natalía had her next trial ~ being polite to her fans.

Bravo, that heroine.

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