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Second night of tension in front of the Hitirio Theatre

13 October 2012 / 13:10:59  GRReporter
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About 200 members of para-religious groups gathered on Friday evening in front of the Hitirio Theatre to protest against the play, which in their opinion, humiliates Jesus. The police officers, who have been there since the afternoon, used tear gas to push back the protesters from the entrance of the theatre. A group of members of Golden Dawn, headed by deputy Elias Panagiotaros, also came to the theatre. Earlier the same day the deputy took part in an event of the extreme right. A lot of citizens and artists also came in front of theatre, declaring that they want to support the creators of the show and "to protect their right to freedom of speech from the fascist attacks", as well as to ensure that there will be no recurrence of the clashes from the previous day.

"We are a country which has created theatre and culture, and it is not possible for a small group to misuse the national anthem and the Orthodox faith", director of the play "Corpus Christi" ("Body of Christ"), Laertis Vassiliou, said for the Athens News Agency. He added that all who are protesting have not seen the play. "An elderly couple who watched the play in the summer, told me that if one comes to see the play as a 50% Christian, he or she leaves as a 200% Christian. I did not want to make a play about faith, I made a play about a group of people who need to design their dreams, their hopes and expectations over the image of a leader, who will bring the country out of destruction. The play's message is "Listen with your heart", added Vassiliou.

A statement by the Union of Greek artists, condemning the events, notes that the goal of the art of acting and of all arts is the freedom of speech, as well as a sensitive look at social issues which excite us. Therefore, the actors are against everything which restricts, controls and sabotages their work and development. Barbarism, violence, censorship and restrictions on art and on life are strengthening more and more. And when art is censored, life is censored as well.

Terrence McNally's play "Corpus Christi", directed by Vassiliou, presented by the ARTISAN troupe at the Hitirio Theatre, reconsiders and reproduces the story of Jesus and the Twelve Apostles. It presents Jesus as a leader and Judas as being in love with him, and it reconsiders the story of these thirteen people from their adolescence to their adulthood. The characters are transferred into the modern world and their relationships are put to the test of love, affection, career and betrayal.

The premiere is re-scheduled for tonight at 11 pm, and in the afternoon, artists organizations will gather in front of the theatre in support of the performance.

Tags: theatre Hitirio protests Corpus Christi Laertis Vassiliou
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