Astoria, NY.- By Vicki James Yiannias
There is so much positive energy on stage with the comic entry of characters and their consistently funny lines that it’s already clear from the first moments of the play “My Crazy Wife”, at the Hellenic Cultural Center, that when director Loukas N. Skipitaris says, ‘“We are presenting this play because we like it so much”, he isn’t exaggerating.
Mr. Skipitaris means what he says and so do the eight actors who move through the exquisitely silly comedy, “My Crazy Wife”. With its clever plays on words, vanity and love and oh-so-human relationships, touch of philosophy, a bit of slapstick, it’s a type of farcical comedy at which Greeks excel (although it’s inspired by a non-Greek play, “Pink Sins”).
Presented by THEATRON (its first play after six years) at the Hellenic Cultural Center until November 3, and with English supertitles, this lighthearted play lifts you up and sets you down, laughing, at a more optimistic vantage point.
The play, with twists that untwist only to become twisted up again, features rich men and their wives, a beautiful young cabaret dancer and the question of infidelity, neighbors and gossip. And the theme is craziness, that is, pretending to be crazy.
Two husbands, Manos (Manos Pantelides), a rich tobacco merchant married to Anna (Larisa Antypa), and Giorgos (Nikos Karras) a psychiatrist married to Yiouli (Eleni Coundi), are good friends who tell their wives they are attending to “business” at night when they are really going to cabarets and flirting with young dancers, primarily the blond “ballerina” Billy (Elena Paloumpis). Anna’s cousin is her maid Vaso (Alexandra Skendrou). A couple, Olga (Vasia Campouri) and Yiannis (John Kallaniotis) are neighbors.
Anna, determined to discover the true nature of her husband’s nightlife, pretends that she has gone “crazy”, with the aid of her maid, Vaso, (who peppers her peasant’s dialect with Katharevousa and plays the part so comically she is a highlight of the show) and behaves in an outrageous manner that in turn makes Manos, her husband, equally suspicious of her. George, his psychiatrist friend, advises Manos that the only way to find out if Anna has truly gone “nuts” is for Manos to pretend that he also has lost his mind.
All the performances in “My Crazy Wife” are excellent. Each actor interprets his/her stereotypical character with lively individuality, making them more credible.
Like Mr. Skipitaris, who is a professional actor as well as a director, the actors in “My Crazy Wife” have careers with more than one facet. Just some, not all of the other activities/occupations of the actors are named here: Manos Pantelidis, who adapted ”My Crazy Wife” inspired by “Pink Sins”, teaches Communications courses at NYU and Pace; Larisa Antypa is a radio host, a casting director, costume designer, set designer; Nikos Karras is a DJ and broadcast personality; Eleni Koundi teaches Physics and Earth Science at Cold Spring Harbor; Alexandra Skendrou is a professional singer; Vasia Cambouri is teaching elementary school in NYC; John Kalliniotis is a graduate of the New Actors Workshop; Elena Paloumbis teaches ancient Greek literature and Modern Greek language.
Production Stage Manager. Alexandros Ammoboutianos; Lighting/Sound/Music, Thanasis
Tzouvelis; Set Design/Construction, Kostas N. Skipitaris; Costumes, Larisa Antypa; Graphic Design, Christiana Davies; Set Construction, Dimitris Kosmidis
Loukas N.Skipitaris is the President and Founding director of THEATRON.
THEATRON is committed to being a vital and beneficial institution of the theatrical, artistic and cultural community, and its goals are reached by producing, presenting and promoting performance arts programs and events in both English and Greek. The presentations include but are not limited to plays, readings, dance, concerts, video and film, Internet communications, workshops and lectures.
Hellenic Cultural Center, Newtown Avenue & Crescent Street, Astoria.
Friday & Saturday at 8. Sunday at 3 & 7:30
For more information go to www.theatroninc.org