M.A.I.R.O.U.L.A – Sturgeon’s Law

Samp18-1_webWritten by Lena Kitsopolou

Translation by Aliki Chapple

Directed by Stella Duffy

Premiered at The Storey, Lancaster

M.A.I.R.O.U.L.A, by Lena Kitsopolou, was first performed at the National Theatre of Greece in 2009. This production both translated and performed by Aliki Chapple sees its UK première directed by Stella Duffy at the Storey Creative Industries Centre in Lancaster. The play offers one woman’s insights into the current state of her motherland Greece, its place in the world and its futures. A woman tells us her stories, comedic and dark. Some are true, some are not. Veering between love and despair, hate and hope, she is a metaphor for modern Greece, for the crises we all face, and she is a real woman. While her fears and dreams are universal, her solution is utterly personal. The Narrator suffers from anxiety and depression, with all that involves. She thoroughly questions her identity and actions never truly revealing to the audience whether it is all real, nostalgia or simply fantasy. 

It was this juxtaposition of reality versus fantasy that I tried to key into with the design. The piece is set within the protagonist’s apartment but neither I nor the director, Stella Duffy, wanted to create a truly realistic set. This would also have been impossible on the small budget and the constraints laid down that it must be able to tour by public transport. I looked at estate agent’s and architect’s plans and how using a very real layout of a flat but in chalk or tape would give that juxtaposition. It was quite clear that a sofa would be necessary. A sofa on public transport? I found a good quality inflatable one which could be transported in a (rather large) suitcase. This solution became more of a blessing than an embarrassment. As rehearsals developed, it was decided that the performer would arrive in an empty space with said suitcase and begin by inflating the sofa and marking out the plan of the flat. This allowed the audience in on the illusion of the setting and perhaps made them question more whether what the character said was real or illusion too.

A review of the performance can be found here and a trailer for the piece can be viewed here on Vimeo. Sturgeon’s Law are hoping to tour it next year. Please contact Claire Dunk from LEAP if you are interested in booking it.

Lighting design: Emma Geraghty

Sound design: Martyn Duffy

Produced by Leo Burtin

Photos by Ian Hughes

Video by Ray Turner

Presented by Sturgeon’s Law, in association with LEAP and with support from Lancaster Arts City, The Storey Institute and the Nat Merriman fund.