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31 October 2005

Karagiosis - Greek Shadow Theater in the Plaka

For kids older than 3

It has gone colder here in Athens, so for Sunday afternoon we decided on some indoor activity. We went to the Plaka for a show of traditional Greek shadow theater. The genre is named after the protagonist Karagiosis. He is a poor man with three hungry children and a wife who is constantly telling him to get a job. Which he is trying to do, especially in the play we had seen this Sunday. He was trying his luck shining shoes, selling ice, pistachios, and milk, working as a photographer. Whatever he tried, it did not work out. Sounds sad? It isn't, because whatever his fortune is, he takes it with a laugh and a loose mouth. He is famous for his pointed remarks on everything. Classical quote: "We ate, we drank, and then we went to bed hungry!"

In the picture we see Karagiosis on the left side, Stavrakas buying pistachios on the right. "Shadow theater" means that the stage is made of a white textile (linen?). Figures and a bit of scenery are made out of thin materials and due to the backlighted stage show up as shadows with a few colours. The figures are held on sticks of about 40-50cm, so the figure players don't show up as shadows on the "stage".

The theater is a small basement in some of the small roads that are less filled with tourist shops in the Plaka [1]. We arrived a bit early, which was a good idea as the place got crowded. The front rows filled up with children. The theater advertises "for children over 3 years old". The back rows held us grown ups (slightly above that age). The figures look nice even if you don't understand the words, but in case you understand the words, you'll laugh your butt off. The kids giggled, shouted and chimed in talking with the figures. In some parts I laughted till my belly hurt. We had seen a play of Karagiosis some weeks ago on Hydra, but we didn't like that show. What we saw now in the Plaka was far better, no comparison.

[1]: Θέατρο σκιών Τάσου Κώνστα (Theatro Skion of Tasos Konsta), Tripodon 30, Plaka, Tel. 210 3227 507 (very close to the Metro station Akropolis, I don't think they have a web page), shows every Sunday at 11AM and 5PM.

Update: A page with more descriptions of Karagiosis and

Posted by betabug at 23:15 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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