In Greece, Democracy and Theater Were Closely Intertwined

But the journey that “Eros” has taken, with its series of monologues glorifying the God of Love in an uncertain world, has become an artistic moment that mimics life.

“They came out of the war and their journey became physical evidence of what we were portraying on stage,” Ms. Evangelatos said. “I’ve never experienced anything quite like this.”

The experience, she says, reflects how light life was for the ancient Athenians as they grapple with the ever-present threat of war and the risk of losing their democracy.

“Humanity always needs to keep in mind the possibility of war in order to appreciate peace, because that structure allows the different tribes of Athens to coexist harmoniously, but it is very brief,” said Ms. Papakonstantinou. “For example, Sophocles’ plays are all about the fear of civil war. The threat is always there, even though it’s a democracy. No different from what Ukrainians are going through now.”

Ms. Papakonstantinou says that despite the similarities between today’s democracy and ancient Greek democracy, what has changed is the way it is presented. Ancient Greek theaters were physical spaces where debates and activism were nurtured, but the democratic process has changed over the past two decades, she said.

“We have real freedoms in the West, but many of our freedoms now exclude the physical community because we are all living in the internet,” she said. “We no longer congregate in physical squares. We use the word democracy, but what is it? It’s a meta democracy. “

But whatever way democracy has evolved over the centuries, its theater roots some 2,500 years ago show the full extent of how it – and theater – continues to influence the world.

Ms. Evangelatos said: “Playwrights like Aristophanes are there to mock the rulers but also to make our hearts bleed about the human tragedy. “They criticize people and at the same time shape people’s thoughts. That is democracy in the workplace.”


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