PLUTUS by Aristophanes
FTOCHOLOGIA THEATRE GROUP, CYPRUS
A new theatre group “Ftochologia” presents the last comedy of Aristophanes that survived to us, a scathing critique on the human dream for wealth. Chremylus, swamped in debt, goes to Delphi to ask the oracle whether he should bring up his son as an honest man or as a rascal. On his way back he meets Plutus, who was blinded by Zeus so he would be unable to distinguish between the just and the unjust and would randomly distribute wealth. With the help of Chremylus and his slave Carion, Plutus’ sight is restored at the temple of Asklepios and he decides to bring back justice to society. While everybody is trying to benefit from this new situation, Poverty appears, in an effort to persuade them that wealth never brings happiness.
In Plutus (Wealth), Aristophanes comments on the diachronically timely social injustices and ridicules the unfair distribution of wealth, but also corruption.
▪ With English surtitles
Chremylus, swamped in debt, goes to Delphi to ask the oracle whether he should bring up his son as an honest man or as a rascal. The Oracle, being ambiguous as always, gives no information but bids him, on leaving the temple, to take back home with him the first person he meets. Outside the temple, he meets a blind old man, Plutus, God of Wealth, whom Zeus blinded so that he would be unable to distinguish between the just and the unjust. Plutus firstly refuses to have his sight restored, fearing Zeus’ fury, but is persuaded by Chremylus and his slave, Carion, that with his sight restored he would be able to distribute to the virtuous rather than randomly the wealth. Goddess Poverty interferes, trying to convince them that wealth will destroy the citizens and the whole world would go idle. Those derived from their riches – priests included – are also upset for losing their privileges.
Plutus is a late comedy by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes, first produced around 388 BCE or later. In Plutus (Wealth), the poet comments on the diachronically timely social injustices and ridicules the unfair distribution of wealth, but also corruption.
Wealth (Plutus) or Poverty? Whose side should I take? And If I choose one out of the two, what happens to the ancient saying “moderation in all things”? It seems that we have lost our sense of moderation; that we are lost in translation. I wonder, is it possible for us to live a rich life when we are poor and not to become poor when we achieve wealth?
With these thoughts in mind, I sought help in Brecht’s play The Good Person of Szechwan. A man with two faces. Good against evil. Just like Wealth and Poverty. Two sides of the same coin. Still, these guises seem to be behind the keeping of people apart, from Aristophanes’ time and until today, even if everything is so fragile, so ephemeral…
“All happens for your sake”, says Chremylus to Plutus. “All happens for your sake” I would also tell him if I had him in front of me today…And this realization has scared me and has awakened in me the desire to stage a production of Plutus and give it a festive character, as a reaction to this reality. Indeed, how many times have we all met, in some celebration or in some drinking party? For, as you see, in happiness and merry-making we are all equal. Even if the next day we go back to our daily life sober, struggling against gods and demons.
Theatre company profile
FTOCHOLOGIA THEATRE GROUP, CYPRUS
The new theatre group “Ftochologia” was founded in 2016 by Kostas Silvestros, in order to participate in the “International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama”; a fresh team, consisting of young artists, who share the team spirit for theatre creation. “Ftochologia” aims at reminding to the public that irrespective of times of “Plutus” (Affluence) or times of “Poverty” the need for artistic encounters remains the same.
Adaptation/Dramaturgy/Direction: Kostas Silvestros Set/Costume Design: Marina Hadjilouca Musicians on stage: Gav the band Choreography: Eva Kalomiri Lighting Design: Vasilis Petinaris Assistant to the Director: Elena Georgiadou Photographs: Michael GeorgiadesCast: Chremylus: Giorgos Kyriacou Carion: Yiannis Minos Poverty: Marina Vrondi Plutus: Valentinos Kokkinos Blepsidemus, Informer, Old Woman, Hermes: Vasilis Charalambous Wife to Chremylus, Just Man, Young Man, Priest: Herodotos Miltiadous Chorus: Georgina Tatsi