After Guerre des Paysages, a play about the greek civil war, the French director Irène Bonnaud collaborates again with KET, undertaking the dramaturgy, directing and part of the writing of the play On a Saturday / C’était un samedi. The premiere of the play in Athens was postponed because of the current conditions, and took place in Paris at La Commune CDN Aubervilliers (June, 2021).
The starting point and first part of the show is the short story by Dimitris Hatzis Sambethai Kampilis from the collection of short stories The end of our small town. The author returns to Ioannina of his childhood, describing the local Jewish community with its long history as well as the close relationship and conflict of two important personalities, the conservative merchant and community leader Sambethai Kampilis and his student, the first jewish communist of the city, poet and translator Joseph Eliya.
The second part consists of the chronicle of the deportation of the jewish community of Ioannina. On Saturday, March 25, 1944, the Wehrmacht organized the deportation of the community to Auschwitz. Only a few people survived. Based on survivors’ stories, Irène Bonnaud built the chronicle in the form of a testimony puzzle. The community’s exile is linked to many episodes that have been widely discussed by jewish genocide historians: the “Kurt Waldheim” case and the role played by the german army in the extermination process, the four photographs taken by Alberto Errera at Brikenau, and the uprising that broke out on Saturday, October 7, 1944 by many Greek Jews among others.
The songs of the play have also an important narrative role: romaniote, sephardi, epirus songs, but also songs that prisoners changed their words in order to convey the experience of the extermination camp, often as an act of resistance. On stage, only one actress, Fotini Banou, tells the whole story, passing from speech to song and back to speech, giving voice to the 11 small statues created especially for the show by Clio Makri.
Production: TV Control Center (KET).
Co-production: Scène Nationale Châteauvallon – Liberté (Toulon, France) – Théâtre National de Nice (France).
With the support of the French Institute of Greece / Institut Français de Grèce.
The play was presented at La Commune CDN Aubervilliers (Paris) (24, 25, 26, 27 of June 2021), at Châteauvallon / Le Liberté (Toulon) (10 of July 2021), at the Théâtre National de Nice (Nice) (13 & 14 of July 2021). It will also be presented at the festival SENS INTERDITS (Lyon) (15, 18, 19, 21 & 22 October 2021) and at Théâtre des 13 vents (Montpellier) (15, 16 & 17/11). The other dates of the tour will be announced soon.
We would like to thank a lot Esther-Stella Cohen, the last survivor of the genocide in Ioannina who recently passed away, and who welcomed us to her home for a long narration of her memories. We also thank Kaiti Hatzi, Angelina Hatzi, Savvas Michail Matsas, Katerina Matsa, Allegra Matsa, John Kalef Ezra, Leonardos Batis, Sakis Negrin, Panos Vadaloukas, Adi Liraz, Saranna Biel-Cohen, Mimis Cohen, Eleni Pangratiou-Alexaki, Yiannis Alexakis, Popi Banou, Elias Poulos, the Jewish Museum of Athens and the Memorial de la Shoah in Paris, for their support in the research and preparation of the show.
*The play is in the greek language with french supertitles.