After its tour in France (premiere in Paris and tour in Toulon, Nice, Lyon, Montpellier), the performance “On a Saturday”, which has to do with the story and the deportation of the Jewish community of Ioannina, is presented for the first time in Greece – at KET, the place where it was created.
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 of the community, the conservative head of the community Sambethai Kampilis and the poet and communist Joseph Eliya.
The second part, based on survivors’ testimonies, recounts the invasion of Wehrmacht and the Greek police inside the Castle, the Jewish neighborhood of the city, on March 25, 1944 – a Saturday – and traces the deportation of the community from Ioannina to Auschwitz, focusing on a little-known but pivotal event: The Sonderkommando uprising on a Saturday, October 7, 1944, in which Greek Jews played a leading role.
French director Irène Bonnaud is the dramaturg, director and part of the play’s author. Fotini Banou narrates the story, moving from talking to singning, while giving voice to the 11 small statues created for the performance by Clio Makri.
Songs play an important narrative role: romaniote, sephardi, epirus and “camp songs” – folk melodies whose words were changed by the prisoners so that they could communicate with each other and convey their experience.
Production: TV Control Center (KET).
Co-production: Scène Nationale Châteauvallon – Liberté (Toulon, France) – Théâtre National de Nice (France).
Organization of the french tour: Festival SENS INTERDITS
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), 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 performance is dedicated to the memory of Esther-Stella Cohen, one of the last survivors of the genocide in Ioannina, who recently passed away. She welcomed us to her home in the autumn of 2019 for a long narrative and we owe her, among many other things, the title of the performance.
We would like to thank a lot 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 Greece and the Memorial de la Shoah in Paris, for their support in the research and preparation of the performance.
The performance is in the greek language.
Excerpts from reviews:
“Among the twenty or so sculptures that occupy the empty scene, Fotini Banou stands out as a giant. She also seems particularly alive and receptive. (…) The songs performed by the Greek actress delicately evoke the tragedy of the past in order to place the disappeared among the living. (…) Like a storyteller, obsessed with the characters to the point of regularly identifying with them, Fotini Banou tells the story (…) The way she stands there, completely present, at the crossroads of many eras and various discourses, makes us understand that the terrible Sabbath has not exactly passed: something of it remains in today’s Greece, which Irène Bonnaud describes as ‘the epicentre of European tragedies’.”
Anaïs Heluin, “On a Saturday, tragic day in Epirus”, sceneweb.fr
“…an effortless performance, inhabited by ghosts, intense and gentle at the same time, where music and poetry are balsam for the soul!”
Jean-Pierre Thibaudat, “What is left of the Jews of Ioannina, the small and the large city of Epirus”, Balagan
All the sanitary measures foreseen for theatrical venues are followed at KET.