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  • My best friend, Alexis, discovered he was HIV positive. Fear was haunting my generation’s erotic life.
    When we produced MOONS (1992) in the squat theatre, Manos Hadjidakis had come to see the show. He then invited me to his house and told me he had come to see the show because he was looking for a male dancer to perform at the première of his latest cycle of songs, entitled The Songs of Sin – a selection of poems by Dinos Christianopoulos set to music. He told me that, having seen the show, he no longer wanted a dancer – he wanted me to do whatever I saw fit with his songs. When I left his apartment I was walking on air. I had grown up, and honed my sensibilities with his music. We began collaborating, but he fell ill and passed away. I thought it disrespectful to continue with the production immediately after his death.

    A year later I revisited the idea of presenting this cycle on stage. They were songs about male love, loneliness and despair. I could never have staged a show about such themes without touching upon the issue of AIDS. I asked Yorgos Koumendakis to compose a requiem for the friends we had lost, which would form the first act of A MOMENT’S SILENCE. My vision was for the show to open with a storm of death – the REQUIEM – that subsides to leave a dripping, glistening world into which signs of life – the songs Hadjidakis – cautiously re-emerge.

    We worked on the structure of the show with Yorgos Koumendakis, isolating ourselves in an Oia cave house on Santorini for a few days. I envisioned a long flight of steps for the show, down which bodies rolled like stones. This idea of an inclined surface was later reprised in 2 (2006). As I was rehearsing the piece, Alexis died. I remember that day quite clearly: I obsessively made love that same night, desperately trying to climax, in an attempt to conquer the fear of death. I dedicated A MOMENT’S SILENCE to the memory of Alexis.

    A MOMENT’S SILENCE was an installation in a deserted electric power station featuring a group of 20 men and two women, and the guest appearance of the legendary Greek choreographer Zouzou Nikoloudi, who was then almost 80. It also featured the live singing of a soprano (Tzeni Drivala / Mata Katsuli). This was the first Greek work to take AIDS as its theme. I find it interesting to look back on this work, in spite of its two basic faults: it took itself too seriously, and it was too long. Dinos Christianopoulos saw the dress rehearsal and was not pissed off, which is very flattering. The REQUIEM is one of my favourite Yorgos Koumendakis works. When the stage lights went up and bodies started rolling down the steps, I remember always feeling proud to be presenting this image to the audience.

In memory of Alexis
Special guest appearance by Zouzou Nikoloudi
Featuring THE SONG OF SIN by Manos Xatzidakis and REQUIEM FOR THE END OF LOVE by Yorgos Koumendakis

Premiére: 19 October 1995, at the Neo Faliro Old Electric Power Station (Athens - Greece)
105 minutes
20 performances

Sponsored by Marinopoulos Group, J.F.Kostopoulos Foundation, DEH, Τhe  Greek National Youth Foundation, NIKOTIAN, ISTOS, Greek Ministry of Culture

Concept - Direction - Choreography: Dimitris Papaioannou
Music: REQUIEM by Yorgos Koumendakis, TA TRAGOUDIA TIS AMARTIAS [Songs of Sin] by Manos Hadjidakis (lyrics by Dinos Christianopoulos and Yorgos Chronas)
Set - Costume Design: Lili Pezanou
Lighting Design: Alekos Yiannaros
Make - up: Angelos Mendis
Assistant Directors: Tina Papanikolaou, Angeliki Stellatou
Performers: Christos Aliferis, Yiannis Diamantopoulos, Nikos Dragonas, Tzeni Drivala (soprano), Yorgos Kardakos, Mata Katsouli (soprano), Antonis Koutroumbis, Grigoris Lagos,Yorgos Matskaris, Angelos Mendis, Vassilis Mitsiou, Dimitris Bakalis, Fotis Nikolaou, Alexandros Niagos, Stephanos Nikolaidis, Michalis Papantonakis, Thanassis Solomos, Dimitris Sotiriou, Tina Papanikolaou, Angeliki Stellatou, Yiannis Yiaples Special Appearance: Zouzou Nikoloudi
Singers: Doros Dimosthenous, Andreas Karakotas
Piano: Costas Papadakis

Where and when:
Neo Faliro Old Electric Power Station (Athens - Greece) , 19-23, 26-30 October and 3-7, 10-14 November 1995)