Natasha Triantafylli

Marshall Plan – Α Path of Perspectives

The idea of a new beginning amid the ruins of destruction becomes synonymous to expectations for a better life, complete with the insecurity and difficulty which are usually part and parcel of everything new. The Marshall Plan, the rebuilding and recovery initiative aimed at European countries, including Greece, defined US foreign policy after the end of World War II. Was this kind of restarting feasible after all? What is it that emerges from a hopeless osmosis of dissimilar groups and persons? How unexpected can the result be under such circumstances?

In his famous report for Greece published in 1947, Paul Porter, US delegate in Greece, writes that the country was “in the grip of a gray, unrelieved, profound lack of faith in the future”. The transformation, as conceived in the context of the Marshall Plan, took four years to be completed and left behind – apart from infrastructure, agricultural and industrial projects – a taste of modernization as well as a mistrust of foreign aid and its true motives.

Using the delegate’s journal as a springboard, along with the still terribly relevant report he drew up, the performance brings to the forefront that specific era, drawing on Porter’s meetings with Greek workers and farmers, officials, people starving in cities, children and dozens of other real-life individuals. Gradually, the dramaturgy is enriched with scientific studies, historical and economic documents, combined with numerous testimonies, all of which convey the grotesque co-existence of the American ideal and the anarchic Greek spirit, by turns life-saving, dramatic and comical.

In its own way, the visual environment tells the story of how catastrophe turns into creation, how dissolution turns into organization, using music as an integral aspect. The fusion of 1940s rock’n’roll and jazz music with Greek dimotiki (traditional) music encapsulates the tension and admiration as well as the awkwardness and contradictions palpable in the confrontation of these two cultures. Text, visual space, light and music converse with historical phases of post-WWII Greece before, during and after the implementation of the Marshall Plan, investigating its prospects, successes and failures, which continue to affect us today.