A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch Ethiopian theatre in Greece!
The National Ethiopian Theatre will give a single performance of the play Bado Egir (performed in the Amharic language) at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. The play tackles Socrates’ life and is based on three works by Plato: the dialogues Phaedo and Crito, and The Apology of Socrates. The performance will be held on the occasion of the centenary of diplomatic relations between Greece and Ethiopia, under the auspices of the Greek Ambassador to Ethiopia Nikolaos Patakias. The production is a testament to the excellent and historically close relation between the two countries, featuring the internationally acclaimed Ethiopian actor and president of the union of African actors, Dedebe Eshetu.
This occasion marks the first appearance of an Ethiopian theatre company in Greece, consisting of the most acclaimed actors of the National Theatre of Ethiopia. The play Bado Egir (Amharic for “barefoot”) is a translation of the play Barefoot in Athens – Socrates’ Life, first presented in USA by Peter Ustinov in the 1960s. The play is a celebration of ancient Greek culture and democratic ideals, the very ideals which Socrates taught his followers and for which he sacrificed his life. For Dedebe Eshetu, it is a lifelong dream to play Socrates at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens, Socrates’ birthplace, and the city he loved with a passion. For Eshetu, his appearance at the Odeon will be the swan song and the jewel in the crown of his long and prolific career. The performance met with huge success in Addis Ababa, where it was presented for 11 months.
How did Socrates serve as a source of inspiration for the theatre company? The Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic in Ethiopia, Nikolaos Patakias, stated the following: “Ancient Greek civilization relied principally on the spirit and high ideals rather than material creations; ideals which remain alive and kicking through the centuries, undaunted by the changing sociopolitical conditions; ideals which have invariably been a goal for all societies and individuals through the ages, regardless of race, ethnicity, political, religious or other beliefs.
The statements of the general manager of the National Ethiopian Theatre is a testament to the fact that the Socratic values of Truth, Democracy and Justice are still relevant and indispensable for his country, enabling the democratization of Ethiopia. Socrates remained loyal to his principles, at the cost of his own life, claiming that he’d rather die free than keep on living without the freedom of thought and expression, the freedom to seek truth and Democracy! Those are the very ideals that Greece has always exported, still exports and will always export.”
Audiences can attend the performance free of charge after obtaining free admission tickets. The performance will have Greek and English surtitles.