Moschoula Kontostavlou

Interview: Maro Voulgari

We are doing theatre to become better people

She puts on Sartre, Genet and Camus, in packed halls. The notary Moschoula Kontostavlou always makes “difficult” play choices and the Parian spectators always ardently support them.

You have a presence of thirty years in the island’s theatre activities. Now, you have a lasting group and admittedly a difficult repertoire.
If you must admire someone, you should admire the members of my group. After all, I wouldn’t do anything else but only this difficult thing. But for the people who sacrifice time from their family and leisure, all this is really admirable.

How do you choose the repertoire?
We start from October to work on this difficult venture. But in order to be able to understand the existentialists, for example, we must go back to the Pre-Socratic. I don’t know if what we have set up is a “workshop” or something else… Anyway, it has a different level… Since the guys have “appointed” me as their teacher, we gather and we afford all our time, knowing however that all this is still-born. When I go, it will probably go as well, but the most arrogant thing is false modesty…

How could we make young people love theatre?
I’ll speak about my group only. I feel that I gain entry into their soul as we approach the climate and the environment of each writer. When we put on Camus we studied the decline of the West. With Genet’s “The Maids” we engaged in a study which included the Paris attics where the maids might have stayed. We want a good outcome but we don’t do it so much for the performance as for the journey… We improve ourselves by learning from the experiences of the others.

Can the classic writers still touch the contemporary anxieties?
I love the classics. In the past at “Archilochus” I put on plays with many roles because the space was suitable and the children numerous. For me Albert Camus is the evolution of the ancient tragedy. Sartre as well. And Edward Albee -if we manage, as we plan, to put on his “Three Tall Women”- must have studied thoroughly the ancient classics or know Descartes so well as to be able to reverse him by saying that thinking and the thinking agent are the same thing. We also desire to put on Chekhov.

How did you start doing theatre on the island?
I started thirty years ago with the “Return of Iphigenia” from “The Fourth Dimension” of Yiannis Ritsos. It was something quite experimental and it was then that I saw that the Parians must be among the best spectators in the world… I wholeheartedly believe this…

Which role would you choose among Blanche Du Bois, Hedda Gabler and Alexandra Del Lago?
You send me to Tennessee Williams and the Scandinavian theatre. I think that I’m too old now for Blanche Du Bois. If I chose a Tennessee Williams play I’d take the role of the mother in the “Glass Menagerie”.

You’ve already written three books. Is writing another passion?
For me it’s the strongest one. My next ardent wish is to concentrate on writing my fourth book and close with it…

Summer 2018

Ms Moschoula Kontostavlou has written the books: “The Jasmines of August” (short stories), ed. Philippotis; the “Woman with a Small Mirror” (short stories) ed. Armos and the “Music and Poetry” a book about the poet Archilochos, published by the Paros Municipality.