A project by Anestis Azas und Prodromos Tsinikoris
“The Euro lie – how the Greeks screwed us” // “Why are we paying for Greek luxury pensions?” // Or: “Go and sell your islands, you broke Greeks, and the Acropolis along with them!” – These are just some of the populist headlines that have appeared in the German tabloid, the Bild Zeitung, which, against the backdrop of the Greek debt crisis and EU negotiations of bailout packages, reinforce clichés here in Germany about ‘broke Greeks’ being lazy and corrupt. Debunking populist false statements in a clever and entertaining way is one of the hallmarks of Greek directing duo, Anestis Azas and Prodromos Tsinikoris. The starting point for their piece “Clean City”, for example, which was produced in cooperation with the Münchner Kammerspiele and has since toured all over the world, was a campaign by the Greek neo-Nazi party, the Golden Dawn, in which they called for the city to ‘clean up’ its immigrant population: “Clean the city” was the slogan. Or: “Get rid of the rubbish in Athens”. Azas and Tsinikoris took the self-named Golden Dawn literally and posed a counter-question: who actually cleans up the city of Athens every day? Who picks up the rubbish in the Greek capital and cleans the dirt? Isn’t it in fact those very people the Golden Dawn wants to get rid of? Cleaning ladies from every imaginable country are hard at work every day throughout the city of the Acropolis to make it presentable. And so it was precisely these cleaning ladies who became the protagonists of the play, “Clean City”. Five of them – from Moldavia, South Africa, Bulgaria, the Philippines and Albania – told their stories on stage and about how they ultimately ended up becoming the cleaning troop of the Greek capital city, where they keep the streets and the buildings clean for 3 Euro an hour. It was a play about globalisation and home, longing and family, the disappearance of the middle class and the dreams Europe still holds for so many. For their new work at the Münchner Kammerspiele, Azas and Tsinikoris will set out to research the diverse Greek community in Munich. Some came to Germany as ‘Gastarbeiter’ (guest workers) in the early 1960s; some came in 1967 when a military dictatorship seized power in Greece. In recent years, because of the financial crisis, the number of Greeks living in Germany has risen again. In their work, the two directors will give us an understanding of the history of Greeks in Munich beyond the clichés – or at least with a slightly ironic view of them. And on stage: residents of Munich. From Greece.