Black Theatre (Greece)

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Black Theatre is a Greek theatrical concept in which actors perform in front of a blacked-out scene under black lights. It was started in 2014 by director Orpheus Chatzidimitriou. The Black Theatre was inspired by a similar concept seen in Asia, with origins in Japan, China and India. The scene was blacked out with black fabric such as velvet and performers performed under dim lighting. Performances were often accompanied by live music. Performers were acrobats or jugglers and performers often hung themselves in front of the blacked-out background for an artistic effect. The Black Theatre's first performance was based on the ancient text "IKAROMENIPPO". The performance used 35 actors and some of the major elements of the performance were movement and special costumes. Unseen narrators narrated the performance. Cities the Black Theatre has been in include Athens.


The Black Theatre has deep roots in Asia, mainly in imperial China and Japan and in India. It's based on the technique of "black box" or "black room" using black fabric, especially velvet, which covered the scene and the actors. The artists, acrobats or jugglers initiate the enforced objects or puppets or hung themselves in front of the minimum dim light candles. This created the desired illusions, which the live music made it more intense.For relatively short time this kind of theater became known in Europe, but quickly was supplanted just like the Shadow Theatre. In the second half of the 20th century again became known mainly in Prague, Czech Republic. Among the countries presented sparse and small or amateur troupes Black Theater performances are France, Russia, Hungary, Germany, USA and Greece. In Asia, where it was born there is still little evidence of it mainly Japanese puppet Bounrakou and Chinese puppets.In professional European Black Theatre performances of troupes of Prague, main elements is the use of sophisticated black light bulbs, special fabric and specially designed objects.Most performances are based on dance, juggling and acrobatic, usually in comic style, with essential elements of music and choreography.


The "Black Theatre" was created in 2014 by director and actor Orfea (Orpheus Chatzidimitriou) and the educator and author John Stefanidis. Expert and experienced connoisseur of Black Theatre, Orpheus, fond of Classical and Ancient Greek Theatre Yiannis Stefanidis joined forces to create essentially a new kind of theater. Noticing the magic and power of light and image in black theater and speech at the Classic Theatre, they combined both these powerful elements and created the "Black Theatre". The performances that are presented to the public use the techniques of black light and use special costume. But they are not limited to dance and movement. It is a complete play with text which is partially attributed by actors readers (invisible to the public) and by actors playing on the specially constructed stage. For each part of the project there is an actor - reader and an actor on stage with black clothing or fluorescent costume and special mask. The necessary synchronization of unseen actors speaking with those who appear on stage makes this kind of performance a theater of very high difficulty. Music and movement are also integral parts of the show.

Their first project was the author's text, based on the "IKAROMENIPPO", of ancient Lucian, which is considered the first historical interplanetary - science fiction project. In this way it is integrated for the first time the ancient satire - free modern adaptation - in Black Theater show. Thirty-five minors actors (unseen readers and actors on stage) performed the roles of the project after the special and laborious teaching of Orfeas. Emphasis was placed on kinesiology - choreography, since the actors on stage acted as dancers - acrobats, synchronizing their bodies to the (invisible) readers actors and using objects - props and masks as deserving magicians.

The show contains the original music and songs of the composer Michalis Kefalas, with special costumes and scenery created by the set designer and actress Gina Varela. Among the sites presented successfully the project was the "MULTIPLEX & ANNA MARIA KALOUTA" in Athens.


In typical Black Theatre performances worldwide the main element is the movement - dancing. With the use of special lighting, costume and stage, the play through is assigned through movement with the help of music, with minimal use of speech. In "Black Theatre", the play is fully structured with sufficient reason - text and roles, who are also assigned by speaking offstage actors and actresses which use as main tool their body within the scene, under the special "black lights".