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Surtitles light the way for non-Greek speakers
WOULD you like to go to the theatre more often but find it’s all Greek to you? Greek speakers and the hearing impaired can now enjoy the Cyprus theatre organisation’s (THOC) Greek-language productions featuring ‘surtitles’ projected above the theatre stage.
The surtitles are in English and Greek and are still only available for specific productions and on set dates. There are two theatre productions this coming week that fit the bill.
Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind is a play dealing with the sexual and spiritual awakening of teenagers and their conflict with parents, religion and teachers. Paphos’ Markidio theatre will use surtitles on Tuesday and the new THOC theatre will offer them on Friday and Saturday.
If teenage angst is too much, perhaps the quirky musical Kali-Kantzar and Company will be on also on Friday and Saturday. The play’s premise is an unexpected noise heard by a patrol in the city’s New State Theatre. The noise comes with a bunch of strange creatures. “Sudden occupation? Why? By whom? For what reason?”
Surtitles are commonly used during operas to help people follow the plot, and have previously been used in Cyprus by the international theatre institute, said THOC director George G Papageorgiou.
“With a new theatre, we wanted to put in a very conscious effort to reach more and more people such as non-native speakers of Greek,” said Papageorgiou.
“Large portions of our population are non-Greek speakers but we are openly inviting them to visit our theatre,” he said.
THOC moved in a new building last year and they are keen to welcome visitors to Cyprus as well as the thousands of non-Cypriot who live permanently on the island. They started using surtitles in September, although the move has not been widely publicised.
“I think people are not yet aware of this,” Papageorgiou said.
Money permitting, more productions may feature surtitles, perhaps permanently, but Cyprus is not there yet.
For example, a private institution funds surtitles in Israel, but THOC does not even own the kind of projector necessary for surtitles but rents it out on specific dates and hires a technician to operate it, Papageorgiou said. Businesses are welcome to sponsor the scheme, he added.
Last week, THOC featured Andrew Bergman’s Social Security with surtitles, a satire on high society, featuring a controlling and invasive woman who disrupts a couple’s isolated life in Manhattan, “without children or parents”.
Call THOC at 22-864300 for more information.