Stories Talk | Presentation Skills and Effective Storytelling
His daily life is full of travel. He can be in Byzantium, or Space, in the city, or the jungle, on an eternal route, which never ends, but is constantly renewed.
By Christina Katsantonis
Athos Danellis is a creator who dedicated himself to a fairy tale living, which questions and overturns everything across space and time and captures people’s souls on canvas. His faithful companion and guide, the hero of his childhood. A hero of the people, independent, who burns the unjust, and has a rich action throughout the centuries. Which carries decades of life but communicates uniquely with all ages. A hero who cannot be classified nor be forgotten: Karagiozis.
Thirty-five years at the Shadow Theatre
Athos Danellis was lucky enough to follow the dream that captivated him since his childhood. Raised between Athens and Crete, he first watched Karagiozis and Shadow Theatre as a small child in a cafe on the Heraklion Peninsula, and was enchanted. He started studying the Shadow Theater from a very early age.
At the same time, as an imaginative child with a talent for creative writing, he studied journalism in England. Upon his return to Greece, he started working as a journalist in free radio and the magazine Tipos, but Karagiozis was always in his heart and mind. The Shadow Theatre slowly started to take over his life. The first evening performances he started giving for his pocket money in various venues became a central life journey.
Today, having completed 35 years of professional presence at the Shadow Theater, Karagiozis still evokes the same excitement he felt the first time as a child, he saw the hunchbacked figure emerge on the canvas, dancing and singing: "Hey, oops, oops , Opa…".
New journeys in the footsteps of the old masters
On the road that Athos Danellis began to carve in the Shadow Theater, the first significant influence originated from the old masters. His mentor was Manthos, the Athenian. He studied at his barde, lived with him, and learned to play Karagiozis. However, other great Shadow Theater creators left a strong mark on him, such as Evgenios Spatharis, Giannaros, Haridimos and Vagos
Athos Danellis continued to carve his path in the field, taking Karagiozis with his Athenian Shadow Troupe to every corner of Greece and the world, to the National Theater, to Megaro Mousikis, to the cinema. At the same time, in 1998, he founded the Greek Shadow Theater to restore and exploit the theatrical texts and historical elements of the Greek Karagiozis.
Karagiozis, always top of mind.
The Shadow Theater is challenging, not only during the performance. Athos Danellis says the basic rule is to live in it non-stop, always ready, and open to every stimulus. For him, Karagiozis, as a hero created by the public, carries all the characteristics of the people who watch, which is why he brings their dreams to life on canvas. The public expects to see his soul displayed on canvas, which is challenging for the Karagiozi player. No matter how many evils have been charged against Karagiozis, it is inevitable that he never deceives his young or adult audience, for whom Athos Danellis has also been giving evening performances since 198.
Karagiozis, as he says, is in no way a children's theater. It isn’t easy to describe and classify because it is beyond all measure. He is all heroes in one; he is an element, he is also a mockery, he does not offend anyone, and he offends everyone, but he always has a massive respect for the diverse.
Athos Danellis points out that many young people are entering the Shadow Theater Art field. This is most valuable because they feed the art it breathes. The unique piece of knowledge he wants to convey to a young person who wants to become a Shadow Theater creator is never even to consider standing up to Karagiozis!