The Greek city of Thessaloniki has a rich history of religious diversity and tolerance. Their courage in protecting the persecuted is fondly presented in the comedy/drama “Babies Are Brought by the Stork,” running weekends at the Greek Cultural Center in Astoria.
The enemy occupation of Greece during World War II creates extreme circumstances for two childless couples. Beautiful Christina (Theodora P. Loukas) has prayed for a baby’s cries for over a decade. Her charming and lovely neighbor Lela (Kristina Siapkara) is more practical but also anxiously awaiting motherhood. When a strange series of events brings Jacob (Phyto Stratis), an escapee from Auschwitz, to their small apartment, hiding him creates danger…and opportunity!
The Center is home to an intimate theater that allows the audience to remain just a few feet from the actors themselves. An ingenious scrolling of “supertitles” allows English speakers to follow the dialogue, which is entirely in Greek. The set is simple, with scene changes initiated by the actors themselves.
On opening night, laughter filled the room as director Ioanna Katsarou’s ensemble brought life to a very adult script with a children’s irony – storks bring babies. If anyone can predict future expectant mothers it’s the town busybody. She is portrayed by Christos Alexandridis. Christos is costumed in a dress and long wig for his incredibly funny portrayal. Bravo.
Competing husbands are well acted by Yiannis Amouris and Dimitris Bozinis. They are trapped by the horrors of war. This crisis has created critical and comical concerns. Is the incessant bombing and gunfire distracting them from their husbandly responsibilities? Maybe. Maybe not. The calendar doesn’t seem to match the wives’ due dates. When their city is liberated, one Eastern soldier (Sofia Tsekoura) brings everyone’s deceptions to the surface. In the end it doesn’t really matter who is the father. After all, it’s a mother’s love, not the stork, that nurtures a child.
Playwrights Michalis Reppas and Thanasis Papathanasiou have plunged into the horrors of World War II and created a sometimes innocent, sometimes profoundly realistic, and always enjoyable production.
Located at 26-80 30th Street in Astoria, the Greek Cultural Center can be reached for tickets at 718-726-7329. If you prefer, surf to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
As days grow longer, the list of spring productions continues to increase as well. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.