I met her in 2008. It was a warm summer morning in Thessaloniki, and we were in touching distance of the White Tower.
She gave me her hand. She shook mine with warmth and she looked me directly in the eyes.
She won me over from the very first second.
If love at first sight exists, then this was friendship at first glimpse.
She convulsed me, she captivated me with her energy, with her melodic way of talking. With her perfect use of the Greek language.
It’s the way she “hits” the consonants. Her articulation. The way she arranges words. Her extensive education. Her reading. Her stimulus. Her unparalleled aesthetics…
Actress, director, choreographer, dancer.
Triple threat: She can dance, she can act and she can play.
And I was lucky enough to work with her.
Disciplined; an endowment from the many years spent in dance classes and as a result of theGerman influence acquired while doing her masters degree in Dresden..
Even when she walks she appears to dance. She levitates. She is a pixie. Ageless and unchanged. She has this magic thing about her, like most dancers. They own their body, they define it. Plastic, flexible with infinite potential. They communicate with it. They talk through it.
When she moans just don’t listen to her:
“No, I don’t feel good, I haven’t exercised properly for a while…”
She is a tornado.
A warm wind. A wind enchants you, draws you in with its allure.
An impressive, impetuous, torrent. She occupies the space even though she is as lightweight as a feather.
She is talented — very talented, and she knows it, but she doesn’t show off. Even though she is well aware of it she doesn’t brag about it.
She has nothing to do with publicity, the lobbies and the cliques of the artistic community. It’s not a matter of snobbery. It’s a matter of her antenna; she is “broadcasting” on a different frequency.
She doesn’t boast of her astonishing resume. This is something that I’ve noticed with many people who have impressive academic backgrounds and important collaborations. They don’t talk about themselves; their accomplishments speak on their behalf.
She never uses “I”. She always uses this tender collective : “We are preparing, we are creating, we are directing…”
She is not “meowing” like cats and you cannot subjugate her. She only drops her guard for a big love, a big vision, or immovable Eros.
She lives through her dreams. She feeds them, using the solid materials of the arts as building blocks.
She is artistic but she has nothing to do with random artistic expression, she is not “flu artistc”. Every move, every choreography, every vowel that comes out of her mouth on stage, every move of her mind and body, it’s anything but accidental. On the contrary, every move is meticulously calculated, with a defined structure, with an almost mathematical-like analysis, an explanation.
When she smiles she becomes irresistible. Her whole being smiles, every cell of her body.
She is very opinionated and logical but she can be flexible if she so desires. This really only happens when she is faced with someone she admires. Her looks change with unfairness. She doesn’t respond well to rudeness, to boasting, or to inane stupidity.
She gets transformed and “darker”when she demystifies somebody.
Disappointment permeates her as well; a bit like the kid that you promised a different world to and suddenly put into a playground without swings.
She is from porcelain but yet she is not fragile. She has this internal strength derived from knowing what she doesn’t like. And this is a very solid foundation.
You won’t find her engrossed in her cell phone and don’t bother searching for her on one. She always uses an old one as a statement. Her battery is always dying, it never functions properly, but she is always there for me. We meet wherever we overlap . As soon as I step my foot in Thessaloniki, she is the first number I dial. We start with a simple coffee and we continue with food, drinks and a mandatory “stop over”at her house where her wonderful parents await.
At some point I told her:
“ Don’t get me wrong. I really appreciate actors but I think that I appreciate a little bit more the dancers, the musicians, the painters, the sculptors. Because they can not wake up one day and just build a career because they are simply good looking and a bit talented. To become a dancer, musician or painter you need by default to work hard. You will have worn down the soles of your shoes metaphorically speaking and you will have for sure counted wounds from the hard work. Ι bow down to these people.”
She nodded a bit skeptically, yet her voice was simmering:
“You are the only one who says that Eftychia. And a few others. Trust me. They don’t care about dance as a form of art. Art is just the accompaniment to them . They may not care about anything; or about anything that is outside of the shape of the shadow that their body outlines.
The messages we exchange are never ordinary.
“Where is my Eftychia? (Happiness for Greek). You pledged her to me. I have also much “happiness” to share. Your voice is missing”.
“I’m in Kavala. But I can climb even on a horse to come and see you.
“They want to bury art in this country. But how can you bury something that is eternal?”
“I feel tired. I work like a dog. There are so many things going on. Just come, I want to share them only with you.”
“I am trying to fill the gap you left… I am listening to your voice. A kiss for you, my melody. “
The party theme is “80s and 90s! You should get dressed like Sofia Aliberti (Greek actress from the 80s) and you should just show up”.
“They just brought me the cell phone. I had forgotten it at the rehearsal. A kiss to your pillow. I miss your words.”
“I am just this very moment with a device in my hands. Cultivate contemplations so we could breathe miracles”.
“Are you going to accept me? I’m coming to Athens.”
These are the messages we exchange. Retro correspondence, like the old times.
We distill both important and insignificant secrets, our entire life into these exchanges.
Konstantina Kastellou is a vintage species.
The stage is hers and I can never have enough of her, neither in life nor on stage.
She is one of those people. One life is not enough.
B. The vintage alphabet of Konstantina Kastellou
I gave Konstantina these 24 verbs and she created sentences out of them. It’s the synopsis of her Alphabet, of her personal code. This is her wonderful vintage world.
Α. Αναγνώριζω (Reconise in Greek)
I recognise in depth all the self-destructive aspects of every social platform and I stand opposite to them.
Β. Βρίθω (Being full in Greek)
These groups that are full of energy and power and wander the streets.
Γ. Γεύομαι (Taste in Greek)
I taste human capsules rich in vitamins and rare elements.
Δ. Δαμάζω (Tame in Greek)
I tame the mischiefs of the mind… Inhale, exhale, inhale.
Ε. Επιμελούμαι (Take care in Greek)
I take care of every creation like the old times… with the paint at the tips of the fingers, the pencils shavings on the desk, the notebook, and the brand-new sketchbook.
Ζ. Ζημιώνομαι (Lose in Greek)
I lose from pointless gangs, from wildcat disputes, from sticky explorations from pendular lovers, and from underage intentions.
Η. Ηγούμαι (Lead in Greek)
I lead. Without being in the lead. There.
Θ. Θέλγομαι (Flatter in Greek)
I get flattered by invisible people, by humble and unclear beings, that can live with having unanswered questions, and that serve themselves, like a hot soup in your stomach.
I. Ικετεύω (Beg in Greek)
I beg for Equality and Justice.
Κ. Καγχάζω (Chuckle in Greek)
Ι chuckle when I see you crawling in the labyrinth you created for your journey. Then I hug you…
Λ. Λογαριάζω (Count in Greek)
I count heart systems
(Written in full)
None + One= One
One X one = One
One + One=11
One: One= One
One- One= None
Verification. All correct.
Μ. Μεγιστοποιώ (Maximise in Greek)
I maximise the smallest single detail during the day and I make a whole universe out of it. For one day.
Ν. Νουθετώ (Admonish in Greek)
“They will admonish you”: Murder attempt on the innovative cells and the genetic polymorphic imprint from the side of the veteran and narcissist adults while they are training impressionable daydreaming juveniles.
Ξ. Ξεγυμνώνω (Undress in Greek)
Ι undress with a specific order. First the sleeves. Then the waist. The trousers are tight. I take out the socks with a magic spell and then they melt at the shoes. Then it follows the lapel. The shoulder pads go flat.
The gloves and the hat are already gone. At the end… the mask.
Ο. Οπλοφορώ (Bear arms in Greek)
I bear arms. Prone. Aim at the target. Open fire…
Π. Παινεύομαι (Praise in Greek)
Το praise myself means: I am showing you my colourful wings.
Ρ. Ροκάρω (To rock in Greek)
To rock by diving in the world of Fantasy.
I was driven crazy by frenetic parties that were lasting long into the night… And I was going straight to class afterwards.
Τ. Τιθασεύω (Tame in Greek)
Ι tame the stress, the impulse, the pressure, the contemplation, the need, the anguish, the fear, the deviance, the anger, the desire.
Υ. Υπολογίζω (Estimate in Greek)
I estimate that in 10 years, I will be ten years younger.
Φ. Φιλώ (Kiss in Greek)
I kiss. Colourfast stamp.
Χ. Χαζεύω (Stare in Greek)
I stare at the sea. I reflect on the stories that a bench hosts. The square with the kids. An ancient stone. A picture that has aged.
Ψ. Ψεύδομαι (Lie in greek)
I lie often. When I need to protect something.
Ω. Ωφελούμαι (Benefit in Greek)
Ι benefit from the sun. With the smile of an old friend. With a fair-play. With a family picture. With a cup of warm coffee.
Upcoming plans: In February at Megaron Mousikis Thessalonikis she will play “Sally Bowles” in the “Broadway Nights Reloaded” show, in collaboration with Κ’s Blink, Dominus Productions, and with the choreographer- director Dimitra Kastellou. In November, she will take over as Director of the School of Musical Theater at the Superior Drama School Rontidi.
Note: In an era when artistic creation and production in Greece is becoming more difficult than ever, 72 inspired artists are determined to succeed. Through sponsorships and crowdfunding via Indiegogo, they will present this show on February 4, 2017. If you would like to contribute please click here.
C. The Vintage World of Konstantina Kastellou
3 books: Jakob von Gunten (Robert Walser), The Snowman (Jo Nesbo), e.e.cummings 33x3x33 (E.E.Cummings)
3 movies: Leon the Professional (Luc Besson), Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock), The Family Fang (Jason Bateman)
3 artists: James Thierrée, Daphnis Kokkinos, DEREVO theatre company
Website: Marotte Performing Arts Company