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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 20 June 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 20 JUNE 2015 19 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Alex Lykos: from playwright to movie maker BILLY COTSIS With the return of the hit play It's War and on the verge of releasing his new film Alex & Eve, Alex Lykos took some time out to talk about his life and why he chose a career in the arts. Sitting in a pub in the cultural hub of Marrickville, it's easy to see what motivates this talented playwright and actor. It wasn't the long list of achievements or heartwarming story of transition from aspiring tennis player; it was his passion for the stories he creates and the environment he grew up in. For you see this is a Marrickville boy through and through, having grown up here and seeing it change from a Greek and Vietnamese area that was seemingly neglected to the vibrant diverse suburb today. It's War The return of the smash hit It’s War made Alex beam as he explained how proud he was of the production. The play is designed to make you hurt with laughter, taking the audience through a neighbourhood conflict. Each night in June has been a sell out. In 2014 the production played to packed audiences and the sound of 'encore, encore' which ensured its inevitable return to the iconic Factory Theatre (Marrickville). "The story is set with the best friend neighbours whose backyard house extension triggers a war which will test friendships, forcing neighbours to choose allegiances, and a long kept secret is revealed which will shock the foundations of the street," Alex explains. "When it premiered, I did not expect the audience reaction to be as crazy as it Setting the stage for fireworks: Alex Lykos, who wrote and stars in Alex & Eve: The Wedding , with co-star Helena Stamoulis. was. They were on the floor laughing their heads off," For anyone who has been to Marrickville you will notice that Greek and Vietnamese features in the play, which mirrors the area somewhat. The production comes under the Bulldog Theatre banner, which he founded in 2006, providing theatre offerings which were well-received by critics and the public, including the Alex & Eve trilogy. Making special mention of people and sponsors who helped from his early days, many have become lifelong friends, to the point of joining the committee of Bulldog Theatre. He reserves special praise for one of his long term collaborators and friends, Elena Stamos, the star of three of his productions and the recently completed Alex & Eve movie. Elena took on a lead role at the last minute in the current production, literally stepping off a plane from Europe. Alex & Eve, the movie Momentum is building for the multimillion dollar Australian film based on the play. Having written the screenplay and taken a small role in the film, Alex is now making the exciting jump from stage to the big screen. What makes this new endeavour a great challenge is the chance to tell his story and entertain a larger audience here and abroad. The film is directed by Peter Andrikidis, who has won nine AFI awards including best direction for Underbelly. One of his more familiar projects was Wog Boy 2: Kings of Mykonos. 2015 has seen a range of local productions making a dent at the box office including Mad Max: Fury Road, The Water Diviner, Strangerland, Infini. The buzz in the industry is that Alex & Eve will join this list. The film is based on the play of the same name, which performed to 28,000 people Australia wide. Alex tells the story that he once dated a Lebanese Muslim girl. The relationship did not last for too long, but the idea to explore cross cultural interactions via of the North statistics or as nostalgic of another time and place but by offering a cultural and personal connection and dislocation in a local urban environmental setting." *The exhibition at the Northcote Town Hall Forecourt will be open from Friday 2 October to Monday 5 October 2015. For more information head to www.facebook.com/ secondhomeheterotopias http://soniazymantas.wix. com/sonia-zymantas-art Sonia’s first sketches for the Melbourne Fringe Festival installation. Leather shoe soles made by migrant workers. the stage did last. The film explores the dynamics between a Greek man and Muslim girl, perhaps a nod to the evolution of multiculturalism. It is certainly a long way from the traditional Greek town or village many of our parents left behind decades ago, where a similar relationship would have been unheard of. The film raises questions that would be pertinent in any society were religions and cultures differ dramatically. How would you raise your children, would one of them convert, what food will be eaten at dinner? Alex once said that "if you are born into either of these religions you are ripe for therapy". The film is the culmination of a journey that commenced when he returned from living in America."I had taken about 400 photos ... I was a little lost, 29-30 years old, where do you go? I started writing vignettes on the photos and enjoyed that." It was the start of a creative process, quickly realising that he had flair to create, penning the hit play Better Man. As we finished our coffee, he told me, "I think about a story and ask myself this, in the middle of winter would I be willing to run around and put fliers on car windows? If not, my story isn't worth fighting for." With a track record that includes seven hit theatricals, it is fair say his story has been worth fighting for. It's War is playing at the Factory Theatre, season finishes 21 June. For more information call (03) 9550 3666 or visit www.bulldogtheatre.com Alex & Eve is due out late 2015. *Billy Cotsis is a freelance writer and short film director. One of Vicky Papas Vergara’s photographic pieces. The photographic power of portraiture An aspiring Greek Australian photographer dazzles with her dreamy images ALEXANDRA MANATAKIS Vicky Papas Vergara is an Australian photographer and a couture artist making waves across Australian photography with her extremely chic and sophisticated passion for the idea of beauty. In just one and a half years, Vergara's incredible work, including fashion and beauty photography, has landed her three incredible awards; both first place prize in the fashion division and grand prize winner for the creative category in the Wedding and Portrait Photography Insitute's (WPPI) awards 2015, as well as the 2014 Epson Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) Victorian Portrait Photographer award. Vicky Vergara was also a finalist for the 2014 Canon AIPP Australian Portrait Photographer. Vergara has not always been a photographer, however, with her artistic passion spurring from a long-time career as a hairdresser. At the age of just sixteen Vergara began her career in hairdressing, and is currently in her 30th year in the beauty industry. The talented photographer says that she has “always been creative” but when she was 41, “something snapped and [she] started on her creative rampage." The fusion of hairdressing and photography has proven an interesting integration for Vergara, allowing the knowledge she has attained from the beauty industry to influence her photos. With parents from towns just outside of Athens, Vergara tells Neos Kosmos that the gowns she makes for her photos are "very European and most of them very Grecian". She also places value in old world aesthetic. Just one and half years ago Vergara made the successful transition into photography, with works based on the female form integrated with fashion and beauty. With a vast majority of her photographic works centred on the idea of beauty, Vergara tells Neos Kosmos that her work "is about making women feel empowered, not just beautiful. It is about being strong and being a woman." The Vergara photography experience is also about releasing the inner beauty of her subjects. "Every woman is beautiful and every woman has inner beauty. Vergara is about experiencing what it feels to step into the light." Her photographic works further aim to reaffirm the importance of feminine selfworth through portraiture, which she believes can also rekindle a love once strongly held between women and portraits. "Every woman should have a portrait to capture herself. When compared to women of the 50s and 60s in Greece, who would always have black and white portraits, nowadays it is uncommon. The importance of portraits is lost and I think that's really sad." In the future, Vicky wishes to pursue her creative aspiration in increasing the prevalence of female portraits.
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