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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 29 September 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2018 17 THEATRE wig and doing an accent. "You have to find truth with the character," he says. "You have to make sure that you bring out the essence. You have to make people believe that you are that character. I'm not Joe but in that moment I am Yianni or Tassoula and in someone's mind it triggers a memory, that what I said in that skit is what their yiayia or pappou has said before." Sooshi Mango is currently many are reacting to ethnic comedy with politically correct lenses, but Joe pushes any criticism of Sooshi Mango's comedy style aside and focuses on the positive reactions of the audience. "We get a large amount of messages from people who tell us they have depression or have lost family members and they say thanks for making these videos," he says. This comedy would not work if it wasn’t for the people that were here before us. There is no way I could be an ethnic mum or an ethnic dad if the migrants that came here before us didn’t do whatever they did to get to where they are today, where they have been ridiculously performing with Nick Giannopoulos and Mary Coustas in Star Wogs: The Ethnics Strike Back and Joe says the experience has been quite surreal. "It's been great to share the stage with two of the great comic icons of Australia," he says. "It's definitely mind boggling and you have to pinch yourself. After a show last week I asked the other guys, 'how did we end up here?' "Last year we did a show with Nick and it was great that he stuck his neck out for these three or four guys that never had any comedy stage experience before, and I thought we put on a good show. But this year, it's a great show because we've got a year under our belt. Our timing on stage is crisp now and we also have Mary and we are also learning from her." As the culture changes "With all this politics and PC stuff, people have to stop and have a laugh again. I can only talk about the comedy we produce; we are paying homage to our relatives that we have lived with and looked up to all our lives. Comedy shouldn't be taken so seriously." Something that is serious is the issue of who does it better: the Greeks or the Italians and it's a question that Joe struggles to answer. "This is my dilemma," he says laughing. "My answer is, they both do certain things better than each other. The one thing that Greeks know to do is have a good time and that is one thing in Australia that the Greeks do better than the Italians and I am more than happy to say that and I say it to everyone. Whether you are four years old or 80, once that bouzouki comes out everyone is raring to go." A long overdue tribute to our migrant mothers For scriptwriter Elena Carapetis, her latest contribution to the stage The Gods of Strangers, is a chance to show our migrant mothers what they truly mean to us THEODORA MAIOS The Gods of Strangers will be brought to life at the Dunstan Playhouse at the Adelaide Festival Centre. Directed by Geordie Brookman, the historical fiction is set in 1947 and explores the untold stories of Greek, Cypriot and Italian migrants who settled in regional South Australia post-World War II. “This play is my way to honour not just my mother and father, but all migrant parents who settled in regional South Australia during the late 40’s,” Carapetis told Neos Kosmos. In an attempt to capture the real essence of being a migrant in that era, she spent time researching and collating information from local libraries and interviewed members of what was once considered the largest migrant community in South Australia, and admits she was humbled by the positive response she received. Many she spoke with were extremely keen to share their stories about what life was really like more than half A ctress Elena Carapetis is proving she is a woman of many talents. Next month her script for a century ago in regional South Australia. A Greek Cypriot Australian born and raised in Port Pirie, Carapetis admits her own family played a significant role in her background research for the play, and was a chance to give voice to their experiences and contributions. “Like most migrants, my parents were simple and honest people who worked hard to survive in a foreign country whilst searching for their own identity and my aim is to honour and celebrate all their hard work, the positive impact they had on the community and their invaluable contribution in shaping Australia,” she says. A family drama of epic proportions, in the spirit of Miller, Kazantzakis and Kambanellis, the play promises to be an impassioned night of theatre. The trilingual story, which features English, Greek and Italian, unfolds as the two main characters, 60-year-old Vasiliki and her Italian best friend Assunta find themselves greeting unexpected guests at their doors who desperately plead for assistance. Although The Gods of Strangers is a migrant story, Carapetis says that it is one that everyone can relate to, with a special emphasis on the significant role played by the women of these communities. “Its main focus is the heroic females of that era; our mothers who made the long journey to a new life in Australia and managed to raise their own families whilst trying to adjust in a culturally diverse and foreign environment,” says Carapetis. “Those women were often overlooked; they were considered weak, subservient and tired. But I am hoping that through my play I will be able to change this perception because the women I have grown up with, were and to this day remain strong, determined and resilient human beings that came out here with nothing; no language, no money and hardly any education, yet forged a beautiful life in Australia without asking [for] or receiving any recognition for what they accomplished. “It’s our duty to show each one of those mothers what they really mean to us.” ‘The Gods of Strangers’ will be on show from 14 November-2 December at the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Dunstan Playhouse (Festival Dr, Adelaide, SA).
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