Sailing Theater Troupe Tour Reaches Greece, Performs at Refugee Camp on Lesvos

ODYSSEY hoppetItalian director Michele Losi, helped initiate a European Union-sponsored theater endeavor, to have a theater troupe sailing the Mediterranean, performing in various countries.

Most recently they have performed for refugees on the Greek Island of Lesvos.

For the past two summers, the theater project “Meeting the Odyssey” has been touring Europe by boat. Starting in 2014 the troupe and their boat endeavored on a three-year journey around Europe by sea and river.

The troupe is composed of actors from a total of eight European countries and performs various plays inspired by Homer’s “Odyssey” and gives workshops for adults and children to participate.

In recent years the projects of the theater have become more politically motivated as they saw the need for theater to be incorporated into the lives of the refugees in Greece.

After they arrived on the European theater ship “Hoppet” at the port in Lesvos, it took the group several days to set up its performances, but in the end, they were able to visit the Kara Tepe refugee camp, where they made quite an impact.

“In our country, there was no room for plays, dreams and theater, and the same goes for the camps,” a refugee named Mohamed said, according to dw.com. The young Syrian in his early 20s took part in one of the workshops offered by Italian directors Gian Carlo and Lino Losi. The course lasts five-days and details theater exercises, improvisation, and group exercises, all taking place on the open stage of the Castle of Mytilini.

The theatre gives refugees the chance to escape from their circumstances, even if for just a brief amount of time. It also has inspired many of the children to pursue a career as an actor when they grow up.

“We cannot save the world with our theater,” tour manager Matilda von Weissenberg said to dw.com. “But perhaps we can give something back to these people who have lost all hope – like dreams or a goal.”