It may seem unbelievable, but there were vampires in Greece! The engaging theatrical performance by Konstantinos Dellas and his theater company “boulouki,” narrates the story of Greek vampires, based on reports in medieval and modern Greek literature.
“The Greek Vampire,” currently playing at the Municipal Theater of Piraeus, attempts to shed light on these mythical beings. While relying on the musicality of speech and the action of their bodies, the three actors provide a theatrical essence to the mainly narrative texts.
“I conceived the original idea of the play while reading an article by a Frenchman, about travelers visiting pre-revolutionary Greece and witnessing many incidents of “vampirism,” and the population’s reaction to these. I was impressed because until that time I wasn’t aware that such extreme incidents; exhumations of the dead, burning of hearts or mass incidents of paranoia, had taken place all over Greece,” said Dellas in a report in the Greek edition of euronews.
On being asked about research involved in the play, Dellas referred to several reports by travelers, urban legends from various regions of Greece, articles from local newspapers, literature, folklore and ecclesiastical texts. Together with material found on the internet, Dellas used the reports to create the play.
A person may be transformed into a vampire for many reasons, in Greek called “vrikolakas,” said Dellas. “According to local beliefs and prejudice, people who were born or conceived on a sacred day, heretics or those who had been excommunicated, professional magicians, those who had harmed society, or deceased people who’s funeral had been conducted wrongly, were all at risk of becoming vampires.”
As for getting rid of vampires, the director makes reference to both well-known and obscure methods, the use of the cross, fire and wooden stakes, decapitation of the corpse and burning of the heart. Of course, one shouldn’t forget the weapons provided by nature, sun and seawater.
Dellas also makes reference to some key stories and incidents. “While reading about a mass paranoia incident on Mykonos in 1700, along with another witness report where a dead person was considered a vampire, as he wouldn’t obey the priest’s order to eat the food brought to his grave, a text by Manos Hadjidakis came to mind, entitled “The Return of the Vampires,” in which the famous Greek composer talks about the expansion of Neo-Nazism in Europe.”
Are there truly any vampires in Greece? Dellas answers with a smile, “as long as we’re touching wood to avoid tempting fate, there will also be vampires.”