The Lady of Ro
by Gianni Skaragas
A stirring, lyrical story about things that touch and test our human core, The Lady of Ro captures the essence of life that, in its very unfolding, seems to be slipping away before our grasp. It is about what happens to the dreams we hold close during war time, the ties that bind daughters and mothers, husbands and wives, folk legends and madwomen to one another and to the places they call home.
And how every story—of love or mourning—is about fighting our way though history and back into what makes us human.
The Lady of Ro invites us into the ascetic world of a woman who lives alone on a small island questioning the values she once held true. Through heartbreak, grief and courage, she becomes one of her country’s best-loved icons.
The story is inspired by the life of Despina Achladioti, the Greek widow known as the Lady of Ro, after the deserted island where she took refuge during the two world wars. For Despina opening her eyes to how the world is changing meant being an outlier. She was born on the island of Kastellorizo, but sailed with her husband to the nearby deserted island of Ro, a stone’s throw from Turkey’s southern coastline. Despina watched from her island as Kastellorizo was invaded by Italians, bombed by Germans and all the island’s residents were evacuated from their homes by British forces to then Palestine and Egypt. Achladioti’s fame rests on her persistence, from the time she arrived on the island until her death on May 13, 1982 at the age of 92, to raise the Greek flag. When Greece and Turkey went to war over Cyprus in the mid-1970s, the Lady of Ro became a hero and folk legend.
The Lady of Ro celebrates the will to survive in the most desperate of circumstances, weaving together a stunning mosaic of human experience and dramatic scenes from Greek history during the first half of the 20th century. Her version of Greece is infused by a powerful understanding of human beings and touched with the fierce beauty of the wounds we bear and the light that radiates from us all.
The Lady of Ro will break and mend your heart.
Director: Katerina Bertheka
Starring: Fotini Baxevani
Assistant Director: Marianthi Bayraktari
Set/Costume Designer: Yorgos Gavalas
Light Designer: Lefteris Pavlopoulos
Cello: Tasos Misirlis
Performance Dates and Times: October 5-22, 2017
Tour Dates to be announced
Athens Performance Location: Sfendoni Theatre