UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center Partners with US Embassy in Greece for “Makriyannis Unplugged”

Published: April 14, 2021

Yorgos Karamihos, actor, playwright and director, brings Makriyannis Unplugged to UCLA November 7. Photo by Shahar Stroh

The National Herald | 4/14/2021

The UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture (UCLA SNF Center) has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Greece to support the Athens’ performance of Makriyannis Unplugged, a contemporary retelling of the life and memoirs of Yannis Makriyannis, who played an essential role in the 1821 Greek War of Independence. Written and performed by actor and director Yorgos Karamihos (The Durrells in Corfu; Fugitive Pieces; Like Chef, Like God), the play premieres at UCLA on November 7, 2021.

“The U.S. Embassy’s support for Makriyannis Unplugged helps to tell the compelling story of this crucial character in Modern Greek history,” said Sharon Gerstel, director of the UCLA SNF Hellenic Center, professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology, and the George P. Kolovos Family Centennial Term Chair in Hellenic Studies. “Under Yorgos Karamihos’ creative guidance, the production will speak to a wider audience and educate all generations about this celebrated individual and his contributions. We are grateful to the U.S. Embassy in Greece for their generosity, and look forward to collaborating on this inspired production.”

The performance explores the life of General Yannis Makriyannis, who is regarded as the key figure in the 1821 Greek War of Independence, and a leading agent in the creation of the first Greek Constitution in 1844. This contemporary interpretation of the Memoirs of Yannis Makriyannis and his contributions to the War of Independence sheds light on the historical events that led to the creation of the Modern Greek state.

“Makriyannis has always been a beacon in my life,” said Yorgos Karamihos. “A beacon of compassion, clarity, struggle, creativity, and love. He reinvented himself in order to achieve his ultimate goal. No excuse, no obstacle is enough to stop him from fighting for freedom— spiritually, emotionally, physically. Liberation is his journey. Hopefully, it will be ours too, through this production.”

“I am delighted to include the Makriyannis Unplugged performance in the U.S. Embassy’s campaign, ‘USA & Greece: Celebrating 200 Years of Friendship,’ which highlights the role of American Philhellenes in the Greek Revolution and the bonds of mutual respect and shared values that unite our peoples. Greece’s bicentennial is an opportunity for the United States to celebrate our historic friendship with Greece and chart an agenda for our shared future. Our partnership with the UCLA SNF Center builds on the already strong bonds between Greek and American academic and cultural organizations,” Ambassador Geoffrey R. Pyatt noted.

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