Pavlos Matesis was born in 1933 in the Peloponnesian village of Divri and lived in numerous provincial towns until he was 19. He studied acting, violin and foreign languages (English, French and Spanish). He taught theatre at the Stavrakou School (1963-64) and was assistant dramaturge at the National Theatre (1971-73). He spent 1969 in London. He wrote two television series for Greek state television (1974-76) and has written texts for Floor Show. He made his literary debut in 1967 with his play The Ceremony (performed by the Nea Ionia theatre in 1967 and the National Theatre in 1969). Eleven of his 13 plays have been performed, principally by the National Theatre. His play Guardian Angel for Hire has been performed in Athens and Belgrade. Matesis has won several awards for his work, among which the 1966 State Theatre Award for The Ceremony, the Grand Critics’ Theatre Prize in 2002, and the 2002 Giusseppe Acerbi Literary Prize for his novel The Dog’s Mother. He has translated many writers into Greek including Ben Jonson, Harold Pinter, Fernando Arrabal, Antonin Artaud, Beaumarchais, Shakespeare and William Faulkner, as well eight plays of Aristophanes from Ancient into Modern Greek. His works have been translated into Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Serbo-Croatian and Spanish.
Update: We are very sad to hear that Pavlos Matesis died on 20 January 2013.
Featured Reading Group Title
What if a contagious deadly disease suddenly burst out in the Parliament?
What if, in order to prevent the spreading of the virus, the Gendarmerie built the doors and windows of the Parliament, transported all the relatives and grafters of the politicians into the main square and burnt them alive?
What if some of the Parliament’s birds ascended to the sky and transmitted the virus to celestial creatures? What if the statues peacefully walked out of the museums and asked for a glass of water?
And what if the citizens bearing witness to the later consequences of the pestilence, i.e. the capital transformed into a flat blooming valley, where the residents (formerly six million, now six thousand) live happily, see all this as a ‘happy ending’ and decide that Parliament, Law and State are unnecessary?
- Graffito is featured in our Greek Reading Group Autumn / Winter 2012-13.
- Sample Graffito excerpt (99) translated into English by Avgi Daferera (downloadable).