Literary Arts

Eleni Sikelianos' play, You Animal Machine, stage in Athens in spring 2024

Nostalghia Theater Co. in Athens, Greece is presenting a stage adaptation of You Animal Machine, a work by poet Eleni Sikelianos from 16 February through 21 April 2024. dives into the exuberant universe of Eleni Sikelianos. The play adaptation (working from a translation by Katerina Schina) has been widely covered in Greek media, on television and in major newspapers and magazines.

In You Animal Machine, Sikelianos writes the story of her grandmother, the Golden Greek, Eleni Papamarkou, who married five times, had three children, was a burlesque dancer named "Melena, The Leopard Girl", but also "the toughest, hardest-assed woman to ever eat wood and bite nails on the face of the earth." This story includes morphine addicts and heroin addicts, refugees, rembetes, aristocrats from the Ionian, Jews from Lithuania, musicians, waiters, a painter, several poets, opium traffickers and a dwarf (one of Helen's five husbands).
The play features transformations on a theater stage where tradition meets digital technology, unfolding a multi-layered narrative within a psychedelic world, a place where ancestors take on three-dimensional texture and reveal their most unexpected thoughts.
Eleni Sikelianos is professor of Literary Arts at Brown University.