Friday, 14 June 2013

A classic way to end the Corfiot school term

A high wind whips through the trees as the children prepare for the end of term show.

The stage is set up outside on the gravelled playground and it's blowing a hooley. The mothers and fathers, aunties and uncles and grandparents are huddled around tables, waiting for the concert to begin.

A group of six-year-olds, the boys dressed as ancient Greek soldiers and the girls in classical-style, white dresses, each with one shoulder bared, come on to the stage, egged on by their glamorous teacher in heels as high as the mountain that overlooks the village.
There is a stage backdrop depicting the rocky outcrop of the Athenian Acropolis and the Parthenon.

The children act, they dance and they sing as the women go on strike and withdraw their labour as a protest at their husbands being away at war.

With Greek music, extracts from the sassy and laid-back theme tune to The Pink Panther and a disco ballad, the girls take the higher moral ground and refuse to co-operate unless their menfolk come home.

It is a classical tale of gender wars, based on Lysistrata by Aristophanes, a comic account of one woman's determination to end the Peloponnesian War and first performed in 411 BC.

It is clear the children do not know too much about the strike, which is probably just as well, but they perform their version of the play with aplomb and great enthusiasm.

Their marathon effort is followed by short performances by older classes, ending in a spirited rendition of the hokey cokey in Greek.

And then the games begin, with the children high on the wind and cans of Coke and the parents having a beer and looking forward to a souvlaki a bit later on. They run in lines to retrieve marshmallows buried in two cream cakes and then dance to Gangnam Style as the PE teacher prepares for musical chairs.

And when the victor is declared, his dancing classmates run to him, crowd around and raise him aloft as if he had just won the Olympic Games.

They are excited, happy and full of good spirit, especially to each other. Which is hardly surprising as they are now on holiday for ten whole weeks. An endless summer stretching out before them, a real one rather than the ones of our own rosy-tinted childhood.

As we headed home at just after eight o'clock, the fun continued well into the night, the last ones winding their way back at one o'clock.

So kalés diakopés to children and adults everywhere. Happy holidays.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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