Dimitris Papaioannou is internationally known for his unmistakable style of a figure-hugging picture theatre. In his new work “The Great Tamer”, living bodies and body parts protrude from the stage floor. A group of people dig up a living body – just as archaeologists dig up a memory or adventurers explore a new land. Papaioannou constantly explores the human body with all its facets. He is admired, embraced, idealized and cannibalized – but also transformed, copied and cloned. In his physical theatre – without text and merely with recurring beats from the Johann Strauss Waltz “An der schönen blauen Donau” – he seeks the essence of humanity in all its versatility. With his great performers* inside he creates a magical series of images about the cycle of life from birth to death.
As he himself puts it, all his interests come together for him in the theatre:
„As a painter, it was somewhere to paint pictures. As a cartoonist, it was somewhere to tell stories. And as a performer, it was a context in which I was able to physically and emotionally express myself. I also discovered that live action presented me with the opportunity to communicate directly.“ Dimitris Papaioannou
Born in Athens in 1964, Dimitris Papaioannou gained early recognition as a painter and comics artist, before his focus shifted to the performing arts, as director, choreographer, performer, and designer of sets, costumes, make up, and lighting. He was a student of the iconic Greek painter Yannis Tsarouchis before studying at the Athens School of Fine Arts. As an independent artist, he founded his company Edafos Dance Theatre in 1986, with whom he produced important stage productions. In 2004, Dimitris Papaioannou became the artistic director of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Athen. In 2017 he received the Special Prize oft he European Theatre Prize.