‘What is our motherland?’ Performing ‘time out of joint’ at the National Theatre of Greece (2011–13) | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2052-3971
  • E-ISSN: 2052-398X



In May 2011, the National Theatre of Greece launched its autumn 2011 to spring 2013 programme season under the title ‘Ti ine i patrida mas?’ (‘What is our motherland?’) which featured works by Greek and non-Greek artists that focused on three areas: Greeks’ perceptions of themselves, non-Greeks’ views of the country and its people, and what Greece might signify today. This two-year long season can offer insight into the National’s role amidst growing socio-political and financial crises as well as a shifting theatre and performing arts landscape. This article explores whether the ‘What is our motherland?’ season marks a change in the politics, aesthetics and practices of the National Theatre in order to offer some ways of approaching the interplay between crisis, culture and nation-building in contemporary Greece. I will argue that the National’s ostensible change of attitude, inaugurated by this season, in fact constitutes a fulfilment of its institutional role, ‘a natural affiliation between theatre and public politics on a national scale’ (Kruger 1992: 6). But what deserves further critical attention is the issue of temporality as manifested in individual works during the season. In the examples considered here, I offer some ways of reading current experiences of temporality, a time ‘out of joint’ that seems to mark the tone of Greek politics and public life since 2010.


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