Sotiris Spatharis

From Phantis
Jump to: navigation, search

Sotiris Spatharis was a Greek master of the "shadow theatre" (Greek: Θέατρο Σκιων) which brought to life the humourous adventures of Karagiozis, a wretched hunch-backed Greek, who tries to make his way through life in the Ottoman Empire, often with hair-brained schemes that, more often than not, backfire.

Spatharis was born on the island of Santorini in 1892. At a young age he moved to the Metaxourgio section of Athens, where he learned the art of the shadow theatre from Theodoros Theodorellos, a pupil of Mimaros.

Already by 1909, Spatharis started touring Greece with a repertoire of over 30 original Karagiozis episodes, mostly taken from the situations of life in his own time period. Spatharis was considered a great success in his day and passed his "art" down to his son, Evgenios Spatharis, every bit the equal of his father.

Sotiris Spatharis brought many innovations into the shadow theatre that other artists also adopted. He also became involved in matters concerning his fellow artists and was one of the founders of the Panhellenic Union of Karagiozis-players that was formed in 1924.

In 1950, Spatharis started writing his Memoirs that were first published in 1960 giving historians much material on the origins and development of the shadow theatre.

He died on April 17, 1974, holding tightly in his arms his figure of the Pasha.