- Saloni M swims East
Titiana Varkopoulos is
a community theatre worker and playwright. She has worked with young
people from diverse cultural backgrounds on theatre projects at local
government in Melbourne and at Footscray Community Arts Center - for Y3P
and SCRAYP. She has co-directed and co-written Such is Life
for Y3P, co-written Letters of Freedom for SCRAYP, directed and
co-wrote Terra Nullius at the Courthouse Youth Arts Centre in Geelong
and worked as a writing/script facilitator for the project Week
with Platform Youth Theatre.
has also written We Danced with our Shadows (1997 - The Organ Factory),
She Who Changes (1998 - Melbourne Fringe), and Ella the Ethereal
(2000). She has been a recipient of a playwriting mentorship from
YPAA in 2000. In 2002 she was awarded an Arts and Skills Development Grant
from the Community Cultural Development Board of the Australia Council
for the Arts. She most recently performed the piece Daughter of the
Boatmen for the I.D. Club at The Carnivale Festival in Sydney.
the Saloni M swims East
event on Friday, December 5,
she was going to present the following, but due to circumstances beyond
her control, she was not able to:
The Bride Wore a Veil of Woven Lace,
a spoken word performance.
The Bride Wore a Veil of Woven Lace
A traditional Greek wedding song is chanted by a chorus as the bride
in her gown and veil enters.
Simera gamos, simera giamos ginete
Simera gamos, simera giamos ginete…
The bride speaks:
I wear my bridal veil
My veil of woven lace
Hand crafted and stitched
Sown in the tradition of thirty days
Prepared for the day I am to wed
And the coming life I am to lead.
The chanting and music fade up, and then chorus continues:
Man and woman
To be married
With all the town to witness it.
But what comes next is unexpected
Strange men barge in
Men with beards and swords
I sense an omen in the air…
They take me away.
I can hear the wails of the women
Is that my mother?
Or my grandmother?
Is it my sister?
My father, my brother, my husband
Are gathering with weapons to come for me…
But it’s too late.
Her blood nourishes the earth
And the land thrives on the blood and bones
Of its people.
What was once valleys of barren soil
Mountainous views and glistening blue waters
White houses perched on the hills
All that remains
Is the slaughter and bloodshed
This is a custom of hate that fills the world.
My name is Barkopoulou
I am the daughter of the boatmen
In Greek-Turkish dialect it was Kaitzoglou
It changed to Barkopoulou
when my family fled to Greece
My grandfather/ by boat/ as a child/ as a refugee/
His father and sister were beheaded
The bride, as part of an ancient ritual, stains her white skin and
dress with blood.
One of many
Of migration and refuge
In other lands as refugees
My name means ‘of the boat’
I am a daughter of the boatmen
Remember my name
Because I am no more.
In each lineage
A child is born
A child that can change destiny
A child forged on the fire
A fire of baptism
Of a woman born
Out of the mythology of her people
Of mythos and logos
The story and the word
But who tells the story?
The man and the sword
East and west
Share a history of bloodshed
And that is the repetition
Who then are the true barbarians?
The Greeks, the Persians, the Romans, the Ottomans, the Israelis, the
Portugese, the Spanish, the English, the Americans, the Australians and
so on and so on and so on….
All are guilty of this sin
And sin it is
The song is raised once more:
Simera gamos, simera gamos
The bride is now smeared and stained with the blood of her life.
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