PEN American Center presents: A TRIBUTE TO C. P. CAVAFY
Monday, November 18, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
The Town Hall, 123 W. 43rd Street, NYC
$20/$15 for PEN Members, Students & Seniors
800-982-2787 | ticketmaster.com | Box office: Mon – Sat: 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Theatrical Evening Commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Influential Greek Poet’s Birth with Olympia Dukakis, Orhan Pamuk, Kathleen Turner, Michael Cunningham, Daniel Mendelsohn, and others
Artwork by David Hockney Based On His 1961 Cavafy-Inspired Etchings
NEW YORK, October 9, 2013 — PEN American Center will present a tribute to C. P. Cavafy to commemorate the 150th anniversary of his birth on Monday, November 18 at New York City’s Town Hall. The theatrical evening will combine performances, personal and scholarly reflections, onstage interviews, “live translations,” and musical numbers that will bring his work to life for contemporary audiences. The event is made possible through a sponsorship from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, in conjunction with the Onassis Foundation (USA) and PEN American Center.
“One hundred and fifty years after his birth, C.P. Cavafy remains one of our greatest but also most mysterious modern poets,” said Stelios Vasilakis, Senior Program Officer and Co-Chief Public Affairs at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. “His name is known to many, and so are couple of his greatest poems, but the vast body of his work is only known to few. PENAmericanCenter’s Tribute is a big step towards introducing the work of the eminent Alexandrian to a larger audience.”
Considered one of the most original and influential Greek poets of the 20th century, Cavafy has been widely admired for his contemporary use of language, charged with irony, homoeroticism, longing, and deep reflections on history and philosophy. The 90-minute presentation, segmented into 10 distinct elements, will reflect Cavafy’s life, work and legacy.
The evening’s concept was developed by Daniel Mendelsohn and László Jakab Orsós (director of PEN’s World Voices Festival), and will be directed by Rachel Chavkin (director of Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.)
Featured participants include Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, Oscar-winning actress Olympia Dukakis, writers Daniel Mendelsohn and Edmund Keeley (both scholars and translators of Cavafy), architect Craig Dykers (of Snøhetta, the architects who recently designed The Royal Library of Alexandria) and Greek choreographer/stage director Dimitris Papaioannou, who directed the Athens Olympics opening/closing ceremonies, poet Mark Doty, writers Michael Cunningham and André Aciman and actress Kathleen Turner, among others.
The event will also include David Hockney‘s illustrations based on poems by Cavafy and considered some of the artist’s most accomplished line drawings, as well as a short video based on Cavafy’s signature poems.
“Cavafy, cosmopolitan and philosophical, has been able through the legacy of the Hellenic spirit to transcend geography and history and become forever contemporary, indeed timeless and universal,” said Ambassador Tsilas, Executive Director of the Onassis Foundation (USA).
The Cavafy tribute will be the first in the re-launched PEN American Center Tribute series. The next tribute will take place during the 2014 World Voices Festival from Monday, April 28th through Sunday, May 4,2014. For more information, please visit: pentributeseries.org.
“PEN American Center will revive our beloved tribute series this November with great enthusiasm and reverence,” said Suzanne Nossel, the Executive Director. “It is particularly rewarding to us that the first event of this new phase of the series honors C.P. Cavafy, a Greek poet, whose work so elegantly expresses all of PEN’s core missions: the celebration of creativity, the power of the written word, and freedom of expression.”
Founded in 1922, PEN American Center is a fellowship of writers dedicated to defending freedom of expression and persecuted writers and journalists, advancing literature and literary translation, and fostering international literary exchange. It is the largest and most active of the 145 chapters in 101 countries that comprise International PEN (founded in 1921).
About the SNF
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (www.SNF.org) is one of the world’s leading international philanthropic organizations, making grants in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and medicine, and social welfare. The Foundation funds organizations and projects that exhibit strong leadership and sound management and are expected to achieve a broad, lasting and positive social impact. The Foundation also seeks actively to support projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as effective means for serving public welfare.
From 1996 until today, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has approved grant commitments of $1.39 billion / €1.06 billion, through 2,511 grants to nonprofit organizations in 109 nations around the world. Excluding the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), the Foundation’s funding is equally divided between grants in Greece and international ones.
About the Onassis Foundation
The Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation was established in 1975 in accordance with Aristotle Onassis’s will in the memory of his son, Alexander. Major public benefit projects in the domains of culture, education, the environment, health, and social solidarity that relate to Greece or Greek culture and civilization are its primary mission. The affiliate Onassis Foundation (USA), based in New York, was established in 1999 to advance the understanding of Hellenic culture in North and South America through its cultural and educational programs, namely the Onassis Cultural Center NY and the University Seminars Program. For more information, please visit www.onassis.gr and www.onassisusa.org.