"Ayşem" A story with janissaries and vampires in Ottoman Crete

The theatrical group Splish-Splash travels to Rethymno and in collaboration with the Institute for Mediterranean Studies / FORTH presents in a nationwide premiere the black comedy "Ayşem" on June 11 at the "Erofili" theater in Fortezza.

Splish-Splash have completed 18 years of original theatrical creation, characterized by the intense movement and expression of the actors, its original music and fast rhythm. The aesthetics of black and white, the lack of speech in the footsteps of silent cinema, the combination of comic and tragic elements, the demystification of the heroes and the plot twists are the materials on which the group's creations are based. The performances of Splish-Splash, wherever they have been presented, have been loved by the public because of their special character, which allows viewers to watch the stories told, while reliving the years of black and white films.

"Ayşem" is a fiction, inspired by real people and events of the Ottoman era; it describes the efforts of a film crew to complete the shooting of a movie which brings to life the myth of a Cretan girl falling in love with a young man in a village of Crete during the years of Ottoman rule. The young man converts to Islam and becomes a Janissary, so that he can marry his beloved neighbor. However, the parents' quarrel will lead to the "accidental" death of the young man's father. Time will begin to heal the grief of the young man, but it will also bring the ghost of the father to the couple's house. Then the French merchant Reybaud enters their lives, bringing promises of a profitable business. But will his presence turn out to be the answer to the couple’s problems or a disaster?


aysem_posterTheater: Erofili – Fortezza
Day: Saturday 11/6
Time: 21:15 
Duration: 90 minutes 
Ticket Price: General Admission: 10 € 

Advance ticket sales: from 1/6 here

Cast and Contributors:
Screenplay-Direction: Johnny O 
Assistant director: Maria Nikolaidou 
Settings designer: Antonis Nomikos 
Costume designer: Maria Georgatou 
Music: Vassilis Babounis 
Narration-Singing: Angeliki Agalianou 
Lyra-Singing: George Xagoraris 
Poster-Photos: Eleftheria Ike 
Cast: Argyro Tamvakou, George Dousis, Vassilis Kazis, Dinos Pontikopoulos, Simos Kyparissopoulos, Johnny O


"Ayşem" is an original theatrical work written under the scientific guidance of IMS/FORTH researchers Υannis Spyropoulos and Marinos Sariyannis in order to popularize and communicate parts of the actions and output of the research programs hosted by the IMS/FORTH:

"GHOST: Geographies and Histories of the Ottoman Supernatural Tradition: Exploring Magic, the Marvelous, and the Strange in Ottoman Mentalities" (2017-2023)

"JaNet: Janissaries in Ottoman Port-Cities: Muslim Financial and Political Networks in the Early Modern Mediterranean" (2019-2025)