When Alex Lykos first wrote the script for Alex and Eve, Greece was still under the Euro 2004 Soccer Championship tournament effect and things were relatively quieter in that part of the globe.
Meanwhile, Lebanon was receiving the first blow of a series of bombings and assassinations, most of them occurring in and around the capital Beirut.
The Alex and Eve romance, however, evolves in the land Down Under in one of Sydney’s most populated migrant neighbourhoods.
It wasn’t until 2006 that the play was staged and produced by the Bulldog Theatre Company. The idea was so successful for the fledgling company that it spawned two sequels.
Divided into three parts: Alex and Eve, Alex and Eve the Wedding and Alex and Eve the baby, saw all performances of all shows sold out and the story receiving critical acclaim nationwide.
Over the last decade, the Alex and Eve plays have been seen by more than 25,000 people in Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide, including many members of the Greek Australian and Lebanese Australian communities.
Meanwhile, the Alex and Eve motion picture, released in 2015, which was based on the first play and featured the beginning of the second part (i.e. the wedding), also became a huge success and even made it to the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival.
Now, in 2016, the couple returns to where it all began, the stage, in a show that condenses six hours of theatre into two.
“I first wrote this show in 2004 and I thought it was quite timely back then,” Alex Lykos tells Neos Kosmos. “I felt that I could create a piece of art that encourages tolerance and understanding and compromise and love above all else.”
Back in 2010, Alex had begun to believe that the cultural clashes that came from being a ‘wog’ or a Muslim in Australia, felt dated.
“In 2011 and 2012 I thought that finally people were getting along. But now, with the emergence of ISIS and all that’s been happening around the world every day I’d say it gets timelier every day,” he adds.
“With the recent spike of terrorist attacks the story is now more pertinent than ever.”
It did not take long for Alex to see his story as a means to bring people closer together and respond to several nationalist viewpoints that are “over the top”.
The Greek Australian writer and director believes migration and refugee issues are far more complex than people tend to believe.
“The idea to stop the immigration of Muslims altogether just because a few people of that background are terrorists is absurd,” he emphasises.
“To me it almost seems like saying we will stop the migration of Catholics in the country just because some priests did what they did to children. If that’s the line that you want to take, then you need to be consistent and prevent the migration of every pocket of ethnicity that is committing heinous crimes and pedophilia is up there with murder. Is it really that black and white?” he wonders.
Alex understands that people are becoming polarised due the shocking nature of terrorism crimes. Unexpected ‘hits’ across the globe and newspaper covers donning children in body bags are turning people against each other, when, in fact, there is no differentiation behind basic human instincts.
“Humans are humans, we’ve all got our foibles, we’ve all got our Achilles heels but at the end of the day you do want to try and kind of live a normal healthy life,” he says.
“How one goes about living their happy healthy life is different, but our core is the same. We want the best for our kids, we want them to be happy.”
“The story touches on all the cross-cultural difficulties, sometimes it can get uncomfortable and confronting but eventually gives people hope.”
This is the argument he tries to explore in Alex and Eve, portraying two sets of parents that are opposing each other, when in reality they both want the same things.
“People of all backgrounds have related to the Greek father and the Arab mother in particular. I think that as much as we fear the other person when we think we don’t connect with them, it comes down to being the same. I think that’s set the play and film apart from other romantic comedies with an ethnic twist; it resonates, especially in today’s current climate. That’s what’s great about this show.
Hypothesis: Alex is a single 35-year-old school teacher who believes he is destined to spend the rest of his life alone, living with his parents. While they step up the pressure for him to marry a good Greek Orthodox girl. His fortune takes a miraculous turn when at a party and after a few mishaps he meets Eve, an attractive corporate type. Eve is Lebanese Muslim. Alex is initially reluctant and fears both families will have a problem with the religious background conflict. To complicate matters, Eve’s parents have reached breaking point with their 30-year-old daughter and want her to marry a Muslim man who flies all the way from Lebanon with his family.
When & where:
-In Sydney from 23 – 27 August
-In Melbourne from 1 – 4 September
For further information go to bulldogtheatre.com or call 02 9550 3666