I Want a Country is a critical approach to the country that we live in, juxtaposed with the country we envision. (But, of course, a group of people may imagine an ideal country in different ways. And then the conflict begins.) Its writing was triggered by the Greek and global financial crisis, which would prove to be a multidimensional crisis of identity.

I started writing I Want a Country in the summer of 2012, in our country house at Pelio, near the Aegean Sea. It had been an extremely difficult period for Greece, which was suddenly in untold bankruptcy. The financial crisis carried a social crisis with it, as well as personal deadlocks and anxieties. When I began to work on the play, I wasn’t quite sure of exactly what I was writing. It seemed to be a play without a single solid character or any plot (at least the sort of plot that a writer should have in mind), without a definite number of voices, or even a fixed setting. But a great burden was lifted from my shoulders when the play was finished. I had no intention whatsoever of shopping it around to any directors or producers. Then, in the autumn of 2012, the Royal Court Theatre in London asked me to participate in a playwriting project as a part of an event called The Big Idea: PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain, the countries that were held responsible for the financial crisis in Europe). I told them that I would send along something that I had already written, believing they might find it to be quite odd. On the contrary, they seemed to appreciate it, and a 30-minute extract was translated into English by Alexi Kaye Campbell and presented at the Royal Court Theatre in June, 2012. Richard Twyman was the director. In light of the audience response, the theater commissioned the translation of the entire play. And that was the beginning.

~ Andreas Flourakis

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