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Greeks Have a Word--Satire--for Papandreou’s Love Affair

Associated Press

Politics and sex, the mix that has rocked Greek theater for 2,400 years, is finding new life in satirical shows that mock Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou and his relationship with a former flight attendant.

Greeks are packing the capital’s theaters to laugh at satires of the 69-year-old Socialist premier, who is carrying on a public relationship with 34-year-old Dimitra Liani while his governing Panhellenic Socialist Movement is besieged by financial scandals.

Public affairs--sexual and political--have been favorite topics for Greek comedians since the playwright Aristophanes made the combination a smash hit in the 5th Century BC.

Papandreou’s heart operation in London last September inspired the title of a popular revue, “Post-Aorta Greece,” written and directed by Lakis Lazopoulos, Greece’s top satirist.

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Lazopoulos asks innocently at each show: “If a newcomer to Athens saw Andreas and Dimitra walking and holding hands, what would he think?”

“That there’s a nice girl helping an old man cross the street,” comes the answer.

Outside the Vembo Theater a giant poster of Papandreou and Liani embracing advertises “Little Dimitra’s Sweetheart,” a take-off of a classic Greek folklore play, “The Little Shepherdess’s Sweetheart.”

In the show, an Athens housewife is asked whether the prime minister’s pre-election pledges of political and social change have been fulfilled.

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“Andreas has made one change OK. He changed his American woman for a Greek,” she answers as the audience breaks into enthusiastic applause.

Three months ago, Papandreou said he will divorce his 66-year-old American-born wife Margaret, but no proceedings have yet been started. The blonde Liani has been divorced twice.

Six political revues are playing over the holiday season.

According to box-office figures, the shows are grossing up to $37,500 a week, twice as much as the most successful drama in Athens.

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