Dear friend of Ikaria,
Do you know this feeling: of walking past a building every day, wondering what its history is, but never finding out? I had this every time I would walk the road from Evdilos to Akamatra. On that road there’s the construction that you see in the photo. It are the remnants of what is left of a theatre! But this I only found out recently, while I was reading a book about Ikaria: the Pramnia Epea of mister Kostas Rozos (strongly recomended). One chapter refers to Daskalaki (the little teacher), a character that built this theater all by himself. This man moved my curiosity and of course I wanted to learn more about him.
Daskalaki was a local teacher and he got his nickname because he was quite short. He was born around 1903 and appointed as a teacher in his twenties. He was calling the school “The University of Evdilos”. His methods were controversial because on the one hand he was very strict with his students (in those years parents used to say to the teachers: “The bones are mine, the meat is yours”, a saying that testifies for the severe teaching and punishment methods). On the other hand his old students now still say that whatever they learned from him is still in their memory, because his lessons were very interactive.
Daskalaki was very expressive, talked loud and was constantly moving his hands and body while he was giving for example a history lesson (back then teachers used to teach all the lessons and not only one field). His energy was contagious: also his students started to be more expressive. When Greece had won a battle they would celebrate in the class, when Greece had lost a battle they would show their disappointment.
Politically he belonged mostly to the right side of ideology (keep that in mind because there is a nice story about it). He was also very fond of festivities and until today everybody remembers the way he was organizing the school events and other festivals (also about this I have another picturesque story up in my sleeve). The students would always help him out to set up the events because most of the time they were really big and interactive, and nobody of the whole area of Evdilos wanted to miss it!
From that love for festivals and events he decided to build that theatre in Evdilos town. It was his dream to have many theater performances and to host big names. By his own expenses and all by himself, he started building it: he hired every builder in the area and because there were so many workers they would work in turns. But there was a restriction: as a builder for Daskaliki you had to spend a certain amount of your salary in the grocery shop of his nephew! But nobody disagreed: Daskalaki was such a fair employer that many of the workers were spending all their money in that grocery store!
Unfortunately the theatre was never put to use … Daskalaki died quite young, in his seventies, and for many years the theatre was given to the students as a place for gymnastics. Nowadays that construction is a private property that belongs to his family. However, while the theatre was under construction a lot of interesting and sometimes humorous things happened, stories that I will tell you in my next story …
Hope you enjoyed the content ...
Mazari G. Eleni