Athens: row over Covid rules at Rhinoceros production

The popular Greek actor Aris Servetalis has renounced his leading role in Eugène Ionesco's play Rhinoceros because he doesn't agree with new Covid rules under which unvaccinated people are not allowed into the theater. The performances in Athens have been cancelled. The fact that the play is about resistance to social conformism makes the dispute all the more interesting for commentators.

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A new anti-system movement

Protagon explains why many vaccinated people also support Servetalis in social networks:

“The anti-vaccination movement has become a new form of anti-system movement. Even for many vaccinated people, anti-vaxxers are people who oppose the system, and the unvaccinated are victims of oppression by an establishment with totalitarian traits. And instead of seeing vaccination as an act of resistance against the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, it is seen as a repressive instrument of the system. ... In the eyes of this section of society, Servetalis is a man struggling to shake off the yoke of the system.”


Servetalis's critics have turned into rhinoceroses

In Ionesco's play, Servetalis plays the main character Berenger, the only inhabitant of a village who does not turn into a rhinoceros and thus becomes a symbol against conformism. Columnist Dimitris Tsirkas sees parallels with the current debate in a Facebook post published by TVXS:

“Servetalis's critics will accuse him of anything rather than admitting that what really bothers them is not his 'selfish' motives or his 'inconsistency,' but the fact that he won't accept the exclusion of the unvaccinated. Worse still, his decision reveals the arbitrary and punitive nature of the exclusion which they, however, support. And it's simply hard to admit that you wholeheartedly support social cannibalism against a certain category of people. That you have turned into a rhinoceros.”