The trailer of the documentary Olympia Dukakis Undefined, directed by Greek-Cypriot Harris Mavromihalis was screened at the Greek Press Office in New York. This is a feature length documentary which follows the life of the famous stage Academy awarded actress for the last two years. The documentary describes in an exclusive way the life of an artist who is in constant motion and has dedicated her life to art.
According to the film, Dukakis was born on June 20, 1931 in Lowell, Massachusetts, the daughter of Greek immigrants to the United States. She and her brother, Apollo, struggled to assimilate and found that their Greek heritage often marginalized them in a predominantly Catholic culture. Using this to her advantage, Olympia not only strengthened her character but fortified her desire to succeed. and to earn two degrees from Boston University, and later work as a physical therapist while pursuing a stage career.
Never one to stop, Dukakis has performed in over 130 productions (and counting), most recently on Broadway in the one-woman show, Rose and Tennessee Williams’ The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore. At the age of 80, she continues to perform, travel, teach, and advocate with unwavering youthfulness and enthusiasm.
This feature-length documentary follows Dukakis through the 80th and 81st years of her life – from her work that takes her around the world, to more private moments with family and friends. All of this set against the backdrop of a jam packed work schedule, the loss of her personal assistant of twenty five years, and preparation and rehearsal for one of the most challenging roles of her career, that of Sophie in Social Security, to be performed entirely in Greek.
This documentary is not merely a story about her life at this moment in time, but an intimate look at what makes life worth living and what it costs to have those things. As Dukakis is entering the eighth decade of her life, now more than ever she is beginning to face issues of aging and mortality, of sustaining a life and livelihood that has become her identity. More than a retrospective on a life well lived, this is a tale of what keeps us young and what keeps us going – of what it means, and what it takes, to never stop.