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Theodoros Angelopoulos's The Traveling Players (1975) presents itself to us in two guises: as a film that purports to represent the life of a traveling theatrical troupe as it might actually have existed during the political and economically difficult years from 1939 to 1952; and as an exploration of theater as a metaphor for a way of seeing, as a "gaze" or life text. Theater of the 1940s shares characteristics with the film through the latter's representation of a touring troupe mounting performances through the provinces of Greece under conditions of dictatorship, occupation, and civil war in disoriented towns and an unsecured countryside. Theater as a filmic metaphor, by contrast, puts history itself onstage and reveals the extent to which agency is reduced to "audiencing" and social life is prescripted. Reality becomes interchangeable with theater onstage and offstage as actuality invades the stage and dramatic mythic figures are released into social life.