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Two actors travel around the world with the story of Yavorov

12 November 2014 / 20:11:09  GRReporter
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Irmena Chichikova: I have noticed that where we have performed, outside Bulgaria, there are not many visiting performances. Therefore, the appearance of such a play is always considered as a holiday. After the performance we meet with people, speak with them, they express their emotions and feelings. This is very nice. In Bulgaria, it is just a performance whereas outside it is something special.

The play around the world

Hristo Bonin: We were first in Canada, and then in Vienna, they invited us to Brussels afterwards and to London. There will be a performance at Poznan University in Poland that has a Department of Bulgarian language. The Bulgarian community in Cyprus has invited us as well but due to problems, the performance has been postponed.

Last year "Sfumato" theatre organized a massive campaign addressed to all Bulgarian cultural institutes and embassies. The performance in Athens is actually a result of it. We proposed three titles of productions that are smaller and mobile, and can be in favour of events such as national holidays, including 3 March and the Day of National Revival Leaders. In addition to "Nirvana" we proposed the performances "Dance of Death" based on texts by August Strindberg and featuring Svetlana Yancheva, Vladimir Penev and Tsvetan Alexiev, and "Between the Holidays" by Margarita Mladenova, based on texts by Stefan Ivanov, who is a very young playwright. However, "Nirvana" seems to be the most suitable performance for the Bulgarian communities and the specific occasions. Perhaps that is why the interest in it is greater.


Hristo Bonin: The play was staged in 2009. In 2010, we participated in all theatre festivals in Bulgaria. We took part in the Varna Summer International Theatre Festival, the festival of chamber theatre forms in Vratsa, where we received awards for best actor, director and music. In Pazardzhik, where the play was staged for the first time in the local theatre, I received a theatre award for my role at the annual awards for culture. I also had a nomination for "Askeer" for best male actor but I did not win. Assen Avramov has "Askeer" for music.

Bulgarian culture today

Hristo Bonin: As the president of the Union of Artists likes to say, "Unless the budget for culture reaches 2%, it makes no sense to talk and rush to do anything because it will not happen." Another distinguished director, Yavor Gurdev, says, "The Minister of Culture is the beggar among ministers, because he begs mere pennies for something that should be funded by the state. Because a country is based on its culture, i.e. if you do not preserve and develop the culture of a nation, it dies. This is a matter of policy.

We see, however, that this process has been going on for years and I feel that this is intentional."

Irmena Chichikova: I think that entering into the vicious circle of creating performances that are easily assimilated, non-burdening, uninvolving and totally underestimating the intelligence and the capabilities of perception of culture in general is intentional too.

Accordingly, an increasing number of people want to see such things and require them in some way. So, it turns out that theatre is subject to the desire of the audience, instead of teaching people as regards taste and style, and provoking them to think, be excited, and go deep into serious topics. For me one of the worst things that I unfortunately encounter both among the audience and among close people is that everyone is so exhausted, tired and hard-bitten that they have no strength to watch performances, which will upset them, make them go deep into themselves or will defocus them. Therefore, the majority of people want to see something that will pass, leaving nothing and making them laugh.

Hristo Bonin: Even intelligent people such as doctors, teachers, prefer to go to laugh a little after the hard day they have had, to relax, rather than seeing something serious that will again bring them back to some problems and thoughts.

Irmena Chichikova: In Bulgaria, there definitely is a theatre audience. From the time I was a student to the present day, the feeling is that there has been development, theatre halls are full. However, in particular the reforms in recent years and all those changes have led to the entering into a vicious circle. You are almost obliged to offer the audience something they want from you, for the sake of securing the number of tickets, the attendance, the allocation of budgets to make theatre in the end and, eventually, something more valuable and more serious among other things.

Theatre as a job in Bulgaria
Irmena Chichikova: For me, theatre is not the place for a real income. It is just something through which I develop my spirituality and enrich myself as an actress. In no way do I perceive it as something to make money from. There is no way to make it in view of the fact that the latest performances in which I have taken part were independent projects, the funding of which was very difficult, and we staged an average of 10 performances. Inhuman efforts are put into this, the rehearsals go on for three months during which we are paid nothing.

Hristo Bonin: Only a few colleagues are engaged in theatre and earn money from it, but they are popular on television as well. That popularity actually gives them the freedom to travel and present many performances that bring them higher payment to make a living from it.

Tags: TheatreNirvanaTheatre workshop SfumatoPeyo YavorovLoraIrmena ChichikovaHristo BoninAthensDay of National Revival Leaders
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