INTERVIEW WITH THE BULGARIAN DIRECTOR OF THÉÂTRE DE LA CITÉ GALIN STOEV
Galin Stoev is a European theater director, known for his personal approach to working with actors and his interest in contemporary drama. He has received many theatrical awards both in Bulgaria and worldwide. He has worked with Comedie Francaise, the National Theater da Colline, the BAFF Theater in Antwerp and many others. From the beginning of 2018 he is director of the National Theater in Toulouse, France. The film “The Infinite Garden”, included in the competition program of IFF Love is Folly in Varna, is his film debut.
Is your return to Bulgaria still provoking and being related to any kind of emotion, do you feel like a cosmopolitan after living abroad for quite some time?
This word “cosmopolitan” is very interesting, because in the novel “Tobacco” it has a very negative meaning, it is used towards Irina and describes someone who not only has no root, but also no direction. In the sense of something shattered and lost. I think that in the 1990s the word “cosmopolitan” absolutely turned its meaning and started to focus on people who can feel at home, wherever they are. But it’s also not to be able to feel home, wherever you are.
What about you?
I moved so much through time and space, from one context to another, that at one point I realized that the only safe point I could have and where I could ground myself is in myself.
There is most comfortable?
I’m not sure, but when you have no other option … you have to deal with it. It is very difficult, because in principle we are taught to use references that are external. To use things based on and things that existed before us, and for which we are convinced that they will always exist. So, it was difficult at first, there were such mixed emotions every time I came back. There were emotions of great love and very intense hatred that changed in five minutes. Now I am older and I think these sudden shifts are rather tiresome than serious. In this sense, I look to ignore it, to feel comfortable no matter where I am.
How do you see the change, in general, in the cultural life in Bulgaria? Do you think it’s more commercialized?
I very often think it is missing. For something to be commercialized, it must first exist. This is a very vast topic. I think it is neglected and out of control. It depends on how one will position themselves, how they will look at it. In Bulgarian Classical Literature this division was between the great patriot Ivan Vazov, who is a very serious figure who almost construct the contemporary Bulgarian language, wrote in all genres and whose novel “Under the Yoke” was chosen as the best Bulgarian novel . I think this is not a good novel, as literature piece it has no special qualities. A purely historical Vazov is extremely important, precisely by trying to create national self-consciousness and national literature. So he wrote in all genres. This, however, is confused with quality literature. The fact that we can not make a difference between one and the other is very worrying and I think it is a lack of culture or rather a lack of codes to rely on. By this I do not want to say anything bad about Vazov, on the contrary – I think he is very important. But Vazov and the circle around him have insisted after the Liberation that we must inflate great self-confidence inside the Bulgarian so that he can lift up his head, think for himself and can exist without complexity and build his identity.
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