Mrs. Calamity of all Elements, The Eighth Wonder of the World

People | February 9, 2007, Friday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Mrs. Calamity of all Elements, The Eighth Wonder of the World Photo by Yuliana Nikolova (Sofia Photo Agency)

Calamity of all elements, the eighth wonder of the world, a theater hooligan... these are all just some of the loving names that Bulgaria uses to call one of its greatest actresses Stoyanka Mutafova.

By Petya Sabinova

The first-ever winner of the Golden Kouker given for a lifetime of exceptional achievements in Bulgaria's theater, Mutafova celebrated her 85th birthday recently the same way she spent most of her life - on stage. The dozens of friends and hundreds of flowers showed more than anything that in her 55 years of performances Mutafova has managed to capture the hearts of thousands of Bulgarians. And to repay them all she promised to continue playing beyond her 91st birthday.

Each of her fellow actors have personal impressions of Mrs. Calamity of all Elements, but one thing they all share is the awe at her never-ending energy and passion for theater, even at this age. "Before she goes on stage she needs help climbing the stairs, but once she appears before the audience she's unstoppable," actor Ivan Burnev comments. The truth is that four generations relate some of their best experiences in the theater with Mutafova and her unforgettable characters.

But although she is the queen of comedy, Bulgaria's own world wonder admits that she is a rather sad person. "When I am happy I'm really happy, but when I'm sad, well then I plunge into the deepest holes ever," she admits. The love of her life, her third husband Neycho Popov, leaves her a young widow and since then it has always been just her, her daughter Maria and the theater. People wonder how I can live all alone in the foothills of Vitosha, but the truth is, I wouldn't trade my life, the actress says.

She's still all fire when on stage, but her age has taken a toll on her life. Her eyesight has been so damaged that she can't read anymore and calls herself "illiterate." When she goes to sleep listening to fairytales recorded years ago by some of Bulgaria's greatest actors, who are now gone. She has a whole collection of audio tapes and her beloved colleagues come alive.
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