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Every one of us behaved like Bai Ganjo at least once in life

29 May 2014 / 13:05:01  GRReporter
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Anastasia Balezdrova

In the play "Mr. Balkanski", which was performed on 24 May in Athens, the role of Bai Ganjo was played by actor Ivaylo Kaloyanchev. In it, he steps into his father Georgi Kaloyanchev’s shoes whose performance left his mark on the image of Aleko Konstantinov’s character.

He explains before GRReporter team what it means to carry the burden of this legacy and why, over a century later, Bai Ganjo continues to excite the audiences in Bulgaria.

Mr. Kaloyanchev, why are Aleko Konstantinov’s works still so relevant more than 100 years after he wrote them?

His works consider eternal problems. All of us are Bai Ganjo. If someone somewhere told me that he did not behave like him at least once in his life he would lie. He has the nature of Bulgarians. That is why Bai Ganjo is so organic and eternal.

Now, if I am to say that we have moved not a jot in terms of our reasoning since then, I will not lie. Therefore, everything is relevant and valid even today. Unfortunately, Bulgarians today are still interested in windfall.

How would you answer Bai Ganjo’s question "Will we be with the Russians or with the Germans"?

I do not know why, but in Bulgaria, we have always been divided into Russophiles and Russophobes, continuously talking about whether we are with the ones and against the others.

I think we have to be with us, to take care of ourselves instead of fighting for meaningless things.

Can’t we really do without Bai Ganjo?

Well, since we could not do without him for 100 years probably we could not make it another 100. However, I would repeat that his words at the end of the performance show that he is not so bad. It is clear what he is like. Those who pretend to be Europeans and are not are fearsome. They have his way of thinking and the veneer of Europeans.

Ordinary Bai Ganjo is easily recognizable. We know what he is like and what we can expect from him. You do not know what you can expect from the other type.

You step into your father’s shoes in this role. What did he give you in terms of it and what did you get from him?

I do not know what I got. He could not come to the premiere because he could not walk, but I brought him the show recording. And he said, "You can play better than me, you can play worse than me, but you cannot play like me." I mean that I did not try to take anything from him. I am myself in this role and in every role that I have played. I never try to imitate him because he had told me, "Don’t do this because the carbon paper is visible in each copy."

Anyway, my father taught me to work and discipline. This is because acting is unending labour. If someone thinks that it is very easy, and we go out on the stage to play something just like that, let him know that this is not true. He who has not been engaged in this profession can claim that alone. I have students to train. When I show them something, they say, "Well, you do it very easily. You did it very well." And I say, "Yeah, you are right, but you have to feel it, it has to go through your heart to do it. Otherwise, it cannot be done, it is obvious that it is false."

What is the place of the role of Bai Ganjo in your life? Would you actually say that it is the role of your life? If not, which one is it? How do you imagine it?

Each actor would answer that the best role lies ahead in the future and he or she has not yet played it. You are asking which my favourite role is. Do we feel the same pain if we cut one of our fingers? I love all my roles in the same way. They are all dear to me. Evry role I have played is my favourite.

What role would you like to play?

You know, an actor is not allowed to even think about this.

Why is that?

It is because they cast actors for parts. I do not even read the plays before the cast of parts is clear because you can like one role but be ultimately casted for another, and you can be already biased and you say, "Why they gave me that role and not the other".

And when you know the role you will play, then you read the play in the light of your role and come to like it. Therefore, I cannot say what I want. I might want to play Hamlet but I am probably not good for it. Each actor has his or her typical features and the work of the director is to see you and assess which role is suitable for you. A good director does just that, a good casting.

30 years ago, I wanted to play Romeo. But what Romeo would I be with a weight of 100 kg? People would laugh at me when I would go out on stage.

Otherwise, of course, I have my favourite roles and, perhaps, it will happen to play something I like very much. For example, I always wanted to play the role of Bai Ganjo but I never imagined that it could happen. I just could not think that someone would call me to play the role of Bai Ganjo after my father had played it. However, life took this course and it happened.

After the interview, Ivaylo Kaloyanchev devoted an autograph to GRReporter readers. He wrote,

"I wish GRReporter readers a lot of happiness, health and success."

Tags: TheatreMr BalkanskiPlayBai GanjoIvaylo KaloyanchevAthens
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