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Street stories: Fighting for the opportunity that no one gives for free

13 May 2010 / 11:05:07  GRReporter
4834 reads

Victoria Mindova

If you wonder who are those Greeks who go out on the roads, blocking the highway, striking, screaming and complaining of the reduction of the 13th, 14th and 15th salary and want everything as it was back in the day, I can tell you that Themisto Angelopolos is not one of them. He is a boy born in Patras and raised in a village near the Peloponnesian town. You will not see him striking and protesting, not because he has a problem with defending labor rights in Greece, but because he has never taken advantage of them. Yes, there are Greeks who work from an early age, they are not public servants, they are not waiting for unions to defend their rights and they even pursue and achieve their dreams. 

Nothing came to Themisto ready, even though you will never hear him complaining. He is not pleased with many things that surround him, but he knows that if something will change, he must do it himself. He is not waiting for someone to save him. He firmly believes that opportunities in life must be earned and no one will give them to you. He follows his dreams, even if this means that he will have to starve. Today he is an actor taking part theatre plays and television series on Greek TV, but he dreams of the big screen. Like all young artists Themisto is short on cash too, but he struggles with life, works at least in two places and does not stop dreaming. 

Whoever does not work – will not eat 

I came to Athens as soon as I graduated from high school. I applied to university but I was not accepted the first time. The second time I was accepted, majoring in Economic Sciences. After about two and a half years I dropped out - studying was merely a pretext to change my surroundings. The main reason I moved to Athens was to go to university. The truth is that I wanted to get away from home. I wanted to be independent. While studying I started work in a record company “7 records”. It was interesting, but I was working for many hours. Generally people were abused in this company and I decided to quit. I did not have even a penny. 

Alongside my work in the record company I was introduced to Petros Kochubas, the old manager of AN Club on Exarhia Square. Back then this place was just starting to take shape of an underground scene. He was living right on the square and every day he was going down with his dog Olaf to have some dinner in Vergina bistro in Exarhia. I, on the other hand, was “accidentally” passing by around that time almost every other day. He will greet me, I will greet him. Kochuba would say: "Come, sit down to eat with me!" and thus I would eat something because I had no money. For about ten days, this repeated several times. One day Kochuba told me: "Hey, boy, do you want a job?" and I answered happily: "Of course!" He gave the keys and told me that there are some empty beer barrels at the club and I must exchange them with the full ones. During that evening there was going to be a concert. It turned out that the barrels were about 50. (Laughs heartily) 

This is how I started working at AN Club. I helped with whatever I could. One day, however, came a foreign band, which was going to have a concert in the club. Their catering list and their contract were in English and I was the only employee who more or less spoke any English. This was the beginning of one of the best parts of my life. I started dealing with greeting and taking care of bands that came to play in the club. I enjoyed my work very much because it gave me a chance to meet and interact with people from around the world. People who more or less have the same views as me. People with who I can exchange thoughts and ideas. Everything continued like this until Kochuba was a manager. After that we all left. 

Actor - to be or not to be!? 

Then I started working as a runner boy at Gagarin club. This was the period when I decided that I wanted to deal with drama. I started attending Victoria Haralabidou’s Acting courses, which were based on the Stanislavski system, but it was just a hobby. When I finished my first year, Victoria called me and asked me: "Do you want to do acting professionally?” I told her that I did not want. The same thing happened after the end of my second year and I answered the same. I was scared and this is why I did not want to go on stage professionally. At that time I had a certain idea about this type of work that many people share, but it is far from the truth. The idea that you must have "something," otherwise nothing will happen. It is not like that. I have many colleagues who work hard and are very serious in what they do. 

The work is interesting and exciting and it gives me a lot more that it takes from me. The moment when things changed for me was during workshop for the exercising Michael Chekhov’s technique, led by Anestis - director and brother of my teacher Victoria. The seminar was really difficult and it was only for professionals. I saw people who collapsed and wept. It was a very emotional experience. This is when I decided I wanted to act professionally. I went to Victoria and I told her: "Finally I decided to look into professional acting. Do you think I am good at it? Do you think I can do it?" And she turned and looked at me amazed and said: "But how do you even ask me such things! How can I know if you can handle it? It all depends on you. It does not depend on anyone else!" At that point I did not feel very good about myself. I just didn’t understand her answer. (Laughs) 

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