Thursday, September 6, 2012

Spotlight On...Ivan Dimitrov

Name: Ivan Dimitrov

Hometown: Sofia, Bulgaria

Education: B.A. in Bulgarian literature and M.A. in anthropology

Favorite Credits: The Eyes of Others. It will be my first.

Why theater?: It just happened. I wrote one play and since then I haven’t been able to stop. In Bulgaria, writing isn’t as compartmentalized as it is here. I also write poetry and prose. I like trying my hand at various genres, as every genre has its rules. This gives me freedom, since some ideas work on stage, while others work better as short stories.

Tell us about The Eyes of Others: It’s my second play. I would call it a contemporary absurdist play, in which, unlike classical absurdism (where the characters often find themselves in an inescapable, absurd situation), the characters themselves create the absurd situation, since life has become completely absurd in and of itself. In the play, two nameless men meet every day on a square, where they are watched by a mysterious voyeur whom we never see. This will be my first staged play – yes, you heard that right, it hasn’t been put on yet in Bulgaria, which seems a bit strange to me. The first time I heard it read by actors was at the HotInk at the Lark this year.

What inspired you to write The Eyes of Others?: People are becoming ever more vain, and in that respect we could say that they live in the eyes of others. This was one of my jumping-off points. The play also talks about other contemporary problems, such as anonymity, alienation… In fact, no matter what inspired me to write this play, the most important thing is that it got written: two men appeared on that square, started talking and I simply followed them to the final page.

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?:
That’s a hard question to answer, since theater is very regional, so when I talk about theater, I’m talking about theater in Bulgaria, while you’re thinking of theater in America. I’m not familiar with American theater. In Bulgaria, the theater that speaks to me most is the Sfumato Theater Laboratory, even though there are other strong voices outside it as well. Lots of things inspire me as an artist: Roland Schimmelpfennig’s plays, Houellebecq’s novels, Matt Stewart’s street photography, Nasimo’s grafitti, an afternoon conversation randomly overheard in a cafĂ© or some interesting building.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?:
If we’re talking about American directors, I guess I would say Robert Wilson. As well as dozens of American actors. 

What shows have you recommended to your friends?:
I love recommending shows, but they are all in Bulgaria. So if any of you are passing through there, definitely give me a call.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Jim Jarmusch would direct it, so I would leave the choice of actor to him. We’d come up with the title together.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?:
I can only think of little pleasures that I don’t feel particularly guilty about.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?: I’m still very new to this sphere, so I wouldn’t say that I work in theater. Sometimes in difficult moments I think of how easy it would be if I had “a normal job.” I’m not sure I could stand such a life, though. If I weren’t writing, I’d be a musician or a photographer.

What’s up next?: After the play opens, I’ll go back to Bulgaria. In May, I won a contest for an absurdist play, so I hope it will be put on soon. It’s a black comedy called The Alien, and it’s about a mother who thinks that she’s an alien and that her family is an unsuccessful experiment, so she wants to kill her two children. I know how that sounds, but I think it could be really funny. It’ll soon be translated into English by Angela Rodel, who also translated The Eyes of Others.

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