"I am not thinking about the prize, the biggest reward for me is that after 6 years I am going to perform once again in front of my home audience", said the actor Petar Miloshevski before his performance at the Festival of Monodrama in Bitola. Nevertheless the jury decided to give the award for Complete Acting Achievement to the Bitola-born actor, who now lives and works in London, for his performance in the solo-show "Hope", performed in English.
Born in Bitola, Petar Miloshevski took his first acting steps as a boy in his native city ("Our Lady of Paris", "The Merry Wives of Windsor"). He then studied at the National Academy of Theatre and Film Art in Sofia, and after his graduation worked for two years at the Blagoevgrad Theatre. He became one of the theatre’s busiest actors, but, in his words, at a certain moment he realised that he might have "reached the ceiling." - "The dilemma was to continue hitting my head on the ceiling, or to make a radical change. I chose the second and went to London on my own, without an invitation from anyone ... Eventually I applied (and was accepted on my first attempt) for a Master’s degree course at the Central School of Speech and Drama, one of the most established theatre schools in London, where people like Judi Dench or Kristin Scott Thomas graduated from”...
The play "Hope" - which is currently performed in Bitola, was also performed last year at the MOT Theatre Festival in Skopje. It is his graduation show. During his studies Petar experimented with different site-specific solo-performances - currently a very popular form of theatre in England. However, he took the firm decision of graduating from Central with a monodrama, motivated by the idea of being alone on stage, bearing the full weight and responsibility for the exchange of energy with the audience. He couldn’t find a text which could cover the full expressive range he was looking for, so decided to make a new one. "Hope" is a compilation of extracts borrowed from several authors: Chekhov (the short story "The lady with the lap-dog"), Dukovski ("Who the Fuck Started All This?"), Georg Buchner ("Woyzeck"), Strindberg ("Miss Julie"), Shakespeare ("Macbeth"), as well as poetry by Andrei Tarkovsky’s father, Arseni Tarkovsky. - " The graduation show was a success and my course-leader told me just one thing - that he had only seen such a precise attention to detail with photographers and architects, but never before with an actor. I play a lot with the details in "Hope" – the hands, the gaze... The narrative in the show is about a person who is in a love triangle. I was primarily interested in how that person goes through metamorphoses, all the emotions - past, present and future – and in telling the story in a dislocated, non-chronological way.
"Hope" has been performed in a number of venues in London, as well as festivals. After the first performance staged outside Central School, the production company "Quirkas" offered Petar to produce "Hope". - "In that moment comes great financial relief, that's how it works in London. Each show premiered is being seen by agents and producers and it's a major devlopment if someone offers to produce it. In England the subsidies for culture and arts have been severely reduced by the government and that situation is now having its effect on theatres, art galleries, and libraries. Art patronage is now the main source of financial support". Currently he is hoping for good news regarding a production offer for a new play in London, where he plays the leading role of Nijinsky, one of the greatest choreographers in the history of world ballet. The play deals with the complete cultural revolution triggered by Nijinsky's choreography of Stravinsky's ballet "The Rite of the Spring" in 1912 in Paris, in which he broke all the conventions of classical ballet. Meanwhile Petar is looking for a new job, such are the rigors of day-to-day survival in London – actors, after every completed project, are once again unemployed, and the chance for getting new roles is through constant auditioning. Until recently he worked in the music store of the English National Opera, which featured an archive of opera recordings, some of them even a hundred years old - from before the days of gramophone records, recorded on a high magnetic tapes, and eventually digitalised on CD. "I became an expert in opera, I know who the conductors or the singers are in a recording, only after the first listening," jokes Miloshevski.
Later this month, before returning to London, he also performed "Hope" on the stage of the Veles Theatre. He will get to see the Bitola Theatre company on the stage of "Shakespeare's Globe" with "Henry VI". - "It is a fantastic promotion opportunity for Macedonian culture - he said, adding that he often feels like an isolated ambassador in England because he is always presented as a Macedonian actor during debates or after his performances."
From his country, however, he still has not received an offer to play in a theatre project. - "If I get an offer in Macedonia, I probably wouldn't refuse, but as I haven't received one, I am concentrating entirely on my London life and career. Otherwise, I come to Bitola for two weeks every year, this is where my family is. However I haven't lived in Macedonia for 11 years, so I find myself looking at the affairs of this country through slightly romantic spectacles. I don't attend the current developments of this society, as if some of the issues are beginning to elude me."
Writes: Rumena Ravanovska-Tulbevska
Photo: Igor Todorovski