Theater is the soul and the voice of a healthy society
Musa Isufi is one of the best quality players of the new generation, who with every appearance of his own, whether in film or theater, has left an excellent impression. So far he has conducted a variety of roles, for which there have been awards and positive reviews. So in the "Albanian theatre festival" Debar 2002 he was declared as the best actor, then at the same festival (in 2008) he was awarded with the special prize of the festival and finally in "Nationwide Festival of Theatres" Ferizaj 2010 jury with no doubt gave him the best actor award.
Roles in theater often have some limits, which brings the age restriction, it seems that even Kipci is a character on the 60-s? Does this constitute difficulties for you?
People for centuries have tried to change human nature itself, have tried to find ways to change the same, then tried to change themselves by bringing yourself towards perfect. Of course it is not easy to play a character who is not your age, to suit his living conditions, to bring his past and present of the current action until you interpret the role, but here is greater satisfaction of a creator when facing difficulties, obstacles and exceeding the same successfully. It is a difficult process to bring the character back to life, where from the letters of the author to make him breathe, to speak, feel: pain, love, sadness, joy, etc...
Two risks before the interpretation launched: to be be lodged in a wheelchair and a character 20 years older in age. Why did you ask for this challenge?
Nature is at permanent risk of its young so-called "people" every day we are threatened, we are not protected by anyone, "people" are jeopardizing the most valuable thing that they have and that is the love for each other, blindly risking everything for a little power, we are losing our vitality, we are alienated. The character of Kipcit is the result of his human sacrifice, intellectual and patriotic, for a bright future of his people. He is betrayed, forgotten by the people, who sacrificed everything. His human greatness goes up there where it says "Manly is to forgive even if you convinced that to the one you forgive does not deserve it". Although physically broken by misery and of the poorness, stuck in his seat, his noble spirit was never broken. We are born to challenge, I accept challenges, first I want to challenge myself, my nature, my options. This role gave me this opportunity and I think I won this challenge successfully. I was not the one who shared challenges, it was my professor of the Word of Art director of the show "live corpses" Zijadin Murtezi, he offered me, I accepted with pleasure, I thank him for this.
There is a thread that follows Musa during the show, to oppose the "loneliness" of dealing with yourself?
My ego stands in the shadow of the role on stage, but it is always present and fully awake. The theatre is a conflict, crash. The partiture of the actor consists components of human contact, from the relationship. I take others, face them with myself, with esperiences and personal world view and I give answers. In such tight human juxtaposition, there is always the element "of receiving and giving".
Difficulties have been interpreting the nature of psychological or physical?
Kipci role itself contains two difficulties in preparations produced a great psychological strain to me. Physical fatigue is associated directly with mental fatigue. This character is handicapped because his legs are paralyzed, they cant be cured, that means you need to work hard and a phenomenal concentration to achieve such effect. If I sat during all the time will I wouldn’t be tired, but I have moments when other actor on the role of a stealer, he throws me from my chair on the ground, difficulties are created when I get up in the handicapped sticks wich mainly relies In hands while the legs are fully unmovable and it requires a high concentration. In the same time you are thinking about the text, and you have to pass different physical barriers of the skenography. So the psychological and physical actions are closely related and they must be in absolute harmony.
How do you return back to reality after the play "Live Corpses", how does all psychological and physique of an actor function to regain yourself from a character with oscillations?
It's somehow a complicated process, I am the emotional kind, emotions reach me long before the play starts. This how my genotype functions,the same process occurs after I finish the play. Surprisingly I always feel empty,quiet, in fact I dont feel happiness or joy, I never understood why this happens. Over time I become more communicative, I take a nap and I feel great.
I would tell you how I feel, the aggressiveness of the character brings a positive energy to the actor... a strange contradiction, isn’t it?
I would not call it aggressive, aggressive looks the energy that the character has accumulated over the years and his need for liberation, freedom, this liberation comes through tears, crying, crying that makes the character protest against injustice.
In the complexity of the figure of Kipci, as his “occupation” came, you remember the moment when you said to yourself… this my character already?
As I was reading the play, my hands started to shake, I saw myself in there, I asked myself is it possible that Shkëlzen Halimi, the author, had written the play for me. While reading I pictured what would the character look like, than in rehearsal I build him in relation with the role's character and the partner in the play.
How much power does the scene has on you and with what power can it be compared?
The scene is the only ascendancy that I accept and recognize, this ascendancy-the scene gives the actor ascendancy, strength and and opportunity to criticize,ridicule, to fight all occurrences of malicious ascendancies. I am a slave of the Stage ascendancy, it is the only place where like a slave I feel my full freedom.
It Happened on the way you escaped from the character, you wanted a break to restore the character later again?
It is very difficult to define the character of the character, because often happen to have many ideas for the same character, in the process of testing the fit of all, then chooses the best one, what functions dramaturgycal, without doing harm to the concept of show. If the actor is concentrating on his duties during the show hardly escape character.
In working with the role, which scheme you comply to... role reversal, continuation, recreation, there is a scheme of yours? Can you explain why it helps?
Above all its the professionalism,being disciplined, to not be late in rehearsal. To create a successful role you should carefully analyze the text, your role and other roles, to understand what dramatic function has your character, to know the history and genesis of the character, to understand the logic of the character, in which time he lived. The actor needs all of this to show the character profile. And than you have to think how the character would look like, how he should walk, why he should walk like that, or why he should have such voice, etc. To make a successful role you have to create to kinds of profiles the psychological and physical of the character and in the end to show the final artistic product that we call it character. The total act is the act of getting closer to yourself as you are, the removal of the daily mask, the disclosure of yourself. Not to be seen, not for exibition. The total Act is the rediscover of an extreme seriousness. The actor has to be open for him to be absolutely honest. It is a step towards that high point where in the actor's organization, conscience and instinct become together.
Human character isnt a fixed category but is fluid, so an intelligent actor can take his role in higher instances where his character that he plays in a play can change in perfidious way with additional details no matter what the situation is, inside and outside factors. This is the base scheme which i stick to always for creating a new role.
What happens when the curtain falls and you get as many applause as possible. What victory is this?
It's the only thing that I have gained over the pas ten years, the only thing that you make all this sacrifice. When I hear aplplause I hear the hearts of people, I hear their joy, I enjoy it when I inspire someone, smiling, I just enjoy it when the public feels good.
In the theatre, Stanislavski says that the spectator is the fourth wall, the actor is okey when he 'forgets' the spectator, happens, you see the spectator during the play. How attentive are you to them?
So from the first rehearsal day until the end of rehearsals, premiere and other plays I have the spectator very close. A good director smells good the vibration of the spectator during rehearsals, he directs the energy of the play to communicate with the public as much as possible, so in a way, he is the fourth wall, so the actor has the capability and the skills to direct the role's energy to be in permanent connection with the public. If an actor is true, accurate,convicing and honest in what you do, communication with the fourth wall indirectly will be in an excellent relation. Of course while the actor is in stage and does his duties he won't have direct contact with the public. The most important thing is that the actor should not play for the spectator, but play while facing them and in their presence. Or better to say for him to perform an authentic act on behalf of the spectator, an act of an extreme sincerity and authenticity, but disciplined. He should be given and not hesitate, to open and not close in himself. But even today's public can't have the illusion it had before, because it's not a part of the event, so what happens in the hall is the product even of the public because they are in the game aswell. We all breathe the same dust.
Who is the most beautiful moment in a show?
The most beautiful moment in the show is the show itself. The show is a synthesis of analytical moments into a whole. If you go in the best way possible seems to show lasts as little, as if it was only a brief moment and say, it was even a little longer show.
The role that alienated you, turned you and with difficulty was gone from you?
Acting is a hard profession I say this because you have to work with your soul in relation with different characters who may be different like some positive and other negative, with a destructive emotional structure. You have to be very careful, to know how to separate yourself from the character, when I say this I dont say that you have to keep the character away from you, instead you have to be embedded with him, but it always has to be- you play the character, but are not that character, though something remains in the actor's head, although we are not aware for this. It's pain to stifle your own soul, to force to do something that is not in your nature, in your emotional structure, but in the end this is our sacrifice, this is the profession of an actor.
Why did you love the theatre so much and had 'doubts' about the movie. Maybe there was such period?
My first love is and will remain the theatre, I save this love with fanatically. I never had doubts in movies, I also love movies. Macedonia as a country and the Ministry of Culture, Macedonia's film fund, don't support albanian film projects, this genre of art to us is a taboo and I never dared to think about the movie, so thats why I poured my energy in the theatre.
They call you 'honest actor'. How can you leave yourself and accept your values and shortcomings. How does this get achieved?
When u go on the stage you are a public figure, some appriciate you in a positive way, some think different, I understand both ways startring from the logic that art is a matter of taste, so I dont believe that they have the same opinion with you. You have played strong roles of world's dramaturgy, "Outside snowing" -Kico, "Woyzeck" -Woyzeck, "Drawing Boy" -Angus, "Audience" Vanjek- Sladek, " Death Trap" -Helga Ten Dorp, "Death and the Maiden"- Gerargo and many many other roles, which role was more easy to swallow of u... When your being committed to your role and play, when you prevail the role in the same time you prevail the content and when you do the same with love, all roles become easily swallowed, I say this without modesty.
In your career who is the doubt that remains as an actor?
Over ten years of my career as an actor I had good and bad moments. The good were the roles and plays where I played, these kept me alive as a creator and a human, to work ten years out of everything, ignored by the institutions, media and "artists" clans is terrible. Often my doubts rise to continue to be selfish to love the theatre or to go back to the family who I've left aside for many years, only to raise our voice, to breathe for theatre, with the belief that one day we will have the right to request the opening of an Albanian Theatre in Kumanovo. The obedience for the theatre beated that doubt.
After several years of stage experience has your concept for theatre changed?
The concept for the theatre for me has been and will always remain the same. The theatre is an aesthetic tool which analyzes the past in the context of the present and in the end it makes you to understand the future. Theatre helps to preserve and cultivate the values of the language, rituals, traditions and trends monitoring and analysis of modern social, cultural, political, sexual, ect. Theatre gives unlimited love is the source of light, the brightest source of ideas. Theatre is the soul and the voice of a healthy society.
Do you feel bad that many times u haven't been the boyfriend, or husband in the roles of theatre?
I was a husband and a boyfriend in roles, it seems that the directors understood and ctreated convictions for affinity, my specificity and my masterful skills for psychological-transformational roles, so thats why they trust me easily in these roles.
How many other unseen parts are there of Musa- actor?
It is important to have health. I want to be a part of the works of Shakepseare, Moliere, Cehov etc. I hope I will realize all of these that I mentioned.
If they dont recognize you as an actor, which role do you think indentifies YOU as an actor?
Those who love and follow the theatre know me, those who had other jobs and didn't had the time to follow the theatre will have the opportunity next time to know me and to know them, it would be my pleasure.
Do you think we have created different theatrical schools who come from territories where albanian is spoken? I mean Skopje, Prishtina and Tirana...
Certainly yes, this variety of schools is the wealth and the future of scenic art in albanian lands, I had the opportunity as student to be a part of meetings in different schools of acting in Tirana, there we changed our experiences, we learned and we rebuild each other. I am a bit worried about the theater's co-speaking territories, we say that there is cooperation, but that's not enough, there have been some times memos between the main theater for cooperation but whenever cooperation was symbolic.
Can we say that we have a caste of young directors who are giving breath to the Albanian theatre in Macedonia?
The Albanian culture through the centuries has been forgotten and taking the fact that in Macedonia until recently there was only a half theatre, the Albanian theatre in Skopje, the younger generations didn’t see any prospect going in directing school. Today is different, today we have two theatres,one in Skopje and one in Tetovo and soon one in Kumanovo and also the theatres of Albania and Kosovo, where young people see prospect. Kushtrim Bekteshi a young director but very successful, who has performed many great works of world dramaturgy in Macedonia and Albania, he is a model of a modern director with particular aesthetics, according to me this director will give strength to other generations. I hope that in the future, we will have more directors like Kushtrim Bekteshi.
What is happening with the Albanian Theatre of Kumanovo, what will it bring to the public and why do you think that education through theatre is important?
We are witnessing a social phenomenon that is happening in our lands, the public goes quite a bit in theater, though it’s not their fault, while on the other hand we see stadiums filled with spectators, who are running and paying expensive tickets. Why not make the theater a kind of sport? Theatre without contact or connection with the public has no meaning. We have an obligation to create the link between theater and public offering specific works which will bring curiosity of the public.
Must create new generations of future audiences, starting from small-age children, youth, up to adulthood, all this will be achieved with love for work and a good offer for the public.
But Kumanovo didn’t had this privilege and pleasure earlier, I believe that soon the Albanian Theatre of Kumanovo will open. Theatre is possible only institution which collectively cures, the human spirit...
Where does your soul supply, where is the positive energy you get?
Nobody could ever kill up my love for theatre, life, people, somehow I can say that in my life, even in difficult moments, I found the strength to avoid being submitted, I am more similar to Phoenix, that was reborn from its ashes. I think that the positive energy is part of my strong character, my soul finds love in the Word of Art, the ability to convey this word in the hearts of the spectator has kept alive.
As time moves on you, what is gained and what is taught?
Time is a river that flows, that fills my soul with waters and color according to the seasons. I learn that, despite the human desire, I can not stop time. Catch the moment and live it, then tried to defragment in character pieces and live in different times in a single moment.
- Musa Isufi in the role of Woyzeck "Woyzeck"