Sometimes you just have to get out of that box. We did so by deciding to see our first Bulgarian play: Sunday Evening, written by Zachary Karabashliev and directed by someone we know, Zlatomir Moldovanski. Zlatomir is an actor and now involved in directing and teaching as well and was a Chicago Fellow of the Stratford Festival. Recently, in 2018, we did a showing of one of the Shakespeare films that Stratford has done, this one of Romeo and Juliet. Zlatomir was an actor in the play and film.
We like to support the theatre as we can as we have a European connection via our interest in culture and language and our teaching of them both. We know how much easier it is for the common guy to access the Arts in Europe and since it is not in our own country, it is all the more important to do what we can to promote them.
When we found out that Zlatomir was directing a play, we checked it out and got tickets. We also contacted him to see if we could take him out to dinner and he, being the consummate professional actor and gentleman said he could do so. We met in the city at 6:15 PM in a local pub and then went to the Greenhouse Theater. It was the inaugural production of Zlatomir’s Rose Valley Theatre Group.
The play is a Bulgarian Award winning play (Askeer for Best New Bulgarian Play) and the only production of it before this one was in Bulgaria itself. As Zlatomir put it in the playbill, « …Zachary’s gripping story and characters strikingly transcend any international divide one may expect in a play like this. Their struggles, turmoils, and triumphs are simply unequivocally human. » We found that all to be true as the plot and storyline were that of human beings living their lives, navigating their crises, and trying to work through them.
The cast featured:
Maria Margaglione as Stella
Rachel Sepiashvili as Rose
Logan Hulick as Nick
Melanie McNulty as Jenny
Whitney Pipes as cop and theatre director
Grant Johnson as cop
Jordan Kulow as waiter and locksmith
The play immediately engaged the audience in the intimate setting of the theatre and you immediately felt the pain of the lives of the people acting on stage. Lives in turmoil and real emotions interspersed with intensely serious moments and yet others of comedic significance. It was a thoroughly enjoyable one hour and fifty minutes of play split by a fifteen minute intermission.
Zlatomir and company did a great job and he is already working on getting another Bulgarian play to present. We had a great evening, starting out with seeing a great actor who is branching out into other areas. We were thankful to have had the opportunity to have dinner with him and to have him sit next to us as we enjoyed a great evening of theatre in Chicago.