Slavi Shkarov is a Bulgarian theater director born on April 12, 1941 – not in Rousse but in the town of Veliko Turnovo. However, we dedicate this article to him because he spent the last 19 years of his life in our city and his strong theatrical presence is still felt today, more than 30 years after his death, in the theatrics and among the artists from the Sava Ognyanov Drama Theater in Rousse.
In 1966 Slavi Shkarov graduated from the National Academy of Theatre and Film Arts in the class of Prof. Krastyo Mirski and Anastas Mihaylov, and then specialized theatre arts in Moscow. His professional career started soon afterwards when he staged his first performance, The Dragon, at the theatre in the town of Dobrich. He subsequently worked in the towns of Pleven and Yambol.
In 1969 Slavi Shkarov started working as a staff member at the Sava Ognianov Theater in Rousse and his name became closely associated with the golden period of the theatre in the 70s and 80s of the 20th century. Some of his most influential productions at that time which he staged with the theatre in Rousse for the first time were:
- A Pub under the Green Tree by Peter Kováčik
- A Dog’s Heart by Mikhail Bulgakov
- Basil for Draginko by Konstantin Iliev
- Amadeus by Peter Shaffer
- From Earth to Heaven by Nikola Russev
- Boriana by Yordan Yovkov
- A Mother of All by Georgy Karaslavov
- Richard III by William Shakespeare
In the last years of his life Slavi Shkarov also staged four performances at the theater in Sliven which mark one of its most significant periods:
- Mata Hari by Nedyalko Yordanov
- Threshold by Aleksey Dudarev
- The Auditor by Nikolay Gogol
- The Cabal of Hypocrites by Mikhail Bulgakov
As of May 2020, his daughter, Ina Shkarova, works as a theater expert and playwright at the Aleko Konstantinov Satirical Theater in Sofia.
Slavi Shkarov died on 11 May 1988 in Rousse.
Heritage and Recognition
According to contemporary criticism, Slavi Shkarov’s is among the greatest influences in the history of Bulgarian theater during the second half of the 20th century. His performances establish some of the best theatrical forms due to his unique artistic handwriting and through him posing philosophical questions and expressing strong emotions and hefty thoughts. His work is known for provoking reflections, contrasting emotions, and wise conclusions about the world and people.
Like most dissenters and intellectuals who lived under the totalitarian regime in the country, Slavi Shkarov was not favoured in any way by the governing communists. Even now, more than thirty years after his death, his contribution to the Bulgarian theater is believed to be underrated and all his attempts to stage his performances in the capital city of Sofia have been ignored and rejected.
- Since March 1, 2010 the Chamber Hall at the Sava Ognyanov Drama Theater in Rousse bears the name of Slavi Shkarov.
- Again in 2010, Slavi Shkarov’s closest friends published the book About Slavi Shkarov: from His Friends. In it they reveal more of his personality, behavior, biases, and vicissitudes.
- In 2018 in Rousse, on the occasion of 30 years since his death was established the annual National Competition for Young Theater Directors named after Slavi Shkarov.
- In 2019, journalist Yordan Georgiev published the book The Genius and the Nullified Time. It represents the first comprehensive and in-depth study of Slavi Shkarov’s life and career and is fully funded by the Drama Theater in Rousse.
- Slavi Shkarov on Wikipedia
- Kultura Online
- Theatrical Art Online
- Slavi Shkarov National Competition for Young Directors Official Page
- Slavi Shkarov National Competition for Young Directors YouTube Channel
- More about The Genius and the Nullified Time here and here
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