I met Constantinos Markoulakis (@markoulakis_contantinos), one of the most acknowledged and famous actors and directors in Greece, when I was only 18 years old and I have the good fortune to say that I count him among my very dear friends. He is “responsible” for my love for the theater (especially dark plays), as I started going to see his performances and I eventually got hooked on theater. He has occasionally acted as a sort of mentor to me: every few years, he is the person I go to, to get advice on life’s matters – even though, as he often teases me, I never follow it! Still, I can definitely say that with him, I’ve had some of my most interesting and profound conversations! Not only because of his great talent, but also because he has a brilliant mind and train of thought. Which is exactly why I’ve asked him for a blog interview. Since he loves to talk, the original interview was 50min on voice memos and almost 7.000 words! So I had to narrow it down a little …! I’m giving you here just a glimpse of Markoulaki’s “worldview”!
Q & A
1. According to your personal experience – as a man that has fallen in love, got married, had a child and also got divorced – how long can “Being in Love” last?
“Being in Love” is almost like a perversion, a strangely beautiful, yet sometimes unhealthy situation. Believing there is only one person to save you from all harm in this world… Still, it is an extraordinary feeling…!
As adults, however, we know it is a feeling that fades away in time. What makes couples stay together, though, nowadays is the recollection of this Love. “Being in Love” might subside over the years, but other feelings less “exciting”, though much deeper and interesting, take its place. Such as a real, substantial connection with the other person that stems from walking on the same path throughout life’s challenges.
“So, it is the form that changes… The older we get, it might seem more difficult to fall in Love, and it is even rarer to fall in love with the enthusiasm of our younger years; but when it happens, we experience it in a more profound and meaningful way.”
2. What attributes and characteristics attract you to a woman?
I’m mostly drawn to interesting faces – ones with personality, that give away a sense of profound beauty!
“There are many beautiful faces per se but, to me, their beauty has nothing to do with features. There are people, not only women, on whose face their soul is depicted. This is something that can go along with beauty, but the former does not necessarily require the existence of the latter.”
Character wise, I like women who give away a sense of being “their own woman”, of leading an independent, personal life, which allows them not to show any desire or need for clinging on to their relationship. That is to say, I like women, who make me feel they “don’t need me”. It would excite me if a woman told me: “I have to work, I have things to do, I’ve got my book, my interests….” and so on.
3. On the theater stage, how do you deal with the constant repetition of daily performances?
This is a very interesting aspect about theater. I’ll give you an example. This year, in “God of Carnage”, we did a total of 198 performances. It was a successful play, with all the elements of something that filled us with joy and contentment.
“At the same time though, it was also difficult, something like playing the same basketball game each and every day. Or even like having sex with the same partner (that you really like), in the same bed, in the same way, every single day!”
On the one hand, you learn how to do it, but you also learn how to find a way to be “new” in this context; On the other hand, you realize that indeed, you are “new”, as the composition of the audience changes daily. I would say, it is a mixture of everything that makes each performance slightly different and unique: the audience, your colleagues, how they respond to you and, of course, your own mood that changes from day to day!
4. What is the source of your inspiration? What is your driving force when it comes to creativity?
It’s the “sense of void” that jump starts the creative process. When directing a theater play, and this is the part I’m currently mostly interested in, the driving force is exactly the “void” you initially find yourself in. It is the same when you play on stage, in which case, though, it’s the director that has the steering wheel.
Every new play is constantly on your mind. Personally, I think about my upcoming theater plays in an obsessive manner. Whatever I see around me is unconsciously recorded as a cue to help me develop my project.
“So, this is a very creative procedure, which – when life is difficult, strange and chaotic, as contemporary lives are – in a certain way, becomes a harboring universe, both beautiful and creative!”
– “O Faros” Directed by Konstantinos Markoulakis. Starring: K. Markoulakis, O. Papaspiliopoulo, A. Cheilakis, P. Aliferopoulos, N. Psarras This October in “Athenon” theater.
– “August – Osage County” play by Tracy Letts. Directed by Konstantinos Markoulakis. Starring: Themis Bazaka, Maria Protopapa, Vicky Volioti and others.
– “Le Prenom”, a play by Alexandre de La Patelliere and Matthieu Delaporte. Directed by Konstantinos Markoulakis. Starring: Christos Chatzipanagiotis, Vicky Stavropoulou, Fanis Mouratidis, Antonis Loudaros, Maria Konstantaki. This October in “Aliki” theater.
– “Second Voice”, drama written by Reppas – Papathanasiou. Directed by Konstantinos Markoulakis. Starring: Nena Menti, Danais Kiadi. This December in “Apothiki” theater.
Photo Credits: Anna Tagkalou