“Scripts, Not Textbooks”
In a school where more than half of the student body belongs to either the Business or Politics department, one might think nobody cares about the arts. But not at AUBG.
While some people paint, a few write, and many dance or sing, for years theater has been the main form of artistic expression at the school. Each semester, Nedyalko Delchev’s three acting classes fill up with students. Experienced performers and novices work together to create an intimate theatrical experience.
Even more fascinating are the so called independent plays. A class is a class, but when people devote free time to stage a play, you see the real passion for theater.
“[Theater] makes me happy. It lets me live different lives,” Ayna Pirkuliyeva said. “I get to see through different eyes and walk on different feet.”
Pirkuliyeva, a senior in the JMC department, is a part of three projects this semester – “The Vagina Monologues,” “Beyond Therapy,” and “Night, Mother.” Each play is completely different from the other, and so are her characters.
“That is fun, but also challenging,” she said. “You never get tired of a role, or a state, a setting, but also you barely have enough time to get used to one, before you have to switch onto something else again.”
Her three projects are only a part of what is coming this theater season. “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” “Black Comedy,” and a modern adaptation of “King Lear” will also be directed and performed by students. A play in Russian is also in the works.
“Black Comedy’s” Hristo Popov is another aspiring AUBG performer. While majoring in Business Administration and Economics, the arts have always been a passion of his.
Popov and Pirkuliyeva started their AUBG theater experience in 2012’s production of “Boeing-Boeing” and have since collaborated on two other projects. For both, acting was a way to become more confident, more self-aware, to learn to better communicate with people.
“I started out with theater in order to fight my social complexes,” Popov said. “But the people I shared my first journey down the path of an actor with sparked a passion which lives to this day.”
Both Pirkuliyeva and Popov have not skipped a semester being involved in a production. Theater is not just work but also a social experience in itself. Rehearsals, unlike the tedious group class assignments, are “like a little hangout, or even a party.”
“I do theater because I love it,” Pirkuliyeva said. “[It is] my best friend and my favorite teacher. I can’t imagine living without it.”
Such is the devotion people have for artistic expression. But in an environment obsessed with the study of finance and accounting, theater is important not only for the performers, but for the audience, too. As Popov puts it, “theater is just another way for me to put a smile on other people’s faces and that is the most important thing.”