On the 7th of April, with the premiere of "The Happy One" by Rusi Bozhanov, the Satirical Theater "Aleko Konstantinov" celebrated its 60th birthday.

The play is not chosen accidentally - in May it will be 120 years since the murder of Aleko Konstantinov, who called himself the “The Happy One”.

Ironically, the author of "Bay Ganyo" was killed by "his hero" at the feast of the brothers Cyril and Methodius - 11 May /in the old style/, 1897. In his play Rusi Bozhanov seeks the answer to the question: Who is more alive today - Ganyo or Aleko? "The stage version and the play are made by Prof. Zdravko Mitkov and the stage design by Petar Mitev. The play includes a whole pleiad of talented Bulgarian actors. Aleko’s role is performed by Kalin Vrachanski and Ganyo by Svetlomir Radev.

"The Happy One" is like a documentary chronicle of the Aleko murder trial, but the fabric of the play is also woven into lyrical deviations to the writer's pure and ideal world. The sarcasm and the sad irony prevail in the moments when the author reflects on the Bulgarian reality that killed a glamorous talent so early and cruelly.

Here is what Prof. Zdravko Mitkov, director of the Aleko Konstantinov Satirical Theater, says about the performance and the choice with which to celebrate the anniversary: "The battle between the ideal and the cynical pragmatism, between the thin sensitivity of the talent and the sweeping element of the primitive uneducated mind is like a damned Bulgarian destiny. And it follows us now - 120 years after Aleko's murder. This unfortunately turns out not to be the artistic fiction of the gifted writer, but a powerful hurricane sweeping our fragile national daily life in today’s time...

Our performance does not seek the literary prototypes, but the full-blown contemporary manifestations of this shattering national conflict. With us only the vehicle - the carriage - is old. Everything else is today's thoughts, sufferings and fantasies. Our satire will be merciless and loud, as is the modern Bay Ganyo; and as the happy patron of our theater deserves. We are obliged to congratulate ourselves precisely with such a performance for the 60th anniversary of the audience’s favorite scene".

After the performance at the solemn ceremony, the doyen of Satire - Stoyanka Mutafova, Tatiana Lolova and Veli Chaushev and 17 other artists from different spheres of the theatrical art, who contributed greatly to the history of the theater, received honorary plaques of the "60 years Satirical Theater" /Ten of them – posthumously/. The Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria Iliana Yotova and the Minister of Culture in the Functional Office Rashko Mladenov were among the official guests of the event.

The material was provided by the press service of the Satirical Theater.

Photo: Elena Nenkova