All actors have their own worries. Their joys and special encounters which the roles that they play. What lies beyond what we see on stage? What’s in their heart? How often does a character offered to the actor shake hands with their inner struggle? What makes you choose a career in performing arts? We did choose to talk with a name known to a great many people due to the roles which he played, due to his charisma and to the way in which he connects with the audience.
An actor, director and professor, Florin Coșuleț says that he has never looked for the easy path, he cannot ignore non-truths and the good school that he was lucky enough to attend makes him suffer now when he sees so much superficiality all around him.
How can theatre help us as spectators, you as actors?
Florin Coșuleț: Educationally speaking, theatre does help, it’s just that it must be done by professionals. They teach theatre in schools, in kindergartens but even there, the organisers live according to certain patterns and do not manage to provide a proper framework to fulfil the real educational purpose of theatre. If playful theatre does not turn into theatre with a meaning, then it has no effect, it does not take you to the next level, it doesn’t open, turn around or widen your horizon as long as playing is just playing.
Sibiu, however, boasts a large offer when it comes to theatre…
Florin Coșuleț: Maybe too large for Sibiu, although we have the feeling that we are a cultural city. When we staged “The Soldier’s Tale” we promoted it and brought together about 50 people. At the end of the performance, a friend of mine told me that he was disappointed that there were few people. He should have queued considering how renowned Stravinski is. And this has you thinking. And wondering what you are doing. How many people of culture are there? Were they so busy that evening that they couldn’t vibrate when hearing Stravinski’s name? The performance was first held at Atrium, then at the Astra Library, where even fewer people came. Maybe it was this habit of a few places, I’ve no idea, but no one should complain that the cultural offer is not there. “The Soldier’s Tale” has no stage direction; I’m simply playing that character. I thought that people should see it, it’s too beautiful. There are things which are most likely in everybody’s minds. There are also people who are more easy-going; they are pleased with what they get.
Your profession gives you the chance to spend a great deal of time with yourself, to know, to discover yourself somehow.
Florin Coșuleț: I believe this is the best part of this profession. But you must be ready for it. Because often when you spend a lot of time with yourself the things you discover aren’t always beautiful and you must be prepared not to be shaken and thrown down. There’s a lot of filth inside.
What did you discover about yourself?
Florin Coșuleț: Firstly, every one of us has regrettable things that we wish we had not done. We have our hidden secrets, bigger or smaller and when you are with yourself, those are the first which come to call, the ones which are always there. You must bear them and accept them. And you are thinking how to get rid of them. And maybe you need to do a ton of other marvellous deeds and bring an army of beautiful things to face that little wrongdoing that you committed.
How does it feel like to be someone else for an hour or two? How do you feel each part?
Florin Coșuleț: In fact, every person is an actor in their own way. The problem is how can you manage to show what you are thinking to the others, in an immaculate way? Every person is an actor up to a certain point. The school comes in when you think about how to embody all those emotions and make them real, make them convey something? What would it be like to inherit something or to be the president of Romania one day? Do you think Mr. Iohannis did not imagine this, as an actor? It’s an acting process: what would it be like? What would it be like if I were Henry V? The acting process is purely personal. There are rules, formulas. That’s what the school is good for. School acts as a transformer.
Do characters fill you up? Do they fill you up with negative vibes, as well?
Florin Coșuleț: No, they don’t fill me up with negative vibes. It’s some sort of exorcism. You give something away from you… it’s like therapy. You have the chance to set yourself free, if the character is negative or you are faced with some uglier circumstances, you have the joy of releasing bad things. It’s therapeutic.
When you are an actor, do you bring your personal moments on stage?
Florin Coșuleț: There’s no other way. But not all of them fit. Sometimes you have to imagine it.
Were you ever given a part which you felt it was too much?
Florin Coșuleț: It cannot be too much, you are its master. It’s impossible for it to be too much. It cannot be more than you are. However, it may be more complex than you are. But it sometimes happens that the director is very inspired and offers something that is of interest to me. And then it all becomes a very special celebration, when the character that is offered to you joins hands with your inner artistic struggle, with your personal worries.
Was there such a character for you?
Florin Coșuleț: There were many. For instance, the part from Life with an Idiot. I have been living with this fear that I shall never come across such an encounter in my artistic career. Or when I played Franz Biberkopf in “Berlin Alexanderplatz”. In spite of the unfairly short life of the performance, it did not get a chance to run in, it was entirely special, with some scenes with extraordinary experiences. Then, in “Un tramvai numit Popescu” (A Streetcar Named Popescu). We usually played it on Sundays. I don’t like going to rehearsals on Sunday mornings. I’d rather go to church. The streetcar was like a prayer. In the first part, the trip to Rășinari, all kind of crazy things were happening, mostly funny. When we came back, almost the entire trip was a monologue of my character, a prayer-like confession and this was everything I wanted to do that day. These are encounters. The other parts you come across, which are not your creeds, your worries from that very moment, are very interesting challenges. But beyond what’s being offered to you, you have your own. You have your own butterflies.
Did you have any prejudices about theatre?
Florin Coșuleț: I don’t know if I had any prejudices. I rather had some surprises at the university. I didn’t go there thinking that theatre is this or that. I did not have a clear idea. What I did was mostly out of instinct, but it surprised me completely. You realize that it’s all madness, speaking of what you think theatre is or how you think it is done and how it really is. The university was almost an experiment. I was one of the few who caught a very good generation of professors and now I realize in a way how much sufferance I get from the good school that I attended. Because I can hardly compromise and I see that not everything is there where I learnt it should be. There’s a lot of superficiality, some sort of “this is good enough”.
What is the thing that you cannot ignore?
Florin Coșuleț: The non-truth in one’s art. The lies, the pretty packaging.
English Translation: Silvana Vulcan