Giorgos Simeonidis and I met for the first time at the premiere of “Psixi Vathia” (With Heart and Soul), the latest movie of established Greek director Pantelis Voulgaris. We both acted in the movie. We did not have any common scenes together during filming so we never got the chance to meet up in the wild mountains of Kastoria, where the filming of the movie took place. When we did finally meet we instantly got along. I decided to interview Giorgos because I have had various conversations with him in the past about the “glamorous world” of acting. I wanted to get his insight on things in writing and so I did.
Giorgos has graduated from the Drama School of the State Theater of Northern Greece. As a Fulbright scholar, he has participated in the Intercultural Drama Studies program at New York University. He has attended numerous theater workshops and seminars around the world. He was fortunate to make his first steps in theater with a Greek company that was performing all over the globe for several years. In 2011, he has now reached 27 years of theater work.
Giorgos is one of Greece’s most recognizable and experienced famous actors, yet he is always keeps a very low profile. He has won various awards for acting in theater and film, including the Best Actor Award at The Thessaloniki Film Festival for his leading role in the film “Diorthosi” (Correction), by Thanos Anastopoulos.
I talked with Giorgos about his life, career choices, his insight into the magical yet tough world of acting.
What are your plans for next year and what projects were you involved in recently?
My schedule for next year includes a theater production and shooting two feature films.
Although I am an actor, I have recently had the chance to direct two plays in Athens and right now I am collaborating with a team of visual artists for a show in an arts gallery.
In your experience what does it take to be an actor?
To be an actor you need to be patient, to respect other’s opinion, to support teamwork, to be aware of your power to express yourself in public and therefore to be humble. You need also to train your body keeping it healthy and ready and among many other things you need to keep expanding your education and knowledge about almost everything.
What was the most difficult decision and what was the happiest moment of your career so far?
I know it may sound strange but I always wanted to be a research biologist! I still have this dream! Yet, I got involved in theatre when I was 16-years-old. I became fascinated! My most difficult decision was to abandon biology for the sake of becoming an artist. I have had no other difficult decisions since then. I cannot decide which was my happiest moment in my career. There are many moments for many different reasons. I am always happy on stage.
Do you feel you have fulfilled or achieved your goals so far and in what way did that come through?
I never regret being an actor. The best things that I get out of acting is a better perception and understanding of human nature which in the long run helps me become a better person. Apart from that, the stage is the only place I feel free. I think that I have fulfilled my personal goal more than I have imagined when I started doing theater. For the last 27 years, I am in a constant creative mode and I have traveled all around the world performing. I will keep trying to become a better actor. With regards to my goal, well, artistic creation never ends. As long I can stand on my feet I will perform, trying to make others laugh, cry, think, liberate them from any kind of burden thus helping them become better.
Describe a funny incident that happened to you during rehearsals or filming?
I was performing in “King John” by W. Shakespeare in a very small theater. Actors were literally in physical contact with the first row of spectators. The house was full. Actors could see everybody in the audience and everybody could see the actors on stage. Except for my mother, who was sitting in the third row. She is a short old lady. During a quiet scene that I had, she decided to get a better glance of her son performing. Since there was no other way of getting to the front row, she lifted her skirt to the thighs and started climbing down towards the front row whispering apologies to the rest of the audience. Myself and the other actor on stage immediately realized what was happening. The scene kept running but our eyes started flickering in despair. We had an unnecessary pause that produced giggles in the audience and we barely managed to continue without bursting into laughter.
Tell us something about yourself that you think is important to share?
I don’t know how important it is but being an actor seems to me like being a medium, a tool that takes “matter” from imagination and makes it visible, audible even tangible. When I perform I feel that I am revealing a dream only for the eyes of the audience.
What about the financial crisis?
The financial crisis is discouraging for millions of people and is affecting showbiz in Greece. Less productions and lower wages. Nevertheless, I wish and I hope that artists will see it as a challenge. They should not get discouraged. There are always ways to produce art even with less means.
For more info on Giorgos Simeonidis please visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1142826.