1992: Stefan Danailov in “The Price” by Arthur Miller
Stefan Danailov has been a star of Bulgarian theater and cinema since the 1970s. Since 1979, he has been a leading actor in the Ivan Vazov National Theater.
Among the more significant roles of the great artist on the stage of the theater are: Hamlet in “Hamlet”, Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice” by W. Shakespeare, Adolphus Kazans in “Major Barbara” by B. Shaw, Ivan Kondarev in “Ivan Kondarev” by E. Stanev, Boycho Ognyanov from “Under the Yoke” by Iv. Vazov, Don Juan in the play of the same name by Zh.-B. Moliere, Sasso in “Night with the White Horses” by P. Vezhinov, Nikolai Stavrogin in “Demons” by F. Dostoevsky, Alessandro Medici in “Lorenzacho” by A. de Musset, Don Quixote and the Innkeeper in “Don Quixote” by Cervantes, Stefan Dragodanoglu in “The Skirts of Vitosha” by PK Yavorov, “Jake’s Wives” by N. Simon, The Father in “Decameron or Blood and Passion by Boccaccio” in the performance of Al. Morphou, Doolittle in “Pygmalion” by B. Shaw and others.
Stefan Danailov and Maria Kavardzhikova during a rehearsal of “The Price” by A. Miller, 1992 / Photo: Ivan Grigorov
The camera of the photographer Ivan Grigorov has captured unique moments from the rehearsals of Stefan Danailov in the most famous play in the world at that time – “The Price” by Arthur Miller, played in the National Theater before him by Apostol Karamitev in 1968. Stefan Danailov played her in 1992 under the direction of Leon Daniel.
A mise-en-scene artist who also plays a major role in Arthur Miller’s play is Atanas Velyanov.
Director Leon Daniel, during the rehearsal of “The Price” / Photo: Ivan Grigorov
As can be seen, at that time the National Theater had a rich and varied repertoire, without political restrictions regarding the authors of the dramatic works, among which there are European, American and Bulgarian playwrights. This wide range of works has also given the actors the opportunity to show their talent in a wide range of roles. The theater was generally an accessible and favorite place for ordinary people. There could be discussed topics of a different nature, in the whole spectrum of social relations.
The fact that Miller’s play was performed in our country in 1968, with the participation of famous actors such as Apostol Karamitev, Leo Conforti, Lubomir Kiselichki, Moises Benies, etc., speaks of how adaptable the Bulgarian theater was at that time.
As already mentioned, in 1992 it was staged again by the great Bulgarian director Leon Daniel, with the participation of Stefan Danailov, Maria Kavardzhikova, Kiril Kavadarkov, Stoyan Alexiev and others. The play is performed with great interest from the audience.
Maria Kavardzhikova, Stefan Danailov and Leon Daniel, in a working moment at the rehearsal of “The Price”, 1992 / / Photo: Ivan Grigorov
“The Price” is a play in two acts written in 1967 by Arthur Miller. Its world premiere took place on February 7, 1968 at the Morosco Theatre, New York. The Price is one of Arthur Miller’s most exciting and entertaining plays, and he is known to be an incredible storyteller. Typical of Miller’s approach and in her plot, nothing seems to happen, but it turns out that we understand so much about the lives of the characters…
Arthur Miller allows actors to “re-draw” their roles.
Stoyan Alexiev and Kiril Kavadarkov during a stage rehearsal / Photo: Ivan Grigorov
The action takes place in the attic of a once prosperous stone building in Manhattan. It is soon to be demolished in the name of architectural progress. The ceiling is cluttered with worn-out furniture and all sorts of out-of-date things – an old radio, a record console, a pile of dusty records.
Everything seems like a dump of memories of a past life.
The mise-en-scène of the production in 1992 was the work of stage designer Atanas Velyanov / Photo: Ivan Grigorov
A police sergeant walks in and looks around the room. He beats the old harp. A sound echoes in the silence of the empty room, and then a voice from a recording is heard:
– Now Mr. Gallagher, now Mr. Gallagher, will you tell me what this question actually means, I just wanted to know…
The officer stops the recording. And for the viewer, the question arises more and more frantically: What is actually happening?
Arthur Miller is a master of suspense.
Director Leon Daniel gets excited while explaining the images of Miller’s characters during the rehearsal of “The Price” / Photo: Ivan Grigorov
The development of events will quickly take off when we learn from a conversation between the police officer and his wife that he seems to have failed in his life plans. He didn’t finish college because he sacrificed himself – he wanted to support his father, who was a victim of the Great Depression. And his brother, on the contrary, preferred his career and is already a famous surgeon. The two brothers have not met for 16 years. Now the “fallen” brother has asked his ascended brother to return so they can clean the attic together with their father’s dilapidated furniture.
Stefan Danailov and Stoyan Alexiev, in a scene from the rehearsal of “The Price” / Photo: Ivan Grigorov
Spectators expect to see the “monster” brother, when instead of him the elderly Solomon appears on the scene, not by chance bearing this name because he is a “wise dealer in antiques”. Maybe he wants to buy something?…
The comic appearance of the character is only a ruse because the role is highly dramatic.
Director Leon Daniel during the rehearsal / Photo: Ivan Grigorov
And finally the surgeon brother arrives. It’s time for questions and answers between the two brothers, 16 years late. A spat of verbal anger erupts between the two. Everyone turns the facts upside down to justify their choices. Who is wrong? – Miller asks us all the time as we listen to them. – The loser or the winner?
Are there actually winners in this game, and what is the “price”?!
Stefan Danailov and Maria Kavardzhikova, in a scene from the rehearsal / Photo: Ivan Grigorov
In the years up to 2017, this play has been revived four times on Broadway. In the year since its premiere, the original production has been played 429 times there and thousands of times on various stages around the world. Already in the year of its premiere, it was nominated for two Tony Awards and received the award in the category of best play. Over the years, she was nominated for a “Tony” in different categories two more times – in 1992 and in 2000.
Leon Daniel and Stefan Danailov during the rehearsal / Photo: Ivan Grigorov
On the home stage, Leon Daniel’s production from 1992 was so strong that an article was published in “Kultura” in which they wrote that the National Theater had finally turned “from a propaganda to a cultural institute”.
The Bulgarian theater keeps pace with a world phenomenon such as the work of Arthur Miller.
Stage rehearsal with actors Stoyan Alexiev, Maria Kavardzhikova and Stefan Danailov, 1992. “The Price” by A. Miller / Photo: Ivan Grigorov
It is curious to add that “The Price” maintains viewer interest around the world to this day. There is also a television adaptation by director Fielder Cook, based on a screenplay by Arthur Miller from 1971. The production was nominated for four Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Production. It received Primetime Emmy Awards for both Outstanding Performance by a Cast Colleen Dewhurst and George K. Scott in Lead Roles, and Outstanding Performance by a Cast in Supporting Roles by Harold Gray and David Susskind.
Director Fielder Cook was awarded for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Drama, and in 1972 he won the Directors Guild of America Award.
Leon Daniel during the rehearsal of “The Price”, 1992 / Photo: Ivan Grigorov
In 2017, the play was again nominated for a Tony Award, and again received awards in several categories, with the Outstanding Actor in a Play category going to Danny DeVito. The actor also received the Drama League award for excellent performance.
Our star Stefan Danailov played this role with great success on his home stage in 1992.