City guide

Oliver, the director of Theatre on the Roof

Photo : Theatre on the Roof - Tető Színház
Oliver, the director of Theatre on the Roof

It was not long ago when we had the chance to get to know an English speaking theatre company that is mainly caracterized by having original, quintessential and minimalistic plays. Their great sense of humor and original approach both reached us, so we have been continuing to attend their performances regularly. We caught the director of Theatre on the Roof, Oliver Micevski from Macedonia for an interview!Balázs Dezse

We Love Budapest: Where are you from?

Oliver: I am born and raised in Skopje, Macedonia, where I graduated at National Academy for Dramatic Arts – theatre directing department, in the class of Slobodan Unkovski, one of the leading directors in Europe.

WLB: What is your story? How did you end up in Budapest?

Oliver: Before Budapest, I lived 3 years in Oslo, Norway, where i got scholarship from the Norwegian government for my master studies at the Centre for Ibsen studies at University of Oslo. Once, I had a flight with Wizzair from Budapest to Oslo. I arrived in Budapest 1 day before the flight, and I fall in love with this city, I canceled the flight to Oslo, and I stayed for almost 3 years. In the meantime, I realized that Budapest actually has no professional English language theatre, although its a quite international city, and I decided to open Theatre on the Roof, which deals with English language performances.

Photo: Oliver Micevski
WLB: We have seen some of your plays recently. Can you please tell us more about your job? 

Oliver: To be theatre director is a good job. There are more more components in it. First, we have rare opportunity to play as children, although we are not children anymore, second, we can influence other people and make them better, and third, to be a theatre director is like being auto-psychologist, we heal our souls with the plays we direct, we face our fears, we realize our unrealized wishes… Something like lucid dreaming In live.

WLB: What defines your plays? How are they different and unique?

Oliver: Well, its obvious that our plays are a bit different than the plays on the repertoires at Hungarian language theatres. That is mainly the result of my artistic background, which has developed in two radically opposite countries, Macedonia and Norway, extreme south and extreme north of Europe. I try to mix sun and ice, passion and calmness. The international background of the rest of the team gives our theatre different taste too. Also, we try to send the theatre out of the theatre. Our rule is: no psychological descriptions, no illustration. Our shows are working on subliminal level, not so obvious at first sight. Usually the audience is deeply influenced by our shows, but they don’t know how it happened.

WLB: How many people do you work with? 

Oliver: The choice of the play defines the number of people. Mostly we work on chamber, intimate performances, with few people included. There are couple of fantastic actors who are the constant in all the shows, Timea Kasa, Daniel Hall, Roderick Hill, Carna Krsul, Liana Andrews, Dan Stroiman. We are also lucky to have constant stage designer, Orsolya Vadász, part of Spora Architects, one of the leading architect studios in Budapest, and Marco Bonetti, founder of Visionary Mind Records, high quality alternative indie label, located in Budapest.

Photo: Oliver Micevski
WLB: Where are the actors and actresses from? 

Oliver: We have actors from UK, USA, Croatia, Hungary.

WLB: How often do you guys perform?

Oliver: In 2013 we had few shows each month. This year we will have shows every Saturday and Sunday.

WLB: Where did you guys meet? How did you end up working together?

Oliver: As usually happens in theatres, there are castings where we choose the most suitable actors. Recommendations are working as well.

WLB: How popular are these plays?

Oliver: It goes well. Glass Menagerie has 13 performances already, at Spinoza Café, Akvárium and at our new performing place, at Kossuth Lajos utca. Vernissage has premiere at Thália Theatre, which was sold out in advance, plus few more shows at Kossuth Lajos utca. We keep on going!

Photo: Oliver Micevski
WLB: What do you think about the audience in Budapest? 

Oliver: The audience in Budapest is cool. They are quite educated and experienced. There are many theatres here, so they can easily distinguish what is good show and what is not. Part of our audience are non residents, tourists, international students, who are having averagely the same qualities as the regular Budapest audience.

WLB: What is your opinion about the theatre culture in Budapest?

Oliver: Budapest is practically the centre of Europe, so all the roads are crossing here, including the artistic and theatrical roads. That produces good base for high theatre culture, but to be honest, with few exceptions, as the shows of Pintér Béla or Nagy József, the rest of the theatre is bit oldish. I havent seen too much shows, but it seems like stucked in 70’s or 80’s  years of the last century. You know, year 2014 is here, we can not sell the audience the same things. The societies has changed in the meantime, internet has arrived, so the audience today is much more informed and it is much harder to touch them… I have a feeling that the theatre in 2050, as an example, will look much more like haiku, it will be much more condensed.

WLB: What do you like the most about the city?

Oliver: The best part of Budapest are Budapest girls, definitely.

Photo: Oliver Micevski
WLB: Anything you don’t like here? Maybe something you would change?

Oliver: The main problem here is that everything is very relative, spontaneous. I am dreaming for Budapest which is much more concrete and defined. But, all in all, is good. I find Hungarian people very crazy. Oh my God, how crazy people are they! But I wouldn’t change their craziness I think. Its charming in a way.

WLB: What are your favorite places?

Oliver: I like Telep, LumenFekete Kutya, Mixart, Lámpás, Kisüzem, 400

Photo: Theatre on the Roof - Tető Színház
WLB: Where do you go when you feel like partying?

Oliver: Corvintető!

WLB: Future plans? 

Oliver: There is one abandoned theatre in the centre of Budapest, beautiful one. We are negotiating to get it for some years at least. We will see…