Alexander Morfov >> biography
"Life is beautiful. Life is meant to be lived."
Alexander Morfov (Bulgarian: Александър Морфов) was born on 9-th November 1960 in Yambol, Bulgaria. His father was an officer, and his mother was a teacher in Russian language and literature, and music. She also worked as a folklore choir conductor in Sliven, leading a group of retired teachers. Morfov graduated from the Mathematical high school and after military service he studied for two years in the Technical University in Varna. Morfov's theatre career began during university years, where he participated in Stoyan Alexiev's theatre company. Presently Alexiev is an actor from Morfov's company. After quitting university he began working in the theatre in Sliven as a stage worker and later as a light manager. In 1984 he was enrolled as a student in the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts “Krastyo Sarafov” in Sofia. He graduated from the Academy with a double master in Stage directing for drama and puppet theatre (1990) in the class of prof. Julia Ognyanova, and Cinema directing (1994) in the class of Georgi Dyulgerov.
His earliest works on a professional stage were in the Rhodope drama theatre, where he staged as original author and director the memorable, sharp and topical “Political cabaret” (1990). Shortly after his sophomore production he was invited by the Little City Theatre Off the Channel where he staged “Pere Ubu” by Alfred Jarry (1991), followed by “The Tempest” (1992) and “Hamlet” by Shakespeare in the La Strada theatre.
From 1994 to 2000 he occupied the post of Chief stage director of the Ivan Vazov National Theatre of Bulgaria. Morfov’s first shows at the National Theatre were his original version of “Don Quixote” by Cervantes and a revised version of “The Tempest”. These two gave start to a whole new process of attracting young and modern-thinking audience to the theatre. The reason behind that is Morfov’s style: a mixture of “peaks” and “lows” in an intriguing and entertaining game; the open provisionality of his theatre and exceptional originality of the gags; the use of various means of expression – visual effects, music, etc. With his next production – “Midsummernight’s Dream” by W. Shakespeare, Alexander Morfov became one of the most popular and favoured by the audience theatre directors. His version of “The Decameron, or Passion and Blood” after Boccaccio also bears the traits of his stylistics. “The Lower Depths” by Maxim Gorky is Morfov’s way of sharply stating his civil opinion without betraying his typical theatricality. “Exiles” (2004) after the novel "Homeless and Friendless" by Ivan Vazov, the national poet and writer, is the logical continuation to the latter. Among others, his productions on the leading stage in the country include: “Enchanted Night” after Beckett, Mrozek and Ionesco; “Dom Juan” by Moliere; “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” after Ken Kesey's novel, “Life Is Beautiful” after Nikolai Erdman’s “The Suicide”, etc.
In 2000 he was appointed managing and artistic director of the Ivan Vazov National Theatre. He was dismissed from this position due to a major conflict with the Ministry of Culture in Bulgaria. All of his productions were taken off the theatre’s repertory.
Since late '90s he has been successfully working in Russia. His first show – “The Tempest” in the Komissarzhevskaya Тheatre was a landmark event in St. Petersburg’s theatre life and was honoured with Russia’s most prestigious award in the field of theatre “The Golden Mask”. Immediately after that he was invited in Moscow, in the theatre of the famous Russian actor Alexander Kalyagin, Et Cetera, where he staged “Don Quixote” and “Pere Ubu” with Kalyagin in the leading role. Both productions were nominated for “The Golden Mask” and Alexander Kalyagin received the award for “Best Performance” for the role of pere Ubu. Between 2003 and 2006 he was appointed Chief stage director in the Komissarzhevskaya Тheatre in St. Petersburg where he staged five productions and received the premium “Golden Soffit” for “Dom Juan” by Moliere and was again nominated for “The Golden Mask”. His productions “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” with Alexandr Abdulov and “The Visit of the Old Lady” with Maria Mironova in Lenkom Тheatre also proved to be significant events in Moscow theatre life.
Morfov has received more than twenty national and international theatre awards, among which are the Russian “The Golden Mask”, “Chaika” [seagull], “Crystal Turandot”, etc.
In 2005 he worked in the USA with Mikhail Baryshnikov on the theatre project “Doctor and Patient” by Rezo Gabriadze. In 2006 he finally returned to the National Theatre of Bulgaria as a Chief stage director – a position he occupied until the end of 2014, as of 2015 he entered a mandate for acting director of the National for a second time. He left the position eight months later due to yet another political conflict threatening to revoke the leading status of the National Theatre of Bulgaria as a prime cultural institute of national importance (as envisioned by law).
"The Tempest" (1998) after W. Shakespeare,
staged at the Komissarzhevskaya Theatre
proved to be among his most successful shows in Russia
Morfov’s shows were presented at international theatre festivals in Vienna, Casablanca, Kiev, Torun, Ohrid, Belgrade, Wroclaw, Hamburg, Thessaloniki, Podgorica, etc. He has numerous successful projects in Europe - France, Sweden, Macedonia, Romania, Latvia, and in the recent years in Israel.
He successfully finished his work at the Ion Luca Caragiale National Theatre, Bucharest, Romania, staging "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare. His latest shows include a redacted version of "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" at Dailes Teatris, Riga, and "On the Edge" at the Ivan Vazov Theatre.
Morfov is also a cinema director and scriptwriter with films like "Blueberry Hill" (2002) and TV series version of "Exiles" (2009). He is as successful as a cinema actor with roles in “Ivan and Alexandra”, “Friends of Emily”, “The Last Sunday”, “The Goat Horn”, “The Love Summer of a Schlep”, “Journey to Jerusalem” and others.
In the beginning of 2013 he was pronounced Dr. Honoris Causa by the University of Audiovisual Arts ESRA (Paris – Skopje – New York). In 2016 he returned to Skopje to stage his original version of Erdman's "The Suicide" on the stage of the Macedonian National Theatre. His latest project is the original version of Danis Tanovic's Oscar-winning film "No Man's Land" staged at the I. L. Caragiale National Theatre of Romania and at the Macedonian National Theatre.
As of the beginning of theatre season 2017 / 2018 Morfov will be working on the stages of Dailes Teatris in Riga, Latvia, and of Et Cetera Theatre in Moscow, Russia.
Latest update: July 2017