He used his office in the ministry of culture as a writing studio: Albanian author Stefan Çapaliku speaks about his work as a playwright.
It was a matter of survival. You can’t make a living from being an author in Albania. Everyone in our artistic community is aware of the necessity of taking on a job in public service to make ends meet. To be honest, I mostly used my office for writing. The government did not inhibit my work. Otherwise I would have quit immediately.
Are actors able to make a living from their work?
Not freelance actors. They often go abroad and end up working in ordinary professions. They can never seem to get by as actors because there is so much competition, despite the fact that we have a good drama school. The national theatre and a few city theatres are the only ones with permanent ensembles, but I feel like they are detrimental to Albanian theatre as a whole. It doesn’t make sense for people to be paid to be on call. Young performers have no access to this self-contained system. I would rather see the market opened, the system reformed. If theatres and ensembles were separated, it would create a whole new reality. I frequently advocate this in articles and interviews.
What advantages do Albanian artists have?
Albania has been in a state of transition since the 1990s. So much is happening all at once. For an artist, such as an author, this can be very interesting. Anything is possible. Those who observe reality discover enough material for a great many dramas. Since 1992, I have spent a lot of time in western countries and have noticed that societal life is not as intense as it is in Albania. In our country, we constantly encounter strange situations, exactly the kinds of things that feed authors’ imaginations. (more…)