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Tatyana Lolova – the sun in the constellation of stars of Bulgarian theatre

Today Bulgaria says a final farewell to its most ebullient actress

| updated on 3/26/21 2:54 PM
Photo: BGNES

The Aleko Konstantinov theatre of Satire in Sofia is opening its doors to its brightest star today – Tatyana Lolova. But this time the audience won’t be leaving after watching the actress in one of her memorable roles, they will be leaving after saying their final farewell to an actress – the symbol of an epoch in Bulgarian theatre.

When on 22 March it was announced that her smile had vanished for ever, every person in Bulgaria – from the age of 20 to the age of 90 – seemed to wish they could stop time, even for a little while, and bring back her numerous unforgettable roles in cinema, theatre, the interviews she gave for the media in which Tatyana Lolova so generously gave of her talent, her radiance, her laughter.

She was born in Sofia on 10 February, 1934. Her mother was of Russian-Ukrainian descent and her father – an accountant from Kalofer. While still at school, Tatyana Lolova showed a passion for acting, so she decided to apply to the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts “Krastyo Sarafov”. She was afraid she wouldn’t be admitted because during dramatic monologues she would start crying for real, and that was something you were not supposed to do – the actresses had to be careful not to ruin their makeup. But as it turned out there was no need to worry – the tears were there but they were in the eyes of the viewers, and they were tears of laughter. She graduated in the class of Prof. Stefan Sarchadzhiev, and two years later got her first job – at the newly established Theatre of Satire which was to make her the star of Bulgarian comedy.

“I am not a star, I am a sun,” the actress would say laughing, and it was so true.

Tatyana Lolova’s infectious laughter, her fluffy blonde hair, the way she talked were enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face. And she had a way of incorporating them all into every single character she was to play in theatre, cinema and television.

She has 45 films to her name, among them the roles she would be remembered for by generations of viewers – in the films “Warmth”, “Indian summer”, “Bonne chance, inspector!”, “Dangerous charm”, “After the end of the world” and many more.

It was a dream of hers to act in drama. With this in mind, in 1977 she left her “home” at the Theatre of Satire and spent one whole decade acting at Sofia Theatre. She then returned to the “Satire” where her dramatic talent was duly acknowledged – in 1992 she was awarded an Askeer and an Icarus for her favourite role - that of Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days. “It is the role that justified my becoming an actress,” Tatyana Lolova would say. At the end of 2003 came the premiere of another role that came to be emblematic for the actress – in the monodrama Duende at Theatre 199. The show ran for 15 years in Bulgaria and around the world. “Duende” is the word that seems to describe Tatyana Lolova best – as an actress and as a person. A word that is so difficult to translate but which epitomizes what it means to be an artist. Her autobiography – “1/2 a life” came out in 1997 to undergo six editions, the last one in 2012. In 2019 her memoir “Diaries and weekdays” was released, edited by journalist Georgi Toshev.

Tatyana Lolova and Georgi Toshev

“I am so thankful for this chance – of being allowed near her and her husband Svetoslav Dimitrov, because they were both very eccentric. They were an endangered species – gentle people who, beyond their talent, beyond social status – she a glittering star, he – the best theatre artist in Sofia – brought the warmth of their family everywhere they went. They made things warm for other people.”

The actress herself would admit that behind everything she has ever achieved there has always been love, trust, empathy, faith, help – from someone else. What set her apart was her strong sense of reality, Georgi Toshev says.

“I have rarely seen such a decent, such a normal person. She wanted so little out of life. Tatyana was ready to connect with anyone who could offer an interesting job. And she had courage – the courage to continue working even at 87. But what was more important was that Tatyana Lolova was a special person, the kind of person everyone in the country has some memory of, and I believe we all carry her in our hearts.”

One day before World Theatre Day we can say our last farewell to the Duende of Tatyana Lolova, an actress who will live on in our memory with the roles she has left us.

Photos: BGNES

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