Photo credit: Prof. Ivaylo Hristov (National Theater "Ivan Vazov")
Author: Iliyana Braykova
Redacted by: Alexandra Terziyska
The great prof. Ivaylo Hristov, who has been the main person in the play “Sex, Drugs, Rock’n’Roll’ by Bulgarian Army Theatre for 27 years, has stated many times that Eric Bogosian’s word was the root of all success for the play. Written in 1991, the play is a collection of monologues which expose the vices of the day’s society. Bogosian writes from his own experience. In the introduction he says: “I’ve spent most of my life stuck between idealism and hedonism, between selfishness and selflessness, between love and sex, between chaos and clarity.” Almost 30 years later these vices still sound up to date.
Sex: “They love to tell me about their boyfriends and husbands. What wonderful men they are. So nice, so gentle, so dependable . . . so boring.” (p. 29)
In the play sex means power, passion, fun, but also deception, fraud, and the complete oposite of love. It’s not the object of a moral evaluation, but instead merely shown as an inseparable part of the life of the characters. It is often blurred under the influence of drugs and rock’n’roll. Most of Bogosian’s persons have sex. The rest talk about it. What about you? Have you ever thought about the relationship with your own sexuality?
Drugs: “You see, Bill, that’s the insidious thing about drugs–you don’t realize . . . uh . . . I mean, you’re having such a good time, you don’t realize what a bad time you’re having.” (p. 13)
What is the distance between having a good and a bad time?
A man gets into an irrepressible intoxication on the eve of his wedding. He bangs a stranger and announces to his friends through tears that he doesn’t want to marry anymore because he’s in love with his night companion. Later on, there is a fight.
Rock’n’Roll: “It’s nice having a number-one album again, you know, considering the band really hasn’t done anything for about ten years . . .” (p. 9)
An aging rock star from a couple of generations ago returns on stage, now sober, and asks himself how he and the other band members deserved to stay alive while Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix have been in their graves for so long. They all took the same, and in ridiculous doses at that. He asks himself also how they were able to make concerts with the guy in the sound booth so high that he tried to smash his head against the glass during the set. Crazy, wild times. Is there rock’n’roll without drugs? This is a matter of choice.
Photo credit: Eric Bogosian (Susan Johann)
In Nikolay Lambrev-Mihaylovski’s production of the play, Bogosian’s characters are embodied by a single person. Ivaylo Hristov plays both a fresh-out-of-prison drug addict, a successful rock star, a beggar, a womanizer, and even a dog. Reading the play one realizes that, despite a slight hostility towards the persons, one somehow identifies with them. It is a matter of time to prove whether the same is to say about the production of “Sex, Drugs, Rock’n’Roll”.