Stilvi Psilopoulou-Shiny Star In Acting

Interview by Vassilios Nicolaos Vitsilogiannis 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Larissa an amazing city built by the river Pineios. Filled with history and a rich cultural background. Let’s not forget the establishment of Thessaliko Theater which has given the space for so many prominent actors to communicate their art and also the first ancient theater of Larissa located in the city center. Every part of Larissa is also filled with my personal memories. It’s a place that I will always return to charge my batteries and meet my loved ones.

What did you initially studied and why you chose acting alongside?

I studied English Language & Literature at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. During my studies, I also attended a lot of acting workshops so as to combine these two big loves of my life. Later, I came to Athens and I got registered to Mary Vogiatzi Traga Drama School. I chose acting simply because it could decode my inner feelings and thoughts more creatively and eloquently than anything else. 

How long have you been an actress? From where did you get started?

I’ve been acting since 2005 but this whole spiritual path was never linear, it was filled with transitional phases, ups and downs and me trying to figure out what I wanted to do and how to do it. A very difficult path full of self-confrontation yet a very rewarding one in the end. Everything started from Thessaloniki from ”Ora Theater” whose owner was my most adorable acting teacher Mary Moraitopoulou an amazing and inspirational actress herself with so many accomplishments.

What kind of roles have you performed throughout your career?

I have almost performed everything. From classical comedy and drama plays to modern ones. But I think I am more attracted to modern ones.

What are the strong points an actors should have?

I really don’t know what works for every actor because it’s a very personal matter. For me, it is the intense personal situations I’ve been through. These are always the sources I’m using while acting or writing. Everything derives from my personal life and my philosophical perceptions. This is what creates my art and makes it rich and multileveled.

You’ve done quite a number of TV series. Mention some.

I starred some years ago in ”Oikogeneiakes Istories” a very popular and successful TV series with very high ratings. The stories were always very real and I think that this made the audience feel intimate to their content. It was a great experience for me being the lead and I was also very happy for the high ratings.  Next, I took part in ”Klemmena Oneira”, a very prominent Greek TV series. There I had a very intriguing role of a double faced corrupted nurse who had the power of influencing people for her own benefit. I really enjoyed that too because this kind of roles are always challenging for the actor. In both TV series, I’ve worked with very important people and this was the greatest gain for me.

In how many theatrical plays have you performed so far?

The first theatrical steps were made in Thessaloniki. I was a lead in ”The Butterfly’s Evil Spell” by F.G. Lorca and in ”The Beet and the Devil” by Yorgos Alisanoglou both staged at Ora Theater. At Parathlasi Theater I played Lady Ann in ”Richard III” by W. Shakespeare. Later on I moved to Athens where ”Yard Gal” took place. It was produced for the very first time in Greece. I was the translator, the lead and the line producer of it and it was directed by the very well-known actor Alexandros Stavrou. Next show was ”Prisoners” by Ignacio Del Moral & Veronica Fernandez where I was also the lead. In the summer I took part in the chorus of ”The Saviors of God – Spiritual Exercises” by N. Kazantzakis directed and dramatized by Panos Aggelopoulos. This was staged at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. It was such an amazing experience for me,a dream come true and a great honor to have played in this ancient sacred theater. Another show written by Kiki Selioni took me this time abroad to the stage of the Royal Central Theatre in London. I played Lady Macbeth there. Finally I directed ”A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by W. Shakespeare at Mavrommati Elementary School and I had so much fun working with all these children and expanding myself creatively into the role of the director. Right now, I’m in the process of writing something new-something I want to try, but I can’t disclose much right now.

Please tell me a few things about ”Yard Gal”.

”Yard Gal” was a milestone for me. 

The plot: 

Two teenage girls do drugs and prostitute themselves in very violent urban and lonely background. No families around and no safe homes. They only have one another and they are ready to sacrifice their life for each other’s sake. They are luben and underground and they don’t care and they have come to tell to all these ”good” and ”respectful” citizens to fuck off because they are rotten deep down to the core and the have a terrible lack of morals while being so consumed with theirselves and how to take advanatgae of everything. They have come to tell all of us that what matters the most is true love between people, and true friendship. Those high morals these two girls have come in total contrast with their apperance and their lack of manners. They confront the ideas we have about what is really rude or not. 

It was a play I first read while being a student in the University in Thessaloniki in one of Savvas Patsalidis’ theater courses (major theater critic and professor). So when I first read it I simply fell in love with it. It really reminded me of my teenage years and the so strong frienships I had back then. The truth of the play shocked me to my core. I said to myself that one day I wanted to play in it. 

My dream came true few years later when I moved to Athens. I decided to stage and produce the play by myself. I tried to find it in the bookstores but it was never translated in Greek. Therefore I decided to undergo this procedure too. Christos Moraitis supported me a lot into this step by publishing it. 

At the time I had finished translating it they called me to keep a role in ”Klemmena Oneira” the TV series I have already mentioned above. There I met Alexandros Stavrou and without knowing him personally, I kind of sensed that he would be able to understand the play. We had a scene together so we got to know each other and I told him my idea. He was very enthusiastic and supportive and he even offered to produce it by himself. I was the line producer and I co-starred with Mary Karfaki. The show was a great success and it was extended for a lot more months than we expected it to last due to the great demand of the audience.

When the shows ended I thought about a unique way of promoting my Greek translated ”Yard Gal” book more. I thought that everyone should read it in order to come face to face with the big truth it confronts and not only the theater lovers, so to make it more popular I started taking pictures of it wherever I went. This was a really successful way of catching the attention of a lot of people. This travel book is still continued.

What are some of the films you participated in?

I started participating in short films. The first one was called ”Nekros Thaftis” by Rena Harami, then ”6/2” followed by Maria Stefanidou. The last one was ”Black Boxed” where I wasn’t only starring in it but I have also written and produced it. 

As for feature films the first participation was in ”The Balland of the Ripped Heart” by Yannis Oikonomidis. A film that will be on in October. It was a blast working with such an amazing director as Oikonomidis. Another film in which I starred is ”Ciao Italia” by Giorgos Papatheodorou where I was lucky enough to work with so many inspiring Greek actors like Ilias Logothetis and Elisavet Konstadinidou. ”Ciao Italia” will be out in September. 

You have done a short film title called ”Black Boxed”. Tell us for your involvement to this.

This was a film I wrote and produced. I also starred in it. It was an inner urge to create it beacuse I had to communicate my feminist manifesto. It has to do with the dirty game social media and the cosmetic companies play on us, women. They want to make us feel inadequate and non valuable if we have wrinkles, cellulite and all kinds of non – Barbie/model like features. Women tend to forget who they really are and that beauty lies only in uniqness and imperfection. We are beautiful because we are unique on our own ways, each one of us. We need to wake up from thisemotional roller coaster of wanting to look like Barbie girls of hating our bodies of hating ourselves. We have to put an end to our need of waiting for the likes on Facebook in order to feel valued and accepted. The film was nominated by the Female Filmmakers Festival in L.A. and awarded with special honors by the Artfools Eco-Fashion Film Festival in Greece. 

If you had to choose over one of the three, theater, cinema and TV, what would be the one do you choose?

That’s a difficult question because I really like all of them. Each one has their own charm and I want to use all those three means to communicate my art.

What is acting for you?

Acting is the most major and significant way I have to express my inner thoughts and feelings.

What’s your acting style?

I have attended many workshops on acting techniques but I think the Meisner one was closer to me. Finally I created my own style which is based on simplicity (less is more) and on the presence of the moment.

What has been your greatest accomplishment as an actress?

I think that my greatest accomplishments were ”Yard Gal” and ”Black Boxed” because they are my creations i.e. my children.

What’s your favorite actor and why?

What can someone say about the talent of Holly Hunter. She had such a great impact on me when I first watched ”The Piano”. Another one is Aggeliki Papoulia for her simple and at the same time direct acting style.

What sort of acting roles will you be seeking in the future?

I’ve always liked roles that depict lumpen individuals, but I also liked comic ones though. I guess I am easily getting bored with something which stands in between.

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