Spiros Bibilas Is The Actor Who Supports Greek Actors And Greek Theater

Interview by Vassilios Nicolaos Vitsilogiannis

(IG: @vassiliosvitsilogiannis)

Spiros Bibilas is a prominent Greek actor known for his remarkable performances in the Greek theater. With his exceptional talent and dedication, Bibilas has captivated audiences with his compelling portrayals of diverse characters. His contributions to the Greek theater have not only enriched the cultural landscape of Greece but have also garnered international acclaim. Bibilas’s commitment to his craft and his ability to bring characters to life have established him as a respected figure in the world of acting. His passion for the arts and his impactful presence on stage have solidified his legacy as a distinguished Greek actor.

How did your journey begin in the field of acting? Are you satisfied with the choices you’ve made in your career?

It started from the day I was born. From my earliest memories of my life, all I could think about was my art. How I could become an actor and contribute through it. Since I was a little child, I wanted to do what made me very happy. I didn’t want to engage in anything else; I might have studied Law, but I didn’t want to deal with it, only with acting. I am completely satisfied with my choice and the career I’ve built over the years because I’ve taken a long life journey through theater. I wasn’t interested in becoming a protagonist or having my own theater; I was

interested in living a happy life through my work.

Many of your colleagues speak highly of you, mentioning moments when you financially supported them. Have you earned a substantial income from your profession?

Through my work solely, I managed to build a satisfactory fortune, live wonderfully, travel around the world, and help those in need. You don’t have to be a protagonist to make money; I worked job rotation in this industry, in theater, television, cinema, advertising, dubbing, and taught in acting schools. That’s how I earned money to fulfill my dreams and have a very interesting life.

Do you believe that Greek actors are more disadvantaged compared to their foreign counterparts?

Through collaborations abroad, I have seen that there are problems; not everything is solved. Actors in America even went on strike to address some of their rights. Through my work, I understood the issues actors face. Even now, as a member of the Parliament, I continue to try and solve the serious problems faced by artists.

What is your vision as the president of the Association of Greek Actors (ΣΕΗ)?

I want to solve the problems faced by artists. Especially with the memoranda, like all of Greece, artists fell victim to exploitation. To make Greek theater heard abroad, theater companies need to travel like they used to in the past, such as the Piraeus Theater and Rodiris’ theatrical performances, touring and playing Aristophanic tragedies and comedies. Unfortunately, this is not happening now. Not even the National Theater can do it.

What is the action and reaction of Greek artists regarding the downgrade of their degrees by the Greek government?

We all know that we fought hard to overturn the government’s decision to classify us all at the level of high school education. It’s very unfair to have studied and then be told you’re a high school graduate. Instead of creating a university for the arts and upgrading studies, the government did the opposite. This resulted in actors being unable to teach in drama schools or regional theaters. We fought hard, but unfortunately, the major crime of Tembi occurred, where 57 people were killed, and we were forced to abandon our demonstrations.

What is your opinion on some Greek productions appearing on digital platforms, and is the quality of these series comparable to foreign productions?

Some of these productions are very good; it depends on the budget allocated by production companies. Now, there is also EKOME, which provided substantial funds for some productions. Comparing Greek and foreign productions, I can say they are equivalent. Productions like “Maestro In Blue”, “Serres” and “The Other Me” have been uploaded to digital platforms and can compete with foreign productions. Of course, there are B-movies produced with less money, but they also exist abroad.

Who are the actors from the old and new generations that you admire the most? And which actors from the new generation do you see as having potential?

I admire several actors from the old generation who became famous as the Greek film industry flourished during that time. Some actors did not play in movies, such as Eleni Argyriou and Mary Aroni, whom people don’t remember because they weren’t seen in films. However, when you look at the new generation of actors, you will realize how talented and significant they are. Two actors that stand out are Panos Vlachos, an amazing actor, and Giorgos Tsouris, a very important actor who is also a director, philologist and musician, and produces his own shows.

Have you maintained the spontaneity of a child? How do you manage situations around you to keep that childlike spontaneity that distinguishes you?

I have an inherent childlike quality that I never lost. On the other hand, I can handle serious issues with courage and decisiveness. One does not negate the other. That’s why the world loves me for who I am.

I don’t want to delve into situations that shed light on #metoo because they are already discussed. What I would like to hear is your opinion on whether Greek society is ready to react immediately and expose such situations in all professional fields.

In some professional fields, people are hypocrites and diplomates. In contrast, Greek society tries to hide the dark side. Only our industry rebelled and said “Enough of it”. Unfortunately, the message didn’t reach everywhere. In sports, some things started being said, but others kept their mouths shut. It’s a shame not to have the courage to build a better society.

Is Greek society considered educated in the realm of culture, enabling it to appreciate theater and understand the essence of the work or what it is seeing?

Some go to the theater to pass the time pleasantly, while others are more sophisticated. There is a sophisticated audience at the moment that follows many performances. That’s why all Greek theaters are full, and imagine that Greece has more theaters compared to other countries with a larger population. It’s comforting. If education advances, the audience will also be educated.

Do you see the Ministry of Culture supporting the actions of actors and promoting their work?

It supports these actions very little. We have demanded larger subsidies for culture. A Theater Museum should be established in Greece, as theater originated here. It’s disappointing to travel to all European countries and see Theater Museums but not have one here. On the other hand, you see the Ministry of Culture intensifying efforts to return the Parthenon sculptures. The refusal of the British Prime Minister to meet the Greek Prime Minister was a great insult.

What drew you to engage in politics and join the party of Zoe Konstantopoulou?

I don’t feel like a politician. I feel like a citizen who entered the Parliament to voice the problems of society, especially those of artists. Being in Parliament, I see that it’s very difficult to get things done. It requires a great struggle. I chose Zoe Konstantopoulou’s party, “Plefsi Eleftherias,” because she is someone who fears nothing and speaks openly. We need a new person in Parliament with fresh ideas who dares.

What are your future plans regarding politics, acting, and the Association of Greek Actors (ΣΕΗ)?

I cannot be the president of the Association of Greek Actors again because it’s prohibited by its constitution. But I can run for the Mutual Aid Fund of the Association of Greek Actors (ΤΑΣΕΗ). I want to be there because we do very important social work for our industry. I will continue my work in Parliament for as long as this term lasts. My dream is to make very good films from now on. One such film is “Captain Michalis,” in which I am one of the main protagonists. I am very interested in producing good theater.

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