Alexandros Nikolaidis wants to awaken our consciousness, bringing to the fore situations, stories and feelings that take place out there, in the “real” world

Alexandros Nikolaidis

Not to be left with only silence...

Text: Dimitra Kehagia || Photographs: Alexandros Nikolaidis' archive
Alexandros Nikolaidis
Alexandros Nikolaidis

In acting, he found what he had been yearning for since childhood: a way to share the world he believes in; to communicate it. For Alexandros Nikolaidis, the real function of the actor is, through the action and the performance, to share with the public their thoughts and concerns; emotions and passions. He describes his work as that of someone who wants to awaken our consciousness, bringing to the fore situations, stories and feelings that take place out there, in the “real” world.

He grew up, in more than one sense of the word, in the Thessaloniki drama troupe Mikros Vorras. “It is my thespian home because, from our very first collaboration, I saw a trust and a belief in me which made me feel that I am connecting with people with whom I share common goals, vision, perseverance and belief in our powers. I have experienced and still am experiencing wonderful moments through the troupe’s shows. With its children’s theatre group, I have toured half of Greece.”

His shows have brought him to classrooms – even virtual ones, due to the pandemic. After having given approximately 1800 performances in schools to this day, his dream school has all the necessary infrastructure, is aesthetic and colorful. Its buildings are not prison-like. It employs drama teachers and specialists, music tutors, art teachers and entertainment animators. “Schools that do not cast art aside.” He would like to see the school of tomorrow be a second home; a hearth for the children. “A place where the child feels they are learning, but can also express themselves, with teachers safeguarding the sensitivity of childhood.” He feels fortunate that when he was a pupil and had teachers trying to discourage him from becoming an actor – because, as they said, it was “no useful vocation” – his parents nevertheless supported his choice.

Alexandros’s involvement with education put him on the path of teaching Mikros Voras’s drama workshops for educators. “I cannot claim the word ‘teacher’ for myself; it is too heavy,” he says, and notes that he spends a lot of energy, and a lot of time studying, researching and recovering on this “role.” “It is a great responsibility,” he explains, which nevertheless is rewarded with the thrill “from every smile of a student who may feel more whole because of something I have given them.”

Wearing three hats, that of the actor, teacher and now director, all came from the teamwork at the drama troupe. “I owe everything to Tasos Ratzos, who believed in me from the very start and gave me these opportunities. On my side, I too was there for the team at every difficult moment. And that is the future for theatrical Thessaloniki: groups.”

He is taken with this special relationship that is built, he says, on stage every night; with the truth that the actor is called to champion right in front of the audience; with the energy of the stage boards. But he is equally attracted to the cinema, where he ventured with his participation in the film “Sarmako – Mia Istoria tou Vorra” [Sarmako – a Story of the North],” written and directed by Markos Papadopoulos and premiering at the 61st Thessaloniki International Film Festival, which was held online in November 2020. The film transports us to the Thessaloniki of 1949 via a legendary haunt of the city for decades – taverna Makedonikon in the Castles district.

The film has already traveled to Cyprus and Sweden, and was shown at the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival. He would have loved to follow it as a spectator, “to see the reaction of foreign audiences.” However, he has not considered living abroad. “The language barrier is the biggest obstacle. It is not easy to change the way you communicate and express your truth. I would prefer to have a troupe on a small Greek island, even though it would mean a limited audience, than to leave the country for a world that would swallow me.” His biggest fear is that he might one day stop what he is doing. It is imperative to him not to let the years – life – go by without images, stories, and sounds. “Not to be left with only silence to remember.”

Recently, the online screenings of Sakis Serefas’s “Viral Thess” concluded, in which Alexandros takes part. This production will be shown in theaters once circumstances allow it. He also took part in the recording of the new production by Theatro T, titled “Winter Solstice – Reconstructed” which will be shown on demand. Alexandros’s short-term plans include directing Mikros Vorras’s new children’s show, centered around Aesop’s myths, and acting in their new production for teenagers, “The Iliad“.