Tamila Koulieva and Greece

Giving life to three distinct characters in the space of a single season is no easy task. In the case of Tamila Koulieva, serenity conceals discipline and exercise: The actress is currently appearing on stage in August Strindberg’s «Miss Julia» as well as giving life to two television characters in «Jugerman» and «If You Love Me.» Koulieva’s career kicked off in Greece in 1998, in Vangelis Serdaris’s feature film «Vassiliki» and the popular television series «The Life I Didn’t Live» – the latter essentially turning her into a household name. With degrees in directing, acting and piano (all earned at top Russian institutions), Koulieva had also starred in four feature films back home. In Greece, she soon became fluent in the language, taking lessons with her son. Her reason for coming to Greece in the first place was director Grigoris Karantinakis. While studying together in Moscow they had become an item. «If you want to get close to people you have to learn their language,» says Koulieva. In her case, she says, «the welcome was generous.» Koulieva’s first theater job was in a Dimitris Tarlow production of «To Ktinos sto Feggari» (The Beast on the Moon). In the last few years she has maintained a steady presence at Antonis Antypas’s Aplo Theater. «There is nothing wrong with being part of something,» says the actress. «I dream of finding myself on stage alongside colleagues with whom I can unravel the story right from the beginning – not just as a result of memorizing – and to enjoy the process. That’s how I feel this year.» At the Aplo Theater, «Miss Julia» is directed by Nikaiti Kondouri, co-starring Aris Lebessopoulos. «It’s really impressive how a play which was written in 1888 can be so contemporary today,» says Koulieva. «In this case there are two angles: the battle of the sexes and that of the classes. The first will never cease. Contrary to popular belief, however, the second one exists in quite another way these days.» According to the actress, Julia is a «dynamic, self-centered, provocative woman who seems to be flirting with death.» As for the work’s author, Koulieva’s point of view is clear: «I’m not one of those people who believe that Strindberg was a misogynist. On the contrary, I think that he admired all that made men scared of women.» Koulieva has a gift for crying – on demand. While some have criticized her, others wish they could do the same. «The secret lies in not having to try,» says the actress. «It just has to happen. The point is not for me to cry, but for the audience to experience emotion. Feelings are a result of a variety of things; they cannot be explained.» Aplo Theater, 4, Harilaou Trikoupi, tel 210.922.9605.