Thanos Tokakis was born in Athens and graduated from the National Theatre of Greece Drama School. He has participated in multiple TV and cinema productions and has worked with a range of theater directors, such as Moschopoulos, Mastorakis, Chouvardas and Vogiatzis who was also the one to hand him the Dimitris Horn award in 2011. But there is no need to know anything more about him in order to appreciate or recognize his talents. All you need to do is just watch him act and see how he takes over the stage, no matter how small or large it is. Moreover, whenever he talks, he doesn’t make a lot of hand-gestures, but he is almost always smiling. He gives me the impression that, in sentences, he uses his smile as a full stop. The interview was completed on-line, so I didn’t get a chance to see his smile this time. I did, however, notice his humor.
*Interview by Natasha Papachristou
*Shot by Christos Tzimas
#1. When did you first know you wanted to become an actor? Have you ever thought that you no longer want to be an actor?
I knew I wanted to be an actor when I found out that I could make jokes and actually get paid for doing so. It was too late, though, when I finally understood that it needs a lot of psychological effort to admit that I was the center of my jokes.
#2. How different is your career after receiving the Horn award?
It’s like asking someone how who didn’t use to eat legumes how different his life is now that he eats them every week. You feel as if you have grown up a little, and you are happy that this is happening, but there is not a radical change in your life.
#3. What do you bear in mind before choosing a collaboration? Why do you think others want to work with you?
There are three inviolable criteria: First, the director. Second, the contributors. And third, the play and the role. Others may want to work with me, because they are aware that they are more important to me than the play or my role. And the contributors, who have chosen to work with me, have done the same thing.
#4. Do you believe that Greek television can make a come-back and how can it be done?
Ι don’t think Greek television has even reached its peak, so in that sense, it can’t make a come-back. However, if you are referring to the beginning of a “different” television (meaning the artistic programs, not the political propaganda of private and governmental channels), there is only one way: with lots of money, so that the channels are not really interested in making money. This would be the only way to create the right circumstances, in order for the cinema people to work for TV.
#5. What was that theatrical play that made you “lose your mind”?
Ariane Mnouchkine’s “The Castaways of the Fol Espoir”. I felt as if I was a 5-year-old boy again.
#6. Is there a line from some role you have played that you will never forget?
The line that I will never forget, not much for its content, but mostly as for its background is the following: “Oh! Artemi Despina”. My only line as a walk-on at Epidaurus, in 2004 and I was really afraid no one would hear me.
#7. What is the fastest way to recognition?
Murder a famous person.
#8. We all do some things right and some wrong. What do you do in the right way and what in the wrong way?
It’s been a while since I’ve stopped weighing things as right-wrong, good-bad, do’s-don’ts. I make a lot of mistakes. Quite often and every day. And then I repeat them, but in a better way. Until these mistakes are considered to be the right choices.
#9. Would you like to be a rock star or a cowboy and why?
I’d love to be a combination of the two of them. Something like Stevie Ray Vaughan. Because if I chose to be one, I would then prefer the other. While Stevie Ray Vaughan must be happy since there is no such dilemma for him.
#10. This year, you are directing a story-among others- about male friendship and eternal love. What does all this mean to you?
A male friendship is untold, silent, deep and true love. The perception of eternal love depends on your age. During this period of my life, it is a complicity of both, and nothing or no-one else can invade that. It is also an expression of mutual respect and forgiveness.
#11. Would you ever leave Greece? And if so, why?
I would have already left Greece, if I could work anywhere else (and by work I mean earn a living, not have a career). Do I really have to answer this question?
#12. What are your plans for after the elections?
There is a party for the financing of the play “The Motherfucker with the Hat”, which I am directing and is due for November 1st at the Skrow Theater, and the rerun of “Arden Must Die” at the Art Theater from 1st to 25th October.