Famous Albanian Actor
- Acting is something
that is very much of its place and time. The actors of yesteryear,
if remembered at all, would seem quaint or overblown to us,
and the French style of acting (for example) is always very
different from the English or the German. In the early years
of the 20th century one of the most famous actors was an Albanian:
Aleksander Moisiu (sometimes known as Alexander Moissi).
- Moisiu was born in
Durrės, of an Albanian father from Kavajė in Central Albania,
and an Arbėresh mother (Arbėresh are the Albanians in South
Italy). After a childhood in Durrės (Northern Albania), Trieste
and Graz, the twenty-year-old Aleksander finally settled with
his mother and two sisters in Vienna. It was there, with the
encouragement and support of Austrian actor Josef Kainz (1858-1910),
that Moisiu's career as one of great European stage actors
of the early years of the twentieth century began. The following
years took him to Prague and then to Berlin, where he became
a protégé of Max Reinhardt (1873-1943).
- Moisiu followed the
Reinhardt Ensemble to Russia in 1911 and was acclaimed in
St. Petersburg by critic and dramatist Anatoliy Lunacharsky
(1875-1933) for his interpretation of dipus.
- Travelling all over
Europe and the Americas, his most famous rōle was Fedya
in Tolstoi's Buried Alive (or The Living Corpse)
- performed 1400 times by him, and seen by more than one and
a half million people.
Moissi in the role of Fedya
in Tolstoi's Buried Alive, Berlin 1913
His repertoire of leading rōles encompassed the whole spectrum
of European dramaturgy from Greek tragedy to twentieth century
modernism. He was the first in Europe to interpret characters
from Strindberg, Tolstoi, Chekhov, Pirandello, and Hofmansthal.
- His interpretations
in the leading roles of Hamlet, dipus, Faust, Dubedat (in
George Bernard Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma), and many
others, were celebrated at the time - as were his voice and
Though primarily a stage
actor, Moisiu also appeared in ten film productions from 1910
to 1935, of which seven were silent.
Given an Albanian passport
at his own request in 1934, Aleksander Moisiu died on March
22, 1935, and lies buried at the Morcote cemetery overlooking
Lake Lugano in Switzerland. In his honour the High College of
Drama in Tirana, and the Professional Theatre of Durrės,
Albania, are named "Aleksander Moisiu." The 60th anniversary
of his death was remembered in Albania in 1995, with an "Artistic
Year" dedicated to him, sponsored by the Aleksander Moisiu
Foundation in Durrės.
Moissi in the role of Hamlet at the Vienna Volksteater,
voice and gestures of Moissi presented us with something hitherto
unseen on the European stage."
- Franz Kafka
is written for Moissi, and Moissi was uniquely born to interpret
the Prince of Denmark." - Max Brod
Piloto, in Lorenzo de Medici, his last movie, 1934-35
- "I salute Alexander
Moissi to whom I am forever grateful, as one of the most brilliant
interpreters of my characters." - Luigi Pirandello
in the role of Romeo, Berlin 1907
- "Man of the South,
always Man of the South. In order not to be frozen he takes
the sun of his country whenever he goes. Whenever you are
with him you'll learn something new about life in this world."
- - Stefan Zweig
Bibliography: Moisi, V.: Aleksander Moissi, Paris
Moisi, V.: Alexander Moissi, (in German), Tirana,