Varda Studio was created by Emil Varda, who has worked as a theater director and actor in Poland as well as downtown NYC. Troubled by the direction of the contemporary world, corrupt politicians and the corporatized intellectual artistic elite Emil, strived to have a voice. His avant-garde approach does not surrender to the sentimentality or postmodern nihilism. He is diverse, passionate, and ethically driven. His first project, All Roads Lead to the Kurski Station, was an adaption of the iconic satirical prose poem “Moscow-Petushki,” and it was performed in Manhattan, Lublin, and Berlin. His second show The Sickness, a story of drug addiction set in 1980s New York, is playing at the Access Theater, 380 Broadway, until Feb. 29th.
T2C: What is Varda Studios and why did you create it?
Emil Varda: It is a theatre company that I started because of what is going on in the world. I have to scream loudly about climate change and the politicians. In Europe there was prosperity. Its scary what is going on now. I have a voice and something to say. For many years, I did theatre and I stopped because I didn’t think I had a voice, now I do.
T2C: What is the difference between theatre here and in Poland?
Emil Varda: I’ve been here since 1983. In Europe the Minster of Art and Culture is sponsored. In NYC everything is dominated by Broadway. Everyone is trying to get there. In my case, I don’t want to be on Broadway. My art is too avant-garde.
T2C: You talk about the Artistic Elite. What is that?
Emil Varda: They are the people who are afraid. They sell out to the corporate world and give up their truth’s. Truth is the most important thing. Many artist don’t care about that they anymore, they care about profits. It feels like nobody cares anymore.
T2C: I read in your bio that your work is based on your political beliefs. Can you tell us more about that?
Emil Varda: I believe that French revolution salute “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité”. I am a little bit of a socialist.
T2C: You opened The Sickness at the Access Theater. Why did you take on heroin addiction?
Emil Varda: I have never tried heroin, but I have witnesses many who were addicted. Many are still in the hells of it and thankfully some have kicked the habit, but still have scars. The Sickness also stands for our society. The elite have us in their hold, with this now.
T2C: You have married addiction with Homer’s Odyssey in this plot. How does the Greek tragedy speak to that?
Emil Varda: It speaks about the human condition, a voyage a transits. This is a ship of fools with no captain and no direction. I am inviting the audition to be a part of the crew, but not telling them this is a ship of fools.
T2C: Where did this idea come from?
Emil Varda: I was involved in theatre in the 80’s and then I kind of gave it up. Glenn O’Brian encouraged me to get back, so I did Kurski Station. Glenn died of cancer and we never got to stage his play Drugs. I decided to do a homage to him and my friends, so I wrote my own play about the subject.
T2C: When creating works what are you hoping to accomplish?
Emil Varda: I am trying to send a message to who ever wants to hear me out. I have a mission to speak. If you listen to the artist you will always here this message.
T2C: What other subjects do you want to take on?
Emil Varda: My next show is what’s ahead of us, what we have to be afraid of and the Italian system. My fears are materializing right before my eyes.
T2C: You are the co-owner of the Waverly Inn. How did that come about?
Emil Varda: In the late 80’s I had a family and I couldn’t pay the rent from my art. I started out as a manager and now I am a co-owner. It’s been a 15 year old journey. In a way we produce 363 shows year. Owning the Waverly gave me the training. Every night is theatre.
T2C: Is there anything you want our audience to know that I didn’t ask?
Emil Varda: Apologies that I don’t entertain or for the lack of that. I seek to tell the truth, which is not always entertaining.