Tony Naumovski was born in Sydney, Australia. He graduated in 2000 from the Krastyo Sarafov National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria. He studied acting in the class of the actor and professor Stefan Danailov. In 2003 he graduated from the Masters Program in Theatre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, conducted by the English Professor Dr Jim Davis. In 2005 Anna Strasberg granted him a full scholarship for a year of training in the Strasberg legacy at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York City.
Naumovski made his professional debut in 1998 in DECAMERON (an adaptation of Giovanni Boccaccio’s masterpiece) and played one of the lead roles in a production of the Macedonian National Theater of Bitola as part of The Ohrid Summer Festival. He has excelled equally in the three major Medias: Theatre, Film and Television.
Tony Naumovski is the winner of several awards including Best Actor, Outstanding Actor, Best Film, just to name a few. His latest film “My name is Somebody” directed by Orges Bakalli, starring Christina ‘Kit’ Vinsick and Artan Telqiu is earning awards including “Best Actor”, “Best Cinematography”, “Emerging Filmmaker Award”, “Outstanding Achievement in Directing”.
London Prestige Interview with Actor Tony Naumovski
London Prestige: Tell us a little about yourself, growing up and your passions.
Tony Naumovski: I am Macedonian. Australian born, New York based actor. I grew up in Macedonia, with music singing and playing drums, but also with sports. I could ski before I could remember walking, then trained soccer for several years, gymnastics and cycling. I am still a passionate cyclist and a martial artist. Theater came in my life in High school and was a love at first sight. I consider myself very fortunate and proud to have come from such a rich cultural background.
London Prestige: What are you currently working on?
Tony Naumovski: I am working on development of a couple of films scripts and a couple of theater productions. Also I am in prep for a feature film but I would rather not talk about things until they are done. Then there is the never ending work on myself, constantly tuning my body and mind, stimulating myself, questioning myself, stretching my intellectual faculties and always learning from others work too. So its a 24/7 deal.
London Prestige: What made you take the role in “My Name is Somebody” film?
Tony Naumovski: As a person who has had the privilege to have lived and worked in five different countries and has traveled extensively I have experienced a lot. As one of my characters I have portrayed at the legendary LaMaMa ETC in NYC say ‘A lot of a lot’. Identity fascinates me. What is ones identity? Ethnic? Nationality? Professional? Name? Gender? Sexual orientation? Age? Race? Religion? All of the above and something else? Or is it simply how one sees and feels about him/herself? That’s fine whatever that means to a given individual, but the main question/challenge is: How do you preserve your identity in this global society, with all the values and morals that you believe are so essential and crucial for you specifically? Saimir is one of those characters who is fighting and struggling to preserve his identity. While Bruno seems to have developed and adopted ‘another’ identity over the years by changing his entire life and has apparently become ‘someone else’ or has he?
We tried to collaborate with Orges on a couple of occasions and it did not work out. I always liked his thinking and his vision. So this was a good timing to be our first collaboration and I really liked what he has to communicate with this story. He is a lot more mature for his age than his peers and I foresee a very bright future for him.
London Prestige: What journey does your character go on in the course of the monologues?
Tony Naumovski: Saimir carries a huge burden and complexity of the past. Growing up in very turbulent times in a dictatorship in Albania where morals and values were absolutely lost and the question was: what was the right thing to do? To be supporting a corrupt dictator socialist government of be the voice of the future ‘democracy’? But everything has a cost and it is not so simple. What’s praised today is abused tomorrow, and what’s abused tomorrow is praised the following day, it changes constantly in times of transition that ironically enough is still going on in Albania even after the fall of socialism. Saimir gets caught up in one moment of time in history and finds himself betrayed by his own brother, while Bruno seems to have completely changed his life? Or has he? Identity is an eternal struggle, but blood is not water as the saying goes so…
London Prestige: Tell us a little bit more about this film, what is it about, who else are you working with, and who is the director?
Tony Naumovski: Identity crises. American dream. Self betrayal. Living in an illusion. Fantasy land. Family drama. Orges Bakalli is young very promising director with a clear vision and sense of what stories are essential to tell, that have the values and responsibilities of himself as an individual and the morals of the society in his ‘new world’ the US.
London Prestige: What is the most challenging role you have played and why?
Tony Naumovski: There is a couple but I would single out Stalin. I played Stalin to a great commercial and critical acclaim at the Signature Theater on Off-Broadway with a wonderful run of two and half months. Stalin nowadays is viewed as a dictator and a monster by a greater part of the world but in Russia the opinion is split, half of the people think of him as a monster the other half as a hero, the person who saved Russia and eventually Europe from the Nazi Allies.
To play such an eminent figure of history and to make him human, find the humor and charm in him and discover his thinking process is a great challenge. I did an extensive research about him and the facts I found are absolutely stunning. Like he was an accomplished poet, and studied to be an orthodox priest etc. Then I met with people who survived the Stalin regime in Russia in the audience. It was breathtaking experience. There was a lady who had survived the holocaust and then Stalin that approached me and said ‘Oh my God the moment you got on stage and you started speaking I knew it was you Stalin, you sounded exactly like him and the energy and the body language, terrifying absolutely terrifying. And then in tears added: ‘but you are such a beautiful kind young man, how do you play such an evil man’?
London Prestige: And the most fun one?
Tony Naumovski: I once played a baby in diapers who has an affair with a grown lady. The lady of interest, my lover is trying to cover for it from her husband by me pretending to be a baby. This is happening in the future 2058 and the husband is made to believe the babies are so advance in 2058 that their bodies take an adult shape. It was ecstatic. Absolutely Hilarious.
London Prestige: Describe your biggest accomplishment to date?
Tony Naumovski: Becoming a better version of myself through everlasting education and life experience and constant learning from my mistakes and from a lot of great people along the way. It’s always a work in progress, so working on myself to become a better human being and therefore a better artist whatever that means. To able to do this through Art is a dream come true, cause art is my life. Alpha and omega.
London Prestige: What training / education do you have? How has your training prepared you for you acting career?
Tony Naumovski: I hold a BFA in Acting (a four year full time conservatory) from The National Academy of Theater and Film Arts, Sofia, Bulgaria, MA in Theater from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia and was granted a full scholarship by Anna Strasberg through NYU for a full year of specializing in the Strasberg Method of Acting.
In terms of training I have been a part of number of various workshops and masterclasses over the years but to mention the highlights: Was a part of ‘Vis aVis’ later ‘Two Horses’ theatre company based of Grotowski-Staniewski work back in Sydney, then over a period of a couple of years a group of us was working on ‘Elektra’ as an exploratory workshop with Olympia Dukakis, studying for few years with Gia Forkais founder and Master Teacher of OTOA One-Thought-One-Action which I foresee a great expansion in the coming years and also as finalist of the Actors Studio, every Tuesday and Friday session is a Master Class in its own right, moderated either by Estelle Parsons, Ellen Burstyn, Beau Gravitte, Alec Baldwin or Michael Aronov. Nothing really prepares you fully for the real world so to speak but of-course all the prior collective experience and training helps tremendously at least in the part that depends on what you can control.
London Prestige: Is there any academy or professional in the field that you enjoyed working with that you would like to recommend in your city?
Tony Naumovski: There are few: NYU Tisch School of Arts and Columbia University are always on the top of my list, but then you have SVA, Julliard, Yale and then several amazing individuals like Naum Panovski, Gia Forakis, Hristo Hristov, Voza Rivers, Stefan Dzeparoski, Zishan Ugurlu, Cosmin Chivu, Tamilla Woodard, Alrick Brown etc.
London Prestige: Who is your favorite director to work with and why?
Tony Naumovski: Definitely Alrick Brown. Alrick is someone I have build a great friendship and working relationship since we did our first short film together over a decade ago. Over the years the trust and relationship has grow deeper and deeper. We are family. I often tell people that he is a director that if he were to tell me to Jump off 73rd floor completely naked I will do it, no questions asked. Seriously that’s how much I trust him.
Because I know that Alrick has planned and worked out everything to the smallest detail for the overall benefit of the project, truth and depth of the character and the story, every bit of it and every possible angle of it. All of it done with great purpose, intention and clarity of thought and action. Alrick is an exceptional Director, a great writer, An Incredible educator, amazing editor, fantastic producer and an intellectual filmmaker who has a great depth and insight of understanding theatre and Shakespeare in particular. And maybe most important has a great patience and understanding of the actors process. He loves and respects actors.
London Prestige: Have you ever considered branching out into directing or screenwriting?
Tony Naumovski: Why not. Especially If something moves me and inspires me so greatly yes absolutely.
London Prestige: Where have you played a lead role? What was the character about?
Tony Naumovski: Oedipus Rex. Shall I continue what the character was about? LOL. It was a modern concept of the production re envisioned in Greek-Noir style, created by the incredible Gia Forakis, who not only used a completely new translation from Ancient Greek but also had original score with songs for the production. All set up was in a nightclub and O.Rex was more so of a king pin. Think Casablanca. In addition to everything the style of acting was unified by OTOA-One Thought One Action, a directing-acting and performance technique developed over the past decade by founder and master teacher Gia Forakis. One of the most challenging, most difficult and most rewarding experiences for me.
London Prestige: Do you have any theatrical experience? What plays have you performed?
Tony Naumovski: I have been very fortunate to have done over 50 theater productions in Europe, Australia and the US. I have performed in classics such as: Oedipus Rex, Medea, Decameron, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Bacchae etc. and many wonderful new plays.
London Prestige: If you weren’t acting what would you be doing?
Tony Naumovski: Be an Architect perhaps which is really not that different in its essence than Acting.
London Prestige: What have you seen lately that’s inspired you?
Tony Naumovski: ‘Get Out’. I truly loved this film and I think is absolutely Brilliant.
London Prestige: What television shows or show would you love most to be on?
Tony Naumovski: I would have loved to be on the Sopranos. House of Cards. The Wire. Anything that’s done by Marvell or by Martin Scorsese.
London Prestige: What’s your goal for this year?
Tony Naumovski: To stay healthy. To function with such precision and clarity of mind and great ease in the execution of all my challenges. To be filled with great love and joy and be able to share it in the society.
London Prestige: What is your advice for aspiring actors?
Tony Naumovski: Don’t do acting for fun. Do it because you NEED to. Its a necessity and great responsibility to yourself as an individual and to the society. If acting does not defines you Who you are, what you are and why you are, than maybe you should do something else. It’s not a 10-5 job. It’s not a job a all. Its a way of life. If you do not do it as if your life depends on it than no point of doing it. Oh yes and its a marathon (life long one) not a short race. Do NOT betray yourself.