Kadri Roshi, the Albanian Aesop

Kadri Roshi was born on 4 January 1924 in Ballsh, Mallakaster, while his parents were originally from Libohova. His mother passed away when Kadri Roshi was only 2 years old, and he will remain orphan at the age of 12 when his father died. A famous lawyer, the father of Kadri was distinguished by his excellent abilities and the preparations of the cases entrusted upon him.

After the death of his parents, Kadri Roshi would wander around in order to survive, in cities such as Vlora, Kavaja, Gjirokastra, Durresi and finally in capital Tirana, where he would find jobs like porter in the port of Durres, maintenance and as usher at the former cinema ‘’Republika’’ in Tirana.

Even though his relatives were well-educated, among them 25 teachers, Kadri Roshi was left behind, only completing 4 years of school.

He married Drita Taho at the age of 23. The girl from Gjakova shared the same interest for art as Roshi, and would spend 60 years of her life beside the great actor.

Two children were born from this marriage, Ermira and Kliti, both of them following the steps of their artist parents.

 

Beginnings….

Since young age, Roshi would catch the attention of his elementary school teacher, while he recited the poetry of renowned Albanian writhers, Naim Frasheri and Migjeni.

It was 1945 when Kadri Roshi heard about a theatrical group that was to be formed, and he went through his first competition. But it was this competition that caused his first defeat, disqualified for the lack of talent and speech impediment.

No one would even think that beyond the talentless guy in front of them, would be the future Aesop, the unforgettable actor that touched all Albanians with his characters.

He decided to compete another time but still with no success. He joined in defeat another famous name of Albanian theatre, Naim Frasheri. Down on his luck and hopeless, he would wander on the streets, but the turning point was when he met his elementary school teacher, and there would spark the light that paved his way to became an artist.

 

After listening to his former pupil, the teacher that held a governmental position at that time decided to held Kadri, and introduced him to his friend in the directory of beautiful arts. The friend was nonetheless than the famous Albanian writher, Zihni Sako, that would help Roshi, giving him the opportunity to work as a prompter in theatre.

 

Little time passed and a group of non-professional actors, among them the previously untalented guys K. Roshi and N.Frasheri, staged the piece ‘’ Marriage of Gogol’’ where Kadri Roshi would play the role of Podgolisen. The success of this show catapulted this group of amateur actors to the group of the popular theatre, and since that day Kadri Roshi was part of the popular theatre as an actor.

His first role would be Osip, at the ‘’Revisor’’ of Gogol. After the show, that reached an unimaginable success, the famous Russian dramaturge would turn into a dear figure for the young actor.

In 1947, Kadri Roshi wins a scholarship in Zagreb, Croatia, but soon he is transferred in Prague, following the crisis with former Yugoslavia, and graduated with excellent results in 1950.

Upon his return in Albania, his first role would be Osip of Gogol. The success was guaranteed.

Over the course of his career, he played more than 215 roles in theatre and cinema, without including here his activity as director and reciter in different activities in Albania and abroad.

Some of his famous movies are :

“Tana”, “Furtuna“,“Skenderbeu“, “Hamleti“,“Oret e e Kremlinit“,“I cuditshmi“,“Ezopi“,“Oret e Kremlinint“,“Familja e Peshkatarit“,“Zonja e Bujtines“,“Arturo Ui“,“Fytyra E dyte“,“I teti ne Bronx“,“Besa e Madhe“,“Hijet e nates“ , “Malet me blerim mbuluar“,“Fijet qe priten“,“Apasionata“,“Njeriu me top“,“Epoka para gjyqit“,“Lulekuqet mbi mure“,“Lidhur si fishke gjerdani“,“Toke e ndezur,Shkallet“,“Kolonel Bunker“ and  “Kohe e cmendur“, playing the role of Xha Fiqo, being his last character that he played in the big screen.

Kadri Roshi had an extraordinary sense of humor. Whoever found himself around him, would be impressed by the brilliance of his humor, that crumbled down every sadness or drama of life. Modest and humble, Kadri Roshi liked smoking and fishing. Great connoisseur of history, politics, geography and world economy, considering them as necessary knowledge for his interpretations.

He passed away on 6th of February 2007, leaving behind a great heritage for the Albanian nation…

 

/ERvin Çali/