June 6 marks 75 years the artistic Director of the Russian academic youth theatre (RAMT) Alexei Borodin. More than 35 years, he stands at his helm. We met after the rehearsal of the new play “Democracy” on the play by British playwright Michael frayn, which will be released in the jubilee, and for the theater year. After all, Ramtha soon 95.
After the play “the Coast of utopia”. Photo: press service of the theater.
— By the anniversary are prepared? Will there be a recital?
— We decided no special celebrations not to make. But in our theater skits are a common thing. So actors for my birthday — an additional reason for one of them. They’re on stage anything will show and I will feed all. I all the birthdays celebrated in the theatre. Comes, as usual, the closest people.
— Why did you put “Democracy” and not Ostrovskogo, for example?
— It’s hard for me to talk about it, because now the midst of work. Why should I do all? It is important to listen to yourself. Yury Shchekochikhin was a journalist, not a playwright, wrote the play “Trap No. 46, growth second”. And she at that moment was more important than “hamlet.” Theatre needs something to resist. When I decided to put “the Coast of utopia, everybody said I was crazy, who would watch that? And the show’s ninth season is already underway. It was the answer to our life. “Nuremberg” also was a reaction to what I as a man feel. Here is the German Chancellor Willy Brandt in “Democracy” suddenly took a swing at the impossible. I took the theme of confrontation circumstances. It is already clear that there will be what a person wants, but he still hoped. Today it gets even funny, so I chose “Democracy”. It is about disillusionment.
— Ramtha near the Large and Small theatres. Does it matter the geography? In a Large say that the very closeness of the Kremlin imposes on the whole way of life imprint.
— In 1936, the building in which we are, given the Central children’s theater, under the leadership of Natalia Sats. It would seem that everything is noble, but there was something hypocritical — after all “for the children” kicked out of the room Mat II. This was done on the top and quite deliberately. And then we were all like, there was nothing special to fit this area. Called the Central children’s theatre, and now it is the Russian youth theatre is a free — form organization. No enslavement there. When we begin to carry something meaningful, art goes. Natalia Ilinichna Sats barely had time to move into this building, and in 1937 she was arrested. Here then worked loose, creative people: Olga Pyzhova, Leonid Volkov, came Mary Knebel, in which appeared Efros, pink and Efremov. And everything blossomed. It was a magnificent time. I remember what it was fresh and free theatre. Even as a schoolboy, came here, found the last performances Efros before his departure in “Lenkom”. It is clear that it was necessary to get the order of Lenin, and Stalin’s portrait hung. Nevertheless, the artists did their work.
“In 1968 I was left with nothing. Realized that I need to leave Moscow”
— You came in the Central children’s theater to increase after the Kirov Theatre for young people?
— I was appointed. Caused to the Minister and said, “Want you to come work in the Central children’s theatre”. In Kirov we worked well. There was a free atmosphere that I can appreciate, because before that was a real lesson in Smolensk. In the fifth year there I set the play “Two friends” Voinovich, after which I was accused of formalism and anti-Soviet. The story is a wonderful, easy — was published in the “New world”. We have so much fun put it without figs in your pocket. The hero dreams of becoming a pilot, and his father writes a circus Reprise. So I decided that it takes place in the circus. The next day after the premiere took place the meeting of the regional Committee. I was invited and began to smash. One of those present objected: “the Man your heart is laid out, and you stomp on it”. And then those who tried to protect me, began to remove from the waiting list for the apartment, canceled the protection of the finished thesis. Was 1968, when Soviet troops entered Czechoslovakia. I managed to put in Smolensk also “the Glass menagerie” as a thesis. But in the end left with nothing. I all the blocked.
— You were vulnerable, or still could to protect yourself from such a nightmare?
— I was so surprised and amazed that any emotional wounds I had. But I realized that in Moscow nothing I have will not work. In the “Theatrical life” published an article directed against young Fomenko and Efros. It was said that even the student of GITIS Borodin went about it the wrong way. I was proud of it that he was in such a great company. Continued to walk in Moscow, something I was promised. My teacher Yury Zavadsky someone recommended me. I even started on his course work, but realized that I need to go somewhere. So I got into Kirov.
— There you have contracted for life virus children’s theatre?
— I really wanted to work in the theater, and then there was asked to become chief Director. In Kirov I got thanks to his faithful friend Lena Dolginow that there was a Director. In Kirov then had a hard time, took a chief Director, and Lena was recommended to me. Compared with Smolensk, Kirov was Paradise. I have still remained friends then worked at the city party Committee and the Komsomol. They reasoned like this: you’re the expert, you decide. Six and a half years I worked there.
— You have at that time already had a family?
With his wife Helen. Photo: press service of the theater.
— LEL, as the wife of a Decembrist, went behind me, although her dissertation was on the approach. Already my daughter was born, Natasha. In Kirov she went to school. And then there was a son, Volodya. Everything was good: close to family, creatively rich work. I didn’t have any complex about the fact that I was in theatre for children. I put there “Life of Galileo” by Brecht, “Bumbarash”, “West side story”, “the Inspector General”. It is important to protect children from the cynicism and vulgarity. Everything else is the child able to perceive perfectly.
And children’s performances were not a burden to you?
Five years ago I realized something immediately to do with children’s performances. They can go on a hundred years, they will be coming more and more new viewers. It seemed to me that we go on the thumb. We coined the project “Young Directors — to children”, has done four plays with students Sergey Zhenovach. We have on small stages is eight children’s performances — one better than the other. They are not mine, so it’s easy for me to talk about it. Came the pupil of Kama Ginkas Ruzanna Movsesyan Oleg Dolin of new generation of Zhenovacha” — great guy. The artists were ready to work day and night. Just young guys came and looked at from all angles adult uncles and aunts, which is humiliating to put the children’s performance.
I myself came to the laboratory of Maria Knebel, in which both participated Zinovy Korogodsky, Lev Dodin, Boris Naruszewicz, Adolf Shapiro. They were saved in children’s theatre from officialdom.
— And because you studied at the faculty teatrovedchesky?
Three years before directing after acting failed.
— Really wanted to be an actor?
— Of course. Twice did not yet come: do not go. What I’ll be in the theater, in this I have no doubt. Weird — family-I have no theatre. And when we had to choose to practice theatre in Moscow, chose the CCC without hesitation. Here worked awesome old people. One time we celebrated something in the theater, and Oleg Yefremov told me: “you Know, it was the happiest time when I played here Ivan the fool in the little Humpbacked Horse”. This, he said, already being the head of the Moscow art Theater. And in the 80s, when I came here, it was somehow elevated. Was serious about the arts Council and the party Committee. In Kirov, everything was easier.
“I have pathologically no ambition”
— Was it really that good? I am amazed how can so many years to stand at the helm of one of the theatre?
— I always compare life repertory theatre with the life of a man that once have a cold, even pneumonia to. Happen and more severe illness. And they have to be, otherwise it is an alarming signal. Theatre also develops: can’t avoid getting sick. It so happens that you don’t know what to do next. Sometimes it was decided that it was time to leave. But there is something inside that helps you deal with it. Pathologically I have no ambitions of its own, but in relation to the theatre they have to, otherwise I wasn’t. The most dangerous is when there is a feeling of self-satisfaction. Every season is a new path. All the time something needs to provoke. I so your post and understand. Should be interesting to me in the first place, and then — and others. In my utopian view of the theatre can affect the audience, to lead them. It’s naive, probably, thought, coming from my youthful love of art to the public theater, which was the ideal of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko.
— You have a famous students — Chulpan Khamatova, Yevgeny Redko, Elena galibina… I Can say that you to my actors and students of the father?
— To those who find themselves close-minded, to treat as close people. But it’s hard. Artists — people are still the same. Why I continue to teach at GITIS? Because young get strong support. I share with them experiences, but also taking much from their open greed. Sometimes grumble about what they used to be students, and what is now. But the current talented people were as obsessed as those who went into this profession 20 years ago. Our theater has such a gift — open to receive young. You may think that I am an idealist who never sees anything. All you can see. But I still live romance, though there is skepticism and self-irony.
— When you decided to go to the theatre, what was?
— I for this case was very passive. To the extent all afraid, even to go to College! Understand why I was not accepted to the acting Department. Included is a timid boy with glasses. What’s an artist! Although my childhood was free. We were brought up in love. Mother, father and grandmother, when we came from China to the Soviet Union, tried to create a real home. They built family life. Every week to clean the floors with persistence of maniacs. Forever in the house came over the crowd of people, my classmates. Parents it is cultivated. Maybe here in me the desire to create something. When I was asked what I’d be, in your 6-8 years replied: “the Reader”. Then took it into his head that I would become an artist.
— You came from China in the USSR at the age of 13. How do you live there?
— My dad had a paint factory, which he created from the workshop. He was a factory owner, breeder. Just reached their labor. There we lived very happily. In Shanghai at that time was a large Russian colony. In five years I went to the French College, and at seven I went to an English school for boys, where he taught the monks. Remember they are with us played football. But then my parents moved, relatively speaking, in the Soviet school. In the class there were 12. The house was full of books, Russian records. “Queen of spades”, “Eugene Onegin” I knew by heart from childhood. We staged performances.
— So you lived in a closed world, and behind the walls raged unknown to Chinese life?
— Especially we have not come across it. To get to our mansion, we had to drive through poor neighborhoods. Sometimes walking was getting. The Chinese were staring at us. But overall, our life was isolated.
— So you nostalgically remember not Chinese noodles?
— No, although Chinese cuisine very much. But in our house was European food. Sometimes we were taken to a Chinese restaurant, but this rarely happened.
— And the Chinese culture influenced you?
— Once, when I was eight, I visited the Chinese Opera. It seemed to me the boring stuff. But Soviet movie I was heavily influenced. We watched “Fifteen-year captain”, “the children of captain Grant”, up to “the Kuban Cossacks”, which my parents perceived as a operetta. What happened in the Soviet Union, they did not know at all. Therefore, the desire to leave in the Soviet Union they lived, and to us this idea is instilled. The Soviet Union seemed to be a country of countries.
— And how did you see Soviet Union?
We’re back in 1954. Already the people not planted. For parents it was a complete surprise all that they saw. In addition my family had three sisters — Chekhov’s option. The younger sister then write how hard it was for her transition into a new life. And I have nothing but interest was not. Remember how we traveled by train across the country, saw Baikal. For a year we got to Chimkent. Lived there in the courtyard theatre. I went to rehearsal. And when I get to Moscow and began to live in Pushkino, where my parents bought half of a house, the fun began. I never heard from them nor a single breath. It was an example of tremendous perseverance. I have the realization that all of this is different in comparison with what has been said, and generally not as it should be, it’s after school.
— So in China you were a pioneer?
— After the war and during it the people there in patriotism took Soviet citizenship. In Shanghai there was a society of citizens of the USSR. Pioneers we had no right to be, but figured out that we will be Krasnogorskoye. But it’s doubtful.
— But in the Soviet school Chinese you not teased?
— No. In Chimkent, when I first came to English class, the teacher said, “We read to the first error”. I started scribbling like a machine gunner. After some time, the class buzzed: he will read endlessly? In 8th grade, I arrived in Pushkino. We had a lovely class. Was self-knowledge. I remember it well. And when I put the play “Trap No. 46, second growth”, to me it was easy things to comprehend, because I remember myself at 13 years old. I realized then that man is mortal. It was a great feeling.
— Your daughter Natasha has studied in GITIS, but then abruptly changed the life. The son also did not go in your footsteps. How did you manage to protect them from the theatre of poison?
— They grew up in the theater. My wife Lola is a biologist and studied science. There was a period my son and daughter when they wondered whether to go to them on a theatrical path. I told Natasha: “Imagine that you’re not an artist, but nevertheless interesting live”. Two days later, she said, “Yes, I can imagine that I’m not an actress.” “Well, then forget about it.” That was such a conversation. Parents should not decide anything for the children. My dad and mom, when I said that I would be an artist, and then it seemed like something extraordinary, didn’t tell me: “what’s that for?”. And I said to Volodya when he decided to be an actor: “Well, come on.” He also thought about it and decided: “I won’t be able to laugh and cry. Ingeniously defined the essence of the acting profession. However, Natasha still went to the theatre faculty, was head of the literary part of the Theater. Pushkin worked on the TV. Vladimir graduated from Russian state humanitarian University, studied political science. In 18 years has worked in the magazine “Open policy” with awesome professionals. And in 26 years became the chief editor of “Izvestia”, then “Labour”. He was a whole man and, when disappointed in the profession, I decided to drastically change my life. In the end, son and daughter went into business. It was absolutely creative. Vladimir now lives and works in new York.
— I read an interview with him about how he and zero had established the restaurant business.
— I had, of course, come in and see how it’s interesting. No less than in the theater. The son went to his friends in England, and then in the United States to organize a new business. And Natasha here to do business, he opened several salons. People should be free to choose. My children went to the area where I really wasn’t able to help them.
— You have how many grandchildren?
Five. I love them terribly. It’s all different worlds, and each. Volodya — three children: Sasha — 14, Mike — 12, Dasha — 1.5 years. She’s already in America, was born, American citizen. Natasha has two children: a son Nikita is already big, he was 21 years old and Mary is 4 years.
— Hard to live at a distance?
— I really miss you. Saves Skype. Sometimes we talk for an hour. At first it seemed that America is so far away. Now consider this: three films there, three back. On Board you can see the latest paintings. We connected very strong, and distance sharpens a lot. Volodya is already a grown man. We have always been close, but now especially.
— Adult grandson in the artists does not want?
— Once we rode the train, Nikita something portrayed, and some woman said, “I Guess you’ll be an artist”. And he, at four, said: “I grandpa said over his dead body”. Nikita completed the first stage of Higher school of Economics.Related posts: