The last five years, the Mayakovsky theatre is experiencing a Renaissance: here are born unusual, iconic performances, there is a new generation of actors, and the older theater perform in the most unexpected roles. “Kant”, “Mayakovsky goes for sugar”, “Price”, “Talents and admirers”, “Fathers and sons”, “Russian novel”, “V. O. L. K.”, “On the grass of the yard”, “Decalogue on Sretenka”, “Caucasian chalk circle” — and this is not a complete list of performances appeared in the repertoire for five years under the control of Mindaugas Karbauskis, a man of principle, honest, though closed. We talked with him about the plans and speculated a bit.
— Mindaugas, know that you private person: don’t like to give interviews, avoiding communication with the press… Why?
— There is a problem. When I catch myself on the fact that stretching the truth a little bit, fall into a stupor. It’s written down. To produce the show, sometimes spending six months. Study every word, trying to be truthful… And here five minutes and you’re done. Ready for this? That’s me and hurts.
With your advent of “Mayakovka” many things have changed and opened the scene on Sretenke, in the theatre’s repertoire there are many new names, but it all changes external. And what occurred internal changes?
I can’t be the judge of that. There are people who look for changes from the outside, they know better what has changed. The theatre is a moving mechanism; perhaps what came a lot of new people and some number of people left, we can consider the inner changes. Not my profession — to summarize. Mine is to move forward. We see everything but ourselves. Perhaps, some of the Directors tried to define, but one last thing for me to formulate the vector of its development or movement. I think it’s not my business — it is a matter of the viewer.
— Your “Russian novel” — a metaphysical journey through the life of Leo Tolstoy and his novel “Anna Karenina”, a journey through the lens of playwright Marius of Ivashkevichus. Now in tandem with it, you will be preparing the next Prime Minister — “Banishment”. What would it be?
Exile by genre — road movie, the story of the way… This is the story of an emigrant, Lithuanian, Russian, England. According to the plan we’ll get his way in London, will talk about twelve years of attainment, the search itself, some goals and some teachers.
Yes. Hero absorbs very much. Such a teacher will become even Freddie mercury. And the fact that he’s dead, not a hindrance. In Lithuania this piece look quite so scary. Emigration has touched almost everyone in the auditorium. Russia will be a slightly different angle of vision, perception…
— Scene on Sretenke, small, becomes equivalent to the main one. So the premiere of “Exile” you also planned to play there. Why?
An advantage that gives the small form of theatre, is an advantage to be a little irresponsible. And closer to the viewer. That’s why I really appreciate and like the small form. “Exile” will be released on Sretenka, but if the performance will be in demand, it is possible and transfer it to the main stage. The space of Sergei Mikhailovich (Barkhin — designer) there is such a possibility. I waited for the opening of this scene. And finally will be able to work here.
— How do you choose the books that you read? See in your office a large number of books. Can we say that reading shapes you as a Director?
— I read different books. Favourite author is Thomas Mann. Here (in the office) books mostly for work. Now, for example, Goncharova read, try to understand the origins. It is very important which material you choose. This is because it is then live. Avoid very famous works, but due to the fact that I don’t want to get into a competition to see who will do better. Don’t want to fall into the trap of interpretative theatre. Although “Exile” is already set in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia. In Vilnius he was released Oskaras koršunovas. And then as if from the comparisons will not escape. But I wanted to tell it in Russia.
— Whether the theme of “Exile” in Russia to sound differently than in the Baltic States?
— And why not? I don’t know how will look, but somewhere, of course, will sound different. Do as you feel and understand.
Is a dialogue with yourself?
— Of course, by itself is not going anywhere. Valuable because, when a person in addition to being able to see in others, maybe even something to notice. If we have not found personal points of contact with the material, then… you know.
— Now the Mayakovsky theater launches “Little evening.” What will be the format?
— This will be a creative meeting with our artists — for example, Anna Ardovs, Vitaly Grebennikov, Svetlana Nemolyaeva, Polina Lazareva, Yulia Silayeva, Olga Prokofiev… Our task was to create a space for meetings. We came up with red hall, built chairs, made their cases, created an atmosphere of creative space. It is the Small hall of the theater — hence, meeting these little. A close acquaintance with each other: the artist and the viewer.
In recent times acquire their directorial laboratories to theatre: week two of rehearsals, the show, and then if the result is good — the inclusion in the repertoire. How do you like this?
— I am adventurous and like to predict the result without any two-week experiments. I have enough of the conversation. I rarely invite young Directors, but, God forbid, guess yet. Nikita here I guess, and with all the young… Now we will have to rehearse Anatoly Sulev with him, I hope guessed.
Nikita Kobelev — the phenomenon of your theatre has produced seven performances, including such monumental works as “Berdichev”, “Last”, “Caucasian chalk circle”, working with the Studio-OFF… A build up a parallel between you and him, as his time between you and Tabakov. You can call him his disciple?
— A student? No, just I’m learning from him. We have an equal relationship. The only thing I as the skilled person or as the person having some authority to give him advice. In General, we have a dialogue — what is discipleship?
— You give him creative freedom?
I give him a creative responsibility, not freedom. Freedom is for everyone.
— Are you free to trade?
As best I understand freedom… It’s a question that we here will not understand the format of the interview.
Okay. What do you think, do we have censorship in the theatre?
It depends on the degrees of freedom, including personal.
Next year, the theater Mayakovsky comes into the anniversary, 95th year. In the lobby you have recently hung the quote: “the Directors of the theater, armed with different optics, looking at the man.” How would you describe what will happen in the ‘ 95 season?
— Alas, but the same. I suggested to the staff: “Let’s stop this text to print? Will write just that the building is 130 years old.” This will be enough. We are very constant in this sense: they are doing the same and will continue to do. I peer at the man. And nothing more interesting there.