The Honored Artist of Russia
Vyacheslav Dolgachev
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Premiere at the New Drama Theater: «Nastasya Filippovna»

Autor: Ariuna Bogdan
Source: «Vechernyaya Moskva», #70, 17.09.2008.

The New Drama Theater opens the new season tomorrow with a new premi?re. An unusual interpretation of a classical work awaits the audience. We tried to learn the details asking Vyacheslav Dolgachev who became the leader of the company seven years ago. During this time new titles emerged in the playbills as well as many new young and talented actors joined the theater.

— Vyacheslav, as far as you company is concerned, it is very young in general, isn’t it?

— Last year the Moscow government were concerned with the low number of young actors in theatres, and so it happened that we became ahead of the pack, because our company gets younger and younger each year since I have come here. Now it is really the youngest company in the capital.

— The opening of the season is marked with the premi?re «Nastasya Filipovna». The only known thing is that it is made after the Dostoyevsky’s novel «Idiot» and the Andrzej Wajda’s idea…

— Some 30 years ago Andrzej Wajda made a production named «27 rehearsals of Nastasya Filipovna». At the eyes of the audience he tried to make a version of the novel told by Myshkin and Rogozhin. We liked this idea, it seemed an interesting variant, to cover exactly in this way the novel and the character of Nastasya Filipovna. We took the Wajda’s idea, but created the original version. The main thing is than the performance starts at the last chapter of the novel, in the night after killing Nastasya Filipovna. Then Myshkin and Rogozhin try to reconstruct the events and relations, using all the text of the novel.

— Than means the name is a deception. The title is «Nastasya Filipovna», but there are only Mishkin and Rogozhin on the stage.

— You may say this is a deception. But in fact their task is to solve the mystery of the woman. And I hope the audience will have a feeling to become acquainted with her. The image of Nastasya Filipovna should arise in their minds, that’s why I think there’s no deception in it.

— And who is to be Myshkin and Rogoxhin?

— We have young actors in the production. There are two Myshkins. These are Mikhail Kalinichev, one of the youngest Honoured artists of Russia, and Nikita Alferov. The role of Parfen Rogozhin is rehearsed by Andrey Kurilov. The play will be shown in the rehearsal hall designed for the limited number of visitors.

— At the same time there will be another premi?re at the Big Stage. This is «A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur» by Tennessee Williams. Why did you choose this play?

— «A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur» this is a rarely staged play. In a sense this is an experiment for us. The play of Williams is very difficult for the actors, because it written in such a masterly psychological technique, that only great masters may reproduce it. But the fact is that the characters are young women. When Juliet is played by a 55-years old actress, there is a certain lack of coincidence, whatever good she might be. And we are to lift this weight with our own young forces. May be there will be a kind of achievement, although it is very difficult to reach Williams.

— What is with your American productions? In spring there was «The Seagull» in Broadway. Do you prepare something now?

— Now I am going to work at «Uncle Vanya». I have a proposal to stage all Chekhov, one play a year. I hope it will come true, although I am concerned with Russian-American relations

— In Broadway you had such stars as Alan Cumming, Kelly Garner and also Dianne Wiest with two Oscars. It seems the Broadway is always full of audience. But in one of her interviews Dianne Wiest told that it is impossible to live with the theater alone. Is it true, that the actors are not paid enough there too?

— There are two kinds of productions in Broadway. There are musicals with great budget, that’s why musical actors are paid a great deal. And there are dramas with low budget. The drama productions are not on for 20 years, so they are invested with less money. So the drama artist are really paid little money. The main source of income for them are only the serials and films. Many of them come out at a stage only because they like the theater.

— For many years you visit America not only as a director but also as a teacher. And your classes are visited not only by students but also by Hollywood stars, including the same Dianne Wiest. How do you think, why do they have such a great urge for self-improving? Our more or less known actors don’t «go to school».

— If our actors have the incredible luck to play in a repertoire theater and always be busy with work, American actors don’t have such an opportunity. For example, we rehearsed «The Seagull» for one month, then they played it for two months, and that’s all, they have no job anymore. They need to find it again. Somebody will find it, somebody not. But if a pianist don’t touch the instrument the whole year, their professional skill is lost. In order not to lose their skills American actors visit different classes and workshops, wasting their own money. But they pay only if there’s a real chance to learn something.

— Let’s return to the fate of the New Drama Theater. I know it is a pet peeve, but anyway… What’s with the new theater building? Is there any hope?

— Yes, it’s a real sore spot. But we are supported by Moscow government, by Culture Committee and by the North-East district prefecture. They promise to build a new theater in 2010. We hope that nothing will prevent this. If everything will be OK, the New Drama Theater will move to a new spot not far away from VDNKh metro station.

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