Theater is an explosive territory, its people are emotional people, and conflicts and intrigues are an integral part of theatrical life. It has been, is and will be, especially in an era of change. In the leading Moscow theaters that have come out of quarantine, the reason for misunderstandings is common: the new leader and his policies. Izvestia found out how dangerous the “new broom syndrome” is and how you can minimize its consequences.
With regard to this theater, the concept of “new leader” requires clarification. Mark Varshaver has been the director here since 1986, but he has been engaged in the artistic part for less than a year, since the death of the legendary Mark Zakharov. True, he does not consider himself an artistic director. Soon after his appointment, he explained to Izvestia: “I am a director, but with extended powers.” As it turned out with the beginning of the first post-Sakharov season, the powers include both the choice of repertoire and the appointment to roles.
Photo: Izvestia / Zurab Javakhadze
In particular, young performers received new performances. And not just any, but those that used to be the undivided patrimony of Alexandra Zakharova, daughter of the founder of Lenkom. She performed only in the performances of her father and without understudies. Now she will have them. 58-year-old Alexandra plays mainly the role of ladies up to a maximum of 30, and it is not difficult to assume that the public will vote with a ruble for performers who are more appropriate for young heroines. And the director will be forced to satisfy this demand as often as possible.
As a result, Alexandra Markovna runs the risk of being left with a minimum of roles or without them at all, and in Lenkom she can only be retained by the memory of her father. However, as a source in the theater said, Varshaver has the opportunity to rejuvenate the performances and keep a really good actress. This can be done by asking her to choose the performances and directors for herself. Masters Alexander Zbruev and Inna Churikova enjoy this right at Lenkom. In principle, you can replenish their company with Zakharova. Earlier, Mark Varshaver told Izvestia that while he was alive, he would do everything to make the daughter of his old employee and friend comfortable. It looks like the time has come to confirm these intentions with deeds.
The appointment of Viktor Ryzhakov to Sovremennik did not come as a surprise to his fellow directors, but it did come as a surprise to the troupe. Firstly, it took place just a few days after the funeral of Galina Borisovna Volchek, and secondly, the people’s artist Sergei Garmash, who was tacitly considered her successor, remained in the troupe. He spoke at the post-quarantine meeting with a letter in which he called the situation in the theater monstrous, accusing Ryzhakov of totalitarianism, a split in the collective and oblivion of the covenants. The letter scattered across the Internet, without arousing much sympathy, however. Much stronger than the lawlessness in Sovremennik, users, judging by the posts, were outraged by Garmash’s participation in advertising for Post Bank.
Photo: Izvestia / Andrey Ershtrem
Actually, Ryzhakov, who was accused of the collapse of the theater, did not manage to destroy or create almost anything. Quarantine prevented. Unless he released the play “Dad”, which began under Volchek, where Garmash played the main role with great success, and the network “Dialogues”, which angered Sergei Leonidovich. Although, it seemed, what could be outrageous in the artlessly sincere arguments of the actors about the war and Victory?
Nevertheless, Garmash announced his retirement from the theater and seemed to have deprived Sovremennik of one of its most recognizable faces. At the same time, his name is on the poster. In September he will appear in “Dad”, “Woe from Wit” and in the play “Happy New Year!”… Viktor Ryzhakov does not comment on this, but a source in the troupe said that nothing will stop Sergei Leonidovich from going on the stage of his native theater on a contractual basis.
With the love of the audience going to the theater on Garmash, they do not rush so easily. As well as sold-out performances created, one might say, especially for him. In addition, among them there are performances by Volchek, whose memory Garmash swears. Even if the new artistic director decides on a radical change in the artistic course, they will remain in the repertoire for some time, and who else but Sergei Leonidovich will provide them with decent supervision. Well, his demarche will be forgotten over time, especially since he had noble reasons – a man is sick of the cause.
Much sadder for “Contemporary” is what is happening now with Mikhail Efremov, the source said. And the point is not even that the theater will lose the super-cash “Anarchy” and “Amsterdam”, where the actor played without an understudy. The reputation of “Sovremennik” was irreparably damaged. After all, Efremov is not just a surname for this theater. It is a symbol. And now a criminal shadow has fallen on him.
Moscow Art Theater named after Chekhov
At the post-quarantine meeting in Kamergersky (closed, like the meeting in Sovremennik), there were no loud exits. But artistic director Sergei Zhenovach received his portion of claims. In particular, he was told that under Oleg Tabakov, the theater was like a supercar rushing along a high-speed highway. Now this wonderful machine has reduced its speed several times, and its driver-artistic director has no plans, no repertoire policy, no bright premieres – new performances are mainly staged by his students at GITIS.
Indeed, the facts are not in favor of Zhenovach. For two years of leadership, he removed 17 performances from the repertoire, while only five new ones came out. There are more than 120 actors, and everyone needs work. Here, however, it is worth considering that just a couple of years ago Zhenovach was favorably received by the troupe, although he did not promise any high-speed roads and was determined to return the status of a Russian psychological theater to the Oleg Tabakov theatrical assembly line. “We will slowly delve into, watch the performances,” he said then to Izvestia. – There are a lot of performances on three stages, many artists are employed … “
Photo: Izvestia / Andrey Ershtrem
The key word here is “on the sly”. The huge Moscow Art Theater is really turning around slowly, but Zhenovach’s supporters are sympathetic to this.
– Sergei Vasilievich is a serious artist, a great director. You need to treat the artist carefully and tenderly, – the actor Mikhail Porechenkov shared with Izvestia. – This is my main postulate, the main idea that I want to broadcast. The media wants to portray this meeting as a riot. But this was just a conversation between the creative team and the leader. Point.
Porechenkov, by the way, himself suffered from reductions – from the repertoire left the “Tram” Desire “with his participation. Nevertheless, he believes that there is a plan for the theater’s work and there is an artistic director’s view of its development. The Moscow Art Theater had a brilliant manager – Oleg Pavlovich Tabakov, says the artist. Now there is a different leadership, a different theater. We’ll have to wait and see.
– It’s easy for Porechenkov to say. He can wait, because he is tightly busy in films and other projects, – objects to these words the actress, who agreed to comment on condition of anonymity. – And what about those who rely mainly on work in the theater? No performances – no earnings.
It would be nice if the artistic director was more active, she believes. And even if these are unpopular measures such as the forced separation from “unnecessary” actors, it is still better than sitting and waiting for the weather by the sea. Indeed, the main thing for a creative person is being busy with interesting work. In this case, there is neither time nor energy to intrigue and conflict. Whether the artistic director will take this into account will become clear already on September 7, when the plans of the 123rd season will be announced at the official gathering of the troupe.