Only a few days are left before the performance of the play “Pushkin” by Veniamin Smekhov at the Arkhangelsk Drama Theater. See you this Tuesday, October 27… Rehearsals are going great! On the eve of the performance, Svetlana Surganova gave an interview to the Arkhangelsk portal “Region 29”.
By Alena SVERCHEVSKAYA
Veniamin Smekhov’s play will take place on October 27 at the Arkhangelsk Drama Theater.
The project is being implemented with financial support from the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. The play features eminent cast and crew team of famous Russian artists, poets, musicians, composers, stars of stage and screen.
The genre of the play is an unusual creative and psychological experiment. Let’s look at Pushkin in context other than through the stamps of the compulsory school curriculum: how would we see him? Who could Alexander Sergeyevich be for us if we let him step off the age-old pedestal?
The actress of the project, rock star, poet and musician Svetlana Surganova tells about her work on the play and her Pushkin – on stage and in life.
Svetlana, for you, as a rock musician, composer, poet, is a theater project a special multi-layered experience? Could you share your impressions of working on the play. How do you find the team?
It’s an amazing team, and it’s a great honor for me to be a part of it. Not only a rock musician, but any person would die of happiness if appear on stage with Veniamin Smekhov, Alexey Kortnev, charming Anna Geler, amazing actor Dmitriy Vysotskiy and wonderful pianist Sergey Chekryzhov. The moment I saw the offer in my mail I agreed, “at first sight”! To be honest, at first I was shy and strongly objected to singing romances and operatic roles. It was so unusual. I could understand better all my previous theatrical experience, not very rich one, by the way, just several performances: the play “Plavanie” (“Swimming”) by Iliya Maschitskiy, “Moya Schastlivaya Zhizn” (“My Happy Life”) with participation of Svetlana Ivannikova, my own play “OtnosheniYA” (“Relationsh-I-p”) and the poetic project “V Nachale Bylo Slovo” (“In the Beginning was the WORD”), which we implemented together with Kira Levina.
The “Pushkin” was the most atypical for me. I would never have thought that I would perform the part of Tatyana from the opera “Eugene Onegin” (and more than one) or sing Tchaikovskiy’s romance to Pushkin’s verses … But I just don’t see how could anyone say “no” to Smekhov? Veniamin Borisovich was the only one able to convince me that I could handle it all.
Great Russian literature is rich in prophets: Lermontov, Dostoevskiy, Tolstoy … Still, there is Pushkin for you. When and how did you meet Alexander Sergeyevich? Whose Pushkin is closer to you?
I, like many others, became acquainted with Alexander Sergeyevich through his wonderful fairy tales: “The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish”, “Ruslan and Lyudmila”, “The Tale of the Golden Cockerel”, “The Tale of the Priest and His Workman Balda”. A bit later, Pushkin came to me with an excellent teacher, educator, art critic Mikhail Semenovich Kazinik, he so emotionally and widely talked about Pushkin’s “Little Tragedies” in his lectures. There was also an old Soviet film “The Youth of the Poet”, filmed on the eve of the War: Moscow and Leningrad schoolchildren were among actors. Young Pushkin was amazingly portrayed by Valya Litovskiy, who died in 1941. I think they were very similar. The film made a strong impression on me. Maybe that’s why my Pushkin remained young, daring, light … Then there were two great books (of course, there were much more books, but I’d like to mention these two): Yuriy Lotman’s “Pushkin” and Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams “Pushkin. In two volumes”. The first displays an incredible depth of research, the other reveals in its every line love, sincerity and longing for the motherland, for the Russian language, for the Russian literature. The author worked on her two volumes for many years, from emigration.
Whose voices do you speak in the “Pushkin” project? And what would you like to convey to the audience with this performance? What is the meaning, idea and power?
In the project “Pushkin” I speak the voice of Tatyana, and the words of Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva, and my own voice, as Veniamin Borisovich offered me to perform our repertoire song, the one I once wrote to the verses of Nikolay Gumilyov “I know a woman: silence …”.
What would I like to share with the audience? To remind us all how lucky we are to be born in Russia, we are Russians and our compatriot was Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin. He was the greatest personality, not only as a poet, but also as a historiographer, as a citizen, as a person with his own verified (!) Code of honor, tremendous capacity for work, with an excellent memory, very easy going, an exemplary family man, an admirer of the beautiful half of humanity. Such versatility and breadth, such creative power … I don’t know who else could be placed in line with or even close to him. We must be proud of this “spiritual” relationship. We must remember and study Pushkin. He is a Klondike, an inexhaustible source of works, information, rest and inspiration. There are millions of reasons to turn to him and learn from him: how to love and protect our motherland, close friends, our people and other nations, about who Alexander Sergeyevich wrote with such warmth, with such talent and love. So, Russian people, let us live up to him and never fail him.
What kind of audience are you always glad to see and what do you expect from your meeting with Arkhangelsk?
I really love the interested, lively, emotional, caring audience, who is always a co-participant in what is happening on stage. And these are the features of people in Arkhangelsk. We have been to this city several times with concerts. The audience here is amazing – very thoughtful and at the same time open and benevolent, with dignity and sympathy, warm and friendly. I am excited and in anticipation of our performance.