The premiere of Yevgeny Grishkovets’s new play – Between the Deeds – was shown at the Pushkin Theater. The official premiere was preceded by a show, which is also a test on his own people, that is, on Grishkovets’s friends, moreover, on his birthday and friends of Pushkinsky. The author of the lyric and ironic solo performances that have not yet been surpassed, this time directed the production. His directorial work was not casually appreciated by the columnist “MK”.
The meeting was serious – from the top officials of the capital’s theater and officials from culture (Alexander Kibovsky, Leonid Yarmolnik, Igor Zolotovitsky) to business people, as well as politics and even sports, which was represented by Nikolai Valuev, who was put in a box. After Grishkovets told the assembled friends from the stage that he and all the participants in the performance were worried, the loud voice of the rector of the Moscow Art Theater School Zolotovitsky came from the audience:
– Happy birthday, Zhen!
And the general cheerful laughter sounded to him as support: they say, Zhen, in fact, does not drift, everyone is here and there. And seemingly sincere, but what followed for two hours, while the performance was on, showed that it was not quite general, not quite friendly and even cultural sympathy-empathy for the birthday man’s cause. But more on that later.
Yevgeny Grishkovets is one of those few authors who represent reality as it is in their works, and not the dirty horror-horror of the times of total aggression and the “bloody regime”. As an educated person, he understands that only regimes are changeable in Russia. And life remains Russian life with the next, with the new, and people as people – with him.
In any case, the characters brought out in his new play are absolutely recognizable modern types. The main character is a worker of the intellectual front – a writer and a rather famous Vesnevich Leonid Lvovich. An intellectual, but with a biography (he served in the army, was pushed around by editorial offices, in general he knows how much a pound is dashing). Or, as it were, he knew.
This is clear already from the first scene, apparently built on the experience of Grishkovets himself from unhappy meetings with narrow-minded representatives of the second oldest profession. Even Grishkovets could go without them. In it, the writer Vesnevich (read – the writer Grishkovets) acts as a complete and unpleasant snob, completely tired of the silly questions of the narrow-minded journalists of the Internet generation.
He is dissatisfied with them and, judging by the reaction of the audience, the famous friends of the author invited to the premiere were often tired of journalistic questions. Meanwhile, one of the questions of a young provincial journalist to a famous writer: “Tea or coffee?” new people.
“Tea or coffee?” – Anna Andreevna was interested in a person who first entered her house. Perhaps the author himself does not know about this, just as he does not understand the nature of newspaper work, which, due to its conveyor nature, is naturally full of costs. Of course, zhurnalyugs often ask for a caricature, but a demonstration of well-fed disgust … At this point, excuse me, it smacks of senile grumbling.
After the silly journalist, the writer Vesnevich will start going to society – to a fashionable gallery owner, who herself will demonstrate aerobatics of snobbery, to simple and reliable guys – security officials, the prosecutor. Grishkovets will give their portraits an outline, but exactly where the demeanor and vocabulary are one to one. But they are not bred to show how funny they are, as if we are familiar with “animals” – in fact, they are built into the storyline. And it follows from it that a modern writer is an engineer of human souls not only on paper: Vesnevich is not indifferent, he is busy about the fate of a gifted young artist, practically a genius, who got into the story of drugs.
Of course, not for self-interest and profit for the sake of, but solely out of love for a rock musician who turned out to be a scum – he handed over the artist without batting an eye. The writer tries to save her, but wherever he comes, no matter what high door he knocks, everywhere he runs into indifference and formalism. Not to himself – he is known and respected not only by the general’s ranks, but also by their wives, and by indifference to the fate of a person.
Eight dialogues of the hero and one scene for three (of course, according to the classics – with a drink) – this is how the premiere work of director Grishkovets, who staged himself in Pushkin, looks so ascetic. And I will note, not touched by some fashionable or even not fashionable methods. It did not sound with music, did not paint with screens, did not amplify with microphones with a foreign speech (we like German), did not turn it upside down with provocations. In the end, I did not make anyone blush for exposing the nature of any of the characters or all at once in search of one naked truth. Even the “great and mighty” practically preserved, perhaps embellished with the folk version, denoting the fifth point and its contents.
I must say that not all of the distinguished guests appreciated this approach to the drama. With a bored look, right in the middle of the action, they got up from their seats in the stalls and defiantly left the hall. “Boring,” – one lady, restrained, simple, but expensively dressed, threw as she walked. Thank you for not being loud. Somehow it looked uncivilized, just like in the play by Grishkovets, when the general of the Ministry of Internal Affairs said to the writer: “Something in your culture is not right.” The audience appreciated the replica with applause.
At that moment, I sympathized with the actors. Moreover, they worked very well and tried. True, on the twelfth row at times it was not very good to hear the main character performed by the guest artist Alexei Agranovich, who had recently been appointed head of the Gogol Center. A striking contrast in the stage speech with the artists of Pushkinsky – Alexei Rakhmanov, Alexander Anisimov and Vladimir Bolshov from Satyricon, Ekaterina Klochkova, Valeria Elkina, Taisiya Vilkova, Natalia Korogodova.