GENERICO.ruCultureKonstantin Bogomolov: “I want to take the theater away from admiring blackness and chthony”

Konstantin Bogomolov: “I want to take the theater away from admiring blackness and chthony”

MOSCOW, March 11, Anastasia Silkina. Konstantin Bogomolov’s project “Voices of the Country” is designed to transform documentary theater: turn it towards inspiring stories about people who simply and honestly go about their business. Shows of 12 performances of the cycle will start on March 11 at the exhibition-forum “Russia” at VDNKh; you can visit them free of charge with pre-registration. The author of the idea spoke about the heroes of the project and how they were chosen in an interview.

< br />— Konstantin Yurievich, who are these 12 heroes selected for the project? Why are they notable?
—They are from different regions: Siberia, the Caucasus, the Urals, villages and large cities—all of different ages and professions, social strata. There is a doctor, an enthusiast of local history, a teacher, a scientist, a locomotive driver, and so on.
It is important for us that there is no obligation when we turn to the director of the enterprise or local authorities and they give instructions: “Here’s about you, Ivan Ivanov or Petr Petrov, we will do a project for Moscow.” Therefore, we announced a call for applications, and people responded themselves.
— How were the participants selected?
“It was important that directors and playwrights felt their characters and fell in love with them. After all, this is creativity. Everyone who submitted applications are wonderful people. From a traditional point of view, they do not accomplish any feat. Their heroism lies in the fact that they do their job honestly and do not seek any material gain from it. For example, a big businessman who suddenly went into theater work and invests all his money in it.

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– But drama requires mandatory elements: plot, development, climax…
– Probably, for some, the inspiration was the story told in the application, for others – the intonation with which the person wrote . Maybe some details, circumstances.
It is very important that playwrights and directors went to their heroes, spent time with them, talked, observed – lived a piece of life with them. And based on this, the playwright began to write. Of course, this is not a documentary film, but what the playwright wrote based on the hero’s story. And then the director appointed an actor to play the role.
— Interpretation of interpretation?
– Certainly. But the peculiarity is that when we read Pushkin’s “The Station Agent” or Chekhov’s plays, we can only guess who the prototype was, whether he was manifested in its entirety in the work of art. And we have a unique situation: there is a prototype that has been carefully studied; there is a text on the life of this hero, directly observed by the authors. It preserves both the character’s direct speech and the peculiarities of his thinking. That is, the hero passed through the consciousness, the heart of the playwright, the director, and then the actor.

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– What kind of stories turned out – tragic, comical?
– There are no tragic stories: we still wanted to take the documentary theater away from its tendency to admire blackness, chthony. Our goal is to create a documentary theater that will make people fall in love with reality and inspire with it.
Within positive information, the hero can go through ups and downs, through dramatic circumstances. But it is still important to see the prospect – joyful, inspiring.
Therefore, there will be dramatic, and sentimental, and comic things. But I would not classify these stories as any separate genre: our life consists of funny, sad and again funny moments – the same will happen here.
– How were playwrights, directors and artists chosen for the project?
— We mostly have young directors. As a student of Andrei Aleksandrovich Goncharov, I proceed from the fact that the director is the beginning of all beginnings. Therefore, I discussed with them, the directors, the playwrights: both personal contact and the author’s inclination were important. This is how the team was formed. We have 12 directors, 12 playwrights, 12 actors and 12 photographers, who also went to the regions to photograph our heroes and their entourage.
Among the directors are Philip Gurevich, Andrey Gordin, Alexey Martynov, Mikhail Plutakhin, Alexander Pronkin and others. There are such master playwrights as Dmitry Danilov, and there are young authors. Our actors are Sasha Rebenok, Alexander Semchev, Alexey Vertkov, Natasha Shchukina, Sasha Ursulyak, Igor Mirkurbanov, Ivan Agapov. There are young, but already quite stellar: Denis Paramonov, Vladislav Tiron.

—You often turn to Soviet drama. Is this a retro fashion or a lack of modern quality material?
— Firstly, this is just a huge continent, and it has not yet been developed by the theater. This dramaturgy interacts with certain bygone everyday realities, but at the same time conveys timeless, human realities.
We work with Racine and Corneille, with ancient Greek texts – with those that were created in certain historical and aesthetic conditions. And they are so beautiful that it doesn’t bother them that we are not talking about pistols, but about swords, for example. It's the same with Soviet plays. They talk about love, about the development of a person, about responsibility – about many things that are important even now.
Secondly, I practically do not work in modern drama (I am not satisfied with its literary quality). And I don’t really like theater that focuses on social problems. That's what social life is for. But theater is still art. He can and must interact with reality. But in a much more complex way than modern Russian drama does.

< br />— Let’s wrap the question around “Voices of the Country.” Have you ever wondered what specialty you would have chosen if a director’s career had not developed?
— I would write and study philology, ancient Russian literature – this is my first specialty. I would study the 18th century, on which I once wrote a final work at Moscow State University.
Probably, the word would be the center of my activity. This for me is perhaps the most important and most personal.

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