GENERICO.ruCultureKonstantin Bogomolov: “Previous merits do not work”

Konstantin Bogomolov: “Previous merits do not work”

MOSCOW, June 14, Anastasia Melnikova. Konstantin Bogomolov became artistic director of the Roman Viktyuk Theater, retaining the position of director at the Theater on Bronnaya. He has already met with his new troupe and assured that there are no plans for a merger, but nevertheless there will be a lot of changes. The director spoke about the premieres at two venues, as well as what the creative policy of the Viktyuk Theater will be in an interview.
— When and how did you find out that you would head another Moscow theater? How did it all work out?
— The proposal came from the Moscow cultural authorities some time before the announcement. First, as a theoretical possibility – am I ready to take on this work, combining it with work at the Theater on Bronnaya. Then as a specific proposal.

— What is your personal reaction to this appointment?

— I love challenges. I like working. I like to work hard. And taking theater to a new level is no less interesting task for me than creating a strong and successful performance. It is an incredible happiness to see how the House blossoms in your hands. Nothing less than hearing applause.

— The theater on Bronnaya has become one of the most popular in Russia over the past year. Premiere after premiere. Are you satisfied with the results?
– Yes. But there is no place for calm. We try to constantly improve. In all elements. We are updating the repertoire, the troupe, looking for new interesting directors, titles. We are working to make the viewer want to come to us again and again. We really appreciate the fantastic renovations the city has done and are trying to take good care of our Home. Over the past two years, using the funds we earned, we have worked very intensively on improving the rehearsal and dressing room spaces for our artists, and on the comfort of our employees. Theater fees are growing. And salaries are rising. Last season we released five big stage premieres. And by the way, the “Culture” channel – and this is a great honor – made television versions of two of our recent premieres: “Summer Residents” and “Tanya”.

— What will you stage next season?

— The plans include six or seven premieres. Already approved titles: “Kalina Krasnaya” directed by Marina Brusnikina, “The Seagull” directed by me, and also “Citadel”. The last name is special. The performance we planned for this season, but the scale of the work turned out to be very large. A big, labor-intensive story. It will finally be released in the new season. In addition, I will be rehearsing a play based on Dostoevsky. But our theater is not a theater of one director. Every year, half of the premieres are guest directors. In the new season, the talented young director Minevtsev will stage Turgenev's “Smoke”. Kirill Vytoptov will rehearse “Vanity Fair”. We are negotiating with a wonderful director about staging Nabokov’s “The Event.” Soon our outstanding master – Valery Fokin – will announce his name! And this is only Bronnaya. Only one next season. But I’m also forming plans for the stage of the space entrusted to me again.

— Roman Viktyuk Theater – there is a certain atmosphere there, its regular spectators. Will you preserve the “brand” of Roman Viktyuk?
– Viktyuk’s “brand” – if we are talking about style – could only be preserved by Viktyuk. This was his individual style – he is in the history of the theater, he is in the memory of critics and fans. Everything else is a copy. I will persistently repeat: memory is important and necessary, but the theater is not a museum. Theater is a space where more and more new directors come. Actors. Generations change. Theater is a living thing. We have seen more than once how teams, after the departure of a strong leader, were not capable of renewal and stagnated, torn apart by the ambitions of the “heirs” and intrigues. Until a new strong leader arrived, bringing a new style, new energy, and a new sense of time. My task is for this magnificent space, which is almost a hundred years old, a space inextricably linked with the name of a brilliant, absolutely incredible person – architect Melnikov, to become a place of attraction for all theater lovers without exception. I emphasize: not fans of a certain type of spectacle, but all fans of Russian theater as a great art. My task is not to preserve the “brand” or style, but to renew this space, to turn the theater to face society, to the time, to its requirements. I want this stage to have psychological, entertaining and experimental theater. But the main thing is that it is professional, artistic and in line with the challenges of the era. It is important to fill this building with the right content. And the right content will also find the right form.

— Are you already planning to do something specific at the Viktyuk Theater?

“We are preparing a powerful program, which we will announce in the fall. There will be my work, and the work of other directors, and several debuts (I’m still taking a master’s degree in directing at GITIS), and a musical, and a new children’s play. Just like on the stage of the Theater on Bronnaya – at least six to seven premieres. Artists will have excellent opportunities to express themselves in interaction with different directors. We have very ambitious plans, which also include updating the visual appearance of the theater, including the website and foyer. I think it is very important to popularize the name of Melnikov, because this house is one of the pinnacles of his work, it is part of the world architectural heritage. We will definitely make a performance about this amazing artist.

— How was your meeting with the theater troupe? I would like more details.
— Constructively. Several questions were asked identical to yours. I tried to answer. I tried to convey my position to the team. Your optimism. And his uncompromisingness in the construction of the theater. I saw interest and hope in the eyes of the actors. I want to emphasize: on the one hand, trusted managers who also work on Bronnaya came with me, and on the other hand, in the theater where we come, wonderful specialists work: professional and hardworking workshops, engineers, accountants, economists, administrators. And they made us feel very welcome. There is no resistance, no misunderstanding. There will be unified and coordinated work for the benefit of spectators and employees. At the gathering, I said a working principle that is very important to me: theater, like any creative endeavor, is a space where you have to prove yourself again and again every morning, where the merits of previous years do not work. Here you have to constantly pedal, otherwise this bike will fall. Memory must be preserved in the heart, but one must live in the present and the future. Do not go through past successes like a rosary, calming your ego, but, remembering the teachers, the tradition, the best, move forward. And further. A teacher, a master is not a banner. Not a lapel pin. And responsibility. First of all, to yourself. It is not enough to read Stanislavsky and wave a volume of his works left and right. We must use our personal—sometimes bloody—experience to arrive at his brilliant discoveries. I always tell my actors: Stanislavsky is great not because he created a “system”, but because every few years he came to update his ideas, because until the end of his life he searched for the truth of stage existence, and demanded restlessness from his actors. Re-read his works – even as an old man, he painfully doubted, passionately argued with his former self. The famous “Find and don’t give up!” – this is what should be on the facade of any theater.

—You now have two capital theaters in your management. Will they somehow compete?

—Each scene will have its own repertoire. Probably, in some sense they will have to compete. But competition is the engine. Let them compete. I am sure that both stages will benefit from this.
— What difficulties, in your opinion, are expected at the Roman Viktyuk Theater?
— I have already said: I believe that theater should open up to time and society. The theater I came to is a bit like an ivory tower. This needs to be changed. For my taste, there are morally outdated performances here. Performances that remain in the past in their aesthetics and content do not meet the requirements of the time. And since I have been entrusted with the management of the theater, I will not hide it – I propose to say goodbye to other works that have exhausted their resources. I am not going to conduct an audit of the past of this theater. I’m simply stating a fact: the repertoire needs to be updated. This process is inevitable. I hope that theater actors will find strength and courage – the courage to change and explore new theatrical territories.

— The ideal theater world in Russia—what is it like, in your opinion?

— There is no such thing as ideal in art. Art is built on eternal dissatisfaction with oneself and the result, an eternal search. The best theater world is a searching world, not complacent, but preserving a living tradition, allowing for experimentation, cleverly combining high art and audience success. Diverse theatre. Simply – theater for people. This is how my teachers saw the ideal theater. Andrey Aleksandrovich Goncharov, my Master at GITIS, who trained more than one generation of great Russian directors. And Oleg Pavlovich Tabakov, under whose wing I worked at the Moscow Art Theater for ten years as a director and assistant artistic director. I hope they are proud of my successes and bless me in my endeavors.


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