Eduard Kochergin is an outstanding theatre artist with a remarkable biography. The best performances Tovstonogov, Dodin and Ginkas he made out. And biography — this is not exactly none of his colleagues, and not only. The son of enemies of the people (father, Russian, shot, mother, a Polish girl, sent to the camp, after the war released), he’s four years old learned what Stalin school of education: detpriemnik of the NKVD for the offspring of the “spies” and “agents” of the intelligence world. At eight years old, fled and trains coming from the front, traveled from Siberia to Leningrad, to find there the only native person — the mother. What is theft, I know firsthand.
School life shaped his artistic style, value system, and he knows the price to words and acts of men. Which himself calls “uncle” and “Auntie”, regardless of rank, awards and status. Today the main artist of the BDT anniversary — 80 years.
Photo: Benjamin Kaplan
My bad childhood
— Edward Stepanovich, aunties and uncles is from the time you have? You even folk artists so named.
— Of course, of that. I’m loving, so right.
— Edward Stepanovich, I can’t even believe that 8-year-old child across country in a crate way from Siberia to Leningrad. It is unreal.
But so it was. So all lived during the war and after. So I learned to feed.
— Profiles of leaders, which you bent from copper wire? Who, by the way, to give more — for Lenin or Stalin?
— Fed Stalin and Lenin is not. Then the demand was Stalin. 45 th year, the war was over, Stalin was as the sun, as the Lord God. I was working on the Railways, and there — in the military, they returned home. Of course, they have a reverence to the leader. Portraits of Stalin hung on all stations, it is particularly popular in white tunic with all decorations. So he in my eyes was and I easily bent wire, for 10 minutes.
— What a monstrous dialectic: on the one hand, Stalin your family and you ruined my life, almost ruined, and on the other saved from starvation.
— Saved, of course well It was amazing then for many, that boy so fast make a similar profile. But then I did not know that he is a tyrant, feeding his profile. Knew then that my mother, the polka Bronislavu, somewhere took, what, like, had no idea. And the fact that there were camps, repressions, nor I, boy, nor the people in the mass don’t know about this… I am in my books not yet written.
— I wonder what behind the scenes? There you have a terrible enough about the post-war period.
— Well, for example, as people lost cards and were thrown from the trains. All sorts of nasty things… such was the Cruelty was. I jump maydannyk, pomogaet.
— And what does the leap and maydannyk?
— The Maidan is a station, and maydannyk — the train thief. The corners are bags for Butare. The angles we took the train: take — to steal. See turn on Fenya. Robbed officers from the West were carrying belongings, they also steal. We cleaned them — it is necessary to share.
Yeah, looting the winners, and the winners are not judged. Say, that these skills remain for life?
— I remain, of course. Skills fall, for example. I was taught to fall for a lifetime, I never broke. Know how to walk on ice: need a little bend the knees slightly. And fall only on the right side, on the left — heart dangerous. Yes, after this school in the circus can be. After all, professional racing on the roofs of cars passed, ran. Now this is a sport — parkour, and then — profession. I was a little, slender — nicknamed Shadow. The two men were, and I, the boy on the hair dryer — Gavrik: I took the shoulders and I was thrown off from the shelves one of them “angles”. And then there was the third and carried. And that’s important: before going into business, we all the doors to the cars opened picks on the street — in case of prosecution.
— In your book “Angelova a doll”, “Baptized with Crosses” very colorful describes this parallel world: vivid characters — thieves, prostitutes…
— There has its own culture, or rather, anti-culture, their laws. Now criminals do not abide by them. Then, if the company were the kingpin, no one dared to touch: it could not hurt, and if hurt, could kill. Thief in law he was considered who has complied with all laws of thieves. He had no right to work. And good pickpockets — it’s all aristocrats, professionals first and foremost.
— Except for the thieves environment more detailed, vivid description of prostitutes of all stripes. They are so good?
— Very good. We lived nearby. Lidka Petrograd, Pahana, is my neighbor. Prostitutes are very good friends. When my mother died, they gave me all helped to make: washed, dressed, meals made Catholic. Came to Church for the funeral service. And it prostitutes the Petrograd lowered, and there was full service, as expected. Without them I would not have been able. Old prostitute is already a pensioner… I have maintained a relationship with them, not throwing them. And Lidka Petrograd traded sparkling water and juices in a former police station on Nevsky, and I went to her, she treated me juice for free.
“I was trained to kill with your hands”
— Your childhood do you consider bad?
Why? Childhood is always good. In kindergarten I was not a pioneer was not a Komsomol member, too. Even if I wanted to, I still would not take the son of enemies of the people. Later, when I went to College, I was offered to join the Komsomol and I refused. I didn’t — why?
— What? For someone the party would open doors to a career, for others it was a talisman.
— I am a Catholic mother baptized me before the arrest. And when the mother took came her aunt, took me in and baptized in the old believers.
— Maybe God saved you, not only the profile of Stalin?
— Of course the angel. So about the party. I have worked in the Theater Komissarzhevskaya, and for the October demonstration, we had to do some scenery — it always has been. I made the machine full size in the spirit of the artist Chupyatova, a pupil of Petrov-Vodkin, he’s a good formalist was. This car really liked the boss, and I was invited to the 3rd or 2nd Secretary of the Communist party ideology. Went, thought, anything else you want to book me, and he inquired about my job, and said you wanted to introduce me to the title. And then asked me if I wanted to join the party. “I’m a believer,” I said. He was stunned, especially when I found out that I’m Catholic. And Catholics in Russia then was, and now is no more than 1 percent. We began to talk about rituals (he had buried his mother, and I buried my mother), I told him everything, and, in short, we became friends. I moved, he began to read Dostoevsky, and there to the Church at hand.
You remembered that you are the son of an enemy of the people? Or thieves the past?
— If I went to a military University, I don’t know how it happened, and I’m an artist. But gangster past once almost ruined my life. And, oddly enough, I saved the NKVD. I went to art school, and nobody knew where I was, although I was the curator of the NKVD (me with shoots and other things), and the NKVD was happy that I enrolled in this school, that is, became man, in their minds. I was not allowed to say where I come from, none of my past didn’t literally before perestroika, and I didn’t tell anyone and the mother was silent.
And at school there was a guy Volodya, the son of a Colonel, a feisty — he Paganel in school. So this Volodya has lifted everyone, so it didn’t. It is the third time pinned on the stairs (healthy, well fed like this, and I’m a small, skinny), I used a technique purely thieves. I’ve been trained to kill with his hands. I can now kill. Thieves have their own techniques that no one has studied. Usually thieves don’t kill, but only in defense, but the man will not rise. In General, when he pulled me upstairs spiral staircase (in the NINETEENTH century was made), tipped over the railing, began to push, I automatically did the “elbow.”
I’m instinctively, I defended myself, and Volodya flew down the stairs, passed out, he’s got a concussion… But the impact has not been seen, and since everyone hated him, confirmed that he himself fell down the stairs — tripped.
But his father, the head of the tank Academy, Colonel (a 52 year, all army colonels on top), drove to the police that those with me understand. I was called the captain of the NKVD, was put in front of: “Tell me what happened there. You know what the cart from the Colonel go.” And the Colonel and started to dig, I have learned that I was in the colonies that quick… But the evidence against me he was not, because all the boys for me and showed that he himself was flying on the slippery steps down. The captain listened to me, listened: “Well, tell me what you did to him?” “Yes, as an afterthought, they said, could not stand”. “What, “elbow,” did he?” “Yes.” — “Well done!” — captain already slapped me on the shoulder.
— Here were the same people in the NKVD.
— Yes, unexpected reaction. And the reason is simple — in the time between the NKVD and the army was a skirmish: the army claimed power, they came with the victory, they are masters in the country and rebuked encasements that those were not at war. So I’m not expelled from art school.
“Slaves, “six” — that’s the whole psychology”
— Last question is about your bad childhood. This school of life?
— The school of survival. Big school, for life. I’m in dispute with one match lit a fire in the rain. Arguing with the hunters and win the bottle. And raw firewood, just need to know how to convert them. Here it is in physics: how to spread and what is the fuse.
— And at theatre “school” useful?
— Helped in the theater knowledge give a damn. As you start to speak, all at once, do this people. I had a history in theater “Contemporary”: I Fokin Valery did a performance “With favourite do not leave”, it was his second performance. I was summoned to the mount, I came, and no soul. Waited two hours and left. Called, apologized, I came again, and again the same — no one. On the third day I went for the hair dryer (“Mandalay”, “salvoni”, etc.), they fuck is wrong with, and it all ended with applause — I clapped artists who at this time entered the room and listened to me. And only after that, the mounter began to work. To get to work I know how, now afraid. If you feel that everything is right on Fenya turn. Slaves, just slaves, “six” — that’s the whole psychology. A crushed…
With Georgy Tovstonogov. Photo: Benjamin Kaplan
— I think your background has largely shaped your style so harsh.
I do not know. Worked differently, and know differently worked. One thing “Wolves and sheep” he wanted a retro-style, and “the Quiet don” — like people’s history, like using the icon. And turn turned out to be not social, but poetic. Or “the Story of a horse”, it is already a classic. Dodin from different culture: he is a student Area and is the St. Petersburg school, and I as an artist from them a lot acquired.
— Georgy Tovstonogov — after all the chief Director of your life?
— 30 performances I’ve done with it, and good performances. But Dodin Left I pieces 18 made. The artist is interested with different Directors work, to me, anyway, with Dodin — as for the giveaway, Ginkas with all its whims and freaks is also interesting. Only one time, I worked but often remembered, If at the Maly theatre. Crazy, but so interesting. I have a profession where you have to be able to turn in different directions. So not only Tovstonogov.
— Directors did not had to go to Fenya?
— Once was. Another time a bucket of paint in the Director cast, but after that, oddly enough, we became friends. If you see self-centeredness, if a person pulls the blanket over himself endlessly and still neglects a painter down that I can’t tolerate. I do not like to be humiliated and wanted to humiliate artists with great pleasure. Not all, but most. Here Gogh (Georgy Tovstonogov. — M. R.) was not humiliated, he was afraid for the other — he is a very witty man, the word was omitted, but not humiliating. The sense of humour was natural, not that of others.
— You know, now this trend is in the theater that the Directors themselves are the artists — is that correct or not?
— Despite what Directors. In the past there were such, they are also remarkable artists as Governors, Kozintsev. Such — please, I don’t mind. The main thing was good, but not when a person’s finding out what it is, doesn’t feel he humiliates, takes away from very important things. For example, the visual range, built well — almost 82 per cent of the information a person receives through the eyes. If this number is violated, you lose the audience, and the play, and Director. Not all Directors possess it, a person who owns, please do so.
— And such can be called?
— I do not know in St. Petersburg, no, Russian and I do not know these.
— And the fact that modern technology has replaced the work and the artist’s idea, is you like? Not me, artists are.
I don’t mind, it’s important to be interesting. If everything is organic and works on the idea, then great. And if the artist owns the technology and makes of them the way — all excellent. I also work with new technologies. Now I have to play “Baptized with Crosses” projection goes. 30 years ago in America, I did a play where at that time was much higher technology, all used. Yes it is lovely and new materials appeared.
And it cancels the trade?
— Does not change, but now the tragedy in another — in the brain there is a substitution. I see it in my students: they think they can get information and knowledge about the culture only through the Internet. But the tragedy is that what used to be considered bad taste and unacceptable, the Internet is now mixed, good and bad, garbage-migna all. And to choose from this diversity, it is necessary to have a good education and taste. So many artists have emerged that, superficially using the Internet, doing things frivolous, to put it mildly. That is, the lower the culture.
Still, the artist is individuality. Here, for example, Palekh, one needs to know what it is: when was the cheapest icon in Russia, selling them from a tray. Consumer goods under the Soviet rule, which has become a national industry. And he also appeared in an unnatural manner: a manner icon was transferred to consumer goods. To make art of Palekh is impossible, and the performances do, and use Soviet figures, not even icons. Every thing has its own codes, it is necessary to understand. If you give the audience the wrong information from the culture is a sin, you omit it. To connect meanings should be able to, you have to be a very cool artist and very educated.
— Speaking of the icon. In your book “notes of a tablet rats” is the story of how the German theater has not been able to perform the icon to your decorations. Why?
— It was a stupid play by Ostrovsky. The Germans in the workshops themselves admitted to us that they can’t do the eyes on the icon — it was part of the scenery. But the fact that the Russian icon is the Byzantine tradition, where pupils from St must be above the horizon. He needs to look over their heads. And the eyeballs should be exactly parallel to each other. See so not, and you can draw. The result is an otherworldly sight. This differs from the Orthodox Catholic icon. Madonna looks normal and the mother of God suspended in its opinion there is a suspension.
— You’re a man of rare biography, have been incredible school life. I think that you’ll never confuse black with white and understand everything about people.
— Yes, I don’t rotate. If the person begins to isolate themselves from others, starting to raise, it immediately stops for yourself. It’s unnatural, although it is possible to fit some kind of emotion so to speak, but in principle it is not a philosophy of life.
— Should be modest?
— Not modest. Nothing to be afraid of anyone or anything. Don’t need anything to get stuck. As I have expressed in my work in the literature, in the theatre and to Express themselves in politics… I am a graduate of the thieves, and it means don’t interfere. You know, like thieves is considered: the more people worry, the more difficult it is to work.
— When with a new person you meet about it all at once you know?
I have a lot. Informers can tell.
— Teach how to calculate? And that time appears to be such an interesting coming.
— I don’t know, back somehow feel. The film also knew all informers in the BDT. We worked with him in Germany (in Berlin did Ostrovsky). Walking in Berlin, talking about the theatre, about artists, I said, “This Snitch, and this happened, it was recruited”. — “How do you know?” asked of music? — “I feel”. And he knew, because the Director, who was in the theatre pulled us from the regional Committee, in the hearts told him who knocks.
Don’t call names, not to upset me. Can’t understand why it had to be: the role of received in this way?
Someone, Yes, but someone foolishly got on the hook. Wonderful in the BDT was the head. costumery shop, it is on the train on tour caught up with Finn, began to blackmail. As a result, she took to drink and died, a very good woman and was a good specialist.
— Edward Stepanovich, what will happen to your anniversary in St. Petersburg and in Moscow?
— There will be two exhibitions, one in the Hermitage, called “favorites”. There, the most famous work — “History of horses”, “hamlet” Ginkas, “Demons” Dodin and his “Brothers and sisters”. But this exhibition of documents, because the sketches all work on them was done the decorations, layouts, and photos. All the costumes signed Tovstonogov. In Moscow, the Bakhrushin Museum will have a large exhibition in the new space, a former stable — there is more work three times four and also documents.
On September 25 at the Bolshoi drama theater here in St. Petersburg will host the evening — there are extracts from two plays: “Baptized with Crosses” and “Angelova a doll”. Then the artists — Bogachev, Ignatova, Petrov will read my stories: Lebedev, Borisov, ” – ” and the last two chapters of the Film. The story of the Film newly translated into Polish.