Mark Rozovsky spoke about the death penalty: “Terror inside out”

Mark Rozovsky spoke about the death penalty: “Terror inside out”


– Mark Grigorievich, Tyutchev wrote in one of his relatively late poems: “My childhood is looking at me.” You have turned 87, but I ask you to remember yourself as a child. When did you realize that you couldn’t exist without art?

— Tyutchev had a different childhood. He didn’t live in a semi-basement, in a communal apartment, he didn’t know what a corridor system with rats in a garbage can was… He didn’t know what sort of mat was in the common kitchen when they tried to find out which of the sixty neighbors spat in someone’s pan ; and what do the words “primus”, “kerosene” and “kerogas” mean in Russian…

You can remember a lot from the military poverty of life at that time – for example, the moment when I lost my bread cards on the way to the bakery and how I was afraid of being flogged with a belt for this “crime,” but my mother only hugged me when she saw my tear-stained face… And she remained silent. Not a word of reproach – and this will be remembered for the rest of my life!..

Her affection made up for the fatherlessness in which I grew up – my father was sent to Stalin’s camps and exile for 18 years… What did my mother do? She took me, a baby, to Moscow theaters – in the Maly I saw “Woe from Wit” with Tsarev, at Tairov’s in the Chamber Theater I remember “The Sea Spreads Wide” with Kenigson, in the Moscow Art Theater, of course, “The Blue Bird”, in the Jewish theater “Freylekhs” with Zuskin and Mikhoels, in the Central Children’s – “Two Captains” with Mikhailov and Christmas trees, Christmas trees, Christmas trees in the Hall of Columns – all this is unforgettable to this day and probably charged my childhood soul with great theatrical light.

However, it was not the theater that was the main reservoir of my “I”, but books. I read a lot. In chemistry lessons – Jules Verne, and in physics lessons – Turgenev… This is probably why I grew up to be a complete idiot when it comes to mathematics. I was too lazy to go to libraries, but I made my way to the bookstore on Stoleshnikov Lane on the asphalt. With the meager pennies I saved from breakfast, I bought many publications. And he greedily swallowed letters, thousands of thousands of letters. My home library is still bursting, there are books from my childhood stuck in it, they are old and shabby, but they are extremely dear to me… My mother repeated more than once: “Don’t be distracted by empty things!” I can still hear that voice of hers well, honestly!

– Remember your first day of school – for example, at Moscow State University or at the Higher Courses for Scriptwriters and Directors. Who do you consider your greatest teacher?

— At the Faculty of Journalism of Moscow State University, where I entered back in 1955, in the first days we were given a dictation of particular difficulty. I got a C. Many others are “colas” and “pairs”, having made thirty to fifty mistakes. Even medalists!..

This was a special action to show our inconsistency, to bring down the euphoria of entering the university. That is, they hinted to us, so to speak, that we do not fully speak the Russian language and therefore, according to Ilyich’s behest, we must “study, study and study”! It must be admitted that this is very correct pedagogy. Maybe that’s why when I read blatant incompetence on the Internet, I cringe!

As for the Higher Screenwriting Courses, studying at them was the highest happiness, because our lecturers were brilliant people: Shklovsky, Gabrilovich, Tarkovsky, Kozintsev, Trauberg, Bleiman, Romm… By the way, recommendations for me and Yura Klepikov (in the future he will become a State Prize laureate) given by Yuri Nagibin, Mikhail Kalatozov and Sergei Urusevsky… Communication with each of them was a gift of fate.

Who are my teachers? Tovstonogov in directing and Arbuzov in dramaturgy. This is not counting such figures as Raikin, Charlie Chaplin, Fellini, Mikhail Chekhov, Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, from whom I, a self-taught person, studied in absentia. Close friends taught me a lot – Alka Axelrod, Ilyusha Rutberg, Vitya Slavkin, Grisha Gorin… I honor Oleg Efremov, Pyotr Fomenko, Anatoly Efros, Mark Zakharov – they are gone, but the professional mystical connection with them continues. Sorry, I didn’t name many.

— Which production of yours do you consider the most important in all your decades of creative activity? Which performance tells foreigners better than others about the Russian soul? Russian theater, in your opinion, is the best “ambassador” of Russia in the world?

– Without a doubt, this is “The Story of a Horse.” She was our “ambassador” both on Broadway, and at the National London Theater, and, in my opinion, in dozens of countries… The merit is primarily due to Tolstoy. But Chekhov’s “At the Nikitsky Gate” would be needed anywhere in the world. There’s no harm in dreaming. And this is also “The Captain’s Daughter” and, among the latter, a play based on poems by Brodsky and “The Voice of the Father” based on Platonov… But actually, it’s not for me to judge. I have staged about two hundred theatrical opuses. This is, imagine, two hundred of my children – which child is the best, let the public and criticism figure it out. It’s better for me to remain silent on this topic!

— Can theater serve as a tool in the fight against terrorism and other forms of evil? According to Pushkin, genius and villainy are two incompatible things. Are the real spectator and the villainy clearly located in different coordinate systems?

— Nowadays, it’s easy to see that it is theatrical spaces that often become places where world evil organizes bloody diabolical events and demonstrates its cavernous underdevelopment. But civilization can be trampled upon, culture never can. You know, I’m now re-reading Chaadaev, Pushkin’s friend. He was a grandiose Russian thinker, in our time, it seems to me, underestimated. He has only two words with which he defines the soul of our man – “rightness of heart.”

The danger is that non-humans have appeared among the population of the Earth, they are heartless creatures and therefore brutal… They, with their “rightness”, become terrorists, for whom the moral law is not written.

In the same sense, the death penalty is nothing more than “terror inside out.” We must not be like savages and bastards. But… There must be an exception for war criminals, who must be destroyed according to the laws of war. However, here too there is a need for appropriate legislation aimed at protecting humanity. Terror is actually weak and shameful, since a person is born to live, and not to die.

— After all the birthday and theater events, do you still have time to prepare new books? A three-volume book of your dramaturgy has been released, should we expect new releases?

— Just, literally a week ago, the first volume of my new three-volume book “Directing. School. Method. Practice”, in which I try to generalize my personal experience (now I am 87 years old, of which 66 I have been involved in the art of theater, staged at the studio “Our House”, at the Bolshoi Drama Theater and at the Moscow Art Theater, on stage, on television and at the Theater “U” Nikitsky Gate”, taught at GITIS, the Institute of Russian Theater, now I have an acting course at the Kobzon Institute), and share my understanding of the system of Konstantin Sergeevich Stanislavsky, the method of Vsevolod Emilievich Meyerhold, other masters – without this base there is no great Russian theater that combines deep psychologism, search for meanings and forms with the element of play. I hope to submit the second volume this year, the third next… As you understand, this is an important matter, I want to be on time…

— Important, but not the main thing?

– Yes. The main thing is our Theater “At the Nikitsky Gate”.


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