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About working with Sergei Obraztsov, upcoming premieres and about dolls that help to understand people.

The Moscow Puppet Theater is one of the most popular in the capital. Spectators – not only children, but also adults – leave with a smile and always return. The secret is simple: the performance must penetrate deeply into the soul, says artistic director Boris Goldovsky. Recently he received the Moscow Prize for his great contribution to the development and popularization of the art of puppet theater and many years of scientific and pedagogical activity. He told about his path in an interview with

– Boris Pavlovich, how did you understand that you want to connect your life with the theater?

– I always wanted to work in this area, but I never thought that I would work with dolls. I was born in Moscow and attended theaters since childhood. After school, I really wanted to enter the acting department, applied to all theater schools. But it didn’t work out – and I went to work as an illuminator at the Mossovet Theater. It was a golden time: Faina Ranevskaya, Vera Maretskaya, Rostislav Plyatt, Yuri Zavadsky worked there, they staged great performances. A few years later I was drafted into the army.

“But they didn’t forget about the theater either.

– Yes. I served three years in Kronstadt, on the cruiser Kirov. When they let me go ashore from time to time, I went to the Officers’ House, to the folk theater to play. And when he returned to Moscow, it was too late to enter – all the deadlines had passed. But I learned that actors are also trained in the studio of the Moscow Puppet Theater. That’s how I got here.

I worked in this theater as an illuminator and studied: stage speech, dance, puppetry, vocals. After graduating from the studio, he entered the theater studies at GITIS – he got to the wonderful Pavel Markov, the first director of the Moscow Art Theater. By that time, I was already interested in dolls, wrote about them for student publications. Once Pavel Alexandrovich came up to me and said: “You know, Bor, but take care of the dolls. The niche is almost free, you can do whatever you want there. “

– What happened then?

– After graduation, I went to work at the Moscow Regional Puppet Theater on Taganka, stayed there for 15 years as the head of the literary department. He worked with very interesting people. Once I read the book “Uncle Fyodor, the Dog and the Cat” by Eduard Uspensky, called him and offered to write a play. He also began to collaborate with Grigory Oster, Felix Krivin, Sergei Kozlov and other writers. And then Sergey Obraztsov unexpectedly phoned with a proposal to head the literary department of the State Academic Central Puppet Theater.

“Nobody knew the same Obraztsov”

– Did you know him before his call?

– No, but we saw each other – at some meetings, celebrations. He read texts that I wrote about dolls in magazines and newspapers. To be honest, I didn’t want to go to him. First of all, in the theatrical world I already had my own name, they knew me. I understood that I would cease to be Boris Goldovsky, and I would become the boss of the Obraztsov Theater. He called me several times and in the end I gave up. Obraztsov was a genius: he created great performances, a splendid library, manuscript funds, a museum; managed to organize the work of about 400 people. The museum, by the way, was huge, but never went to exhibitions abroad or across Russia. I started working on it; ensured that the museum had storerooms; organized a department that published books about dolls. I wrote them myself – now I have more than 30 books. Sergei Vladimirovich, of course, supported everything.

– What kind of person was he?

– Extremely interesting. I even wrote a book about him “Sergei Obraztsov: a documentary novel”, it was published in the series “The Life of Remarkable People.” Interestingly, no one knew the same Obraztsov. You can ask dozens of people who knew him: one will tell you that he was an amazing dovecote, the other that he knew everything about animals, the third that he was a wonderful artist. The fourth decides that he had a disgusting character and no directing talent; the fifth will prove that he, on the contrary, was a genius; the sixth will call him a tyrant, and the seventh a soulful man. I also found “my” Obraztsov. I remember going into his office and seeing that a large bust of Lenin, which stood there in the most conspicuous place, was put with its nose in the corner. I ask why, and he replies: “Lenin promised that there would be communism. Now look at what is happening on the streets. Let him stand in the corner. ” It was 1990, and it was not the most pleasant time.

– And what was it like for a puppet theater? In 1989, you took part in the creation of the Moscow Theater of Children’s Books “The Magic Lamp”.

“It was a magical time for us – precisely because it was possible to create new theaters. The famous puppet theater director Vladimir Stein and artist Marina Gribanova, his wife, decided to make their own theater. Volodya asked me to work for him as a boss, I agreed – I collaborated with both them and Obraztsov. Together we organized a large international festival “At the Magic Lamp”.

“You can’t get away from dolls”

– Why did you return to the Moscow Puppet Theater?

– In 1992, when Sergei Vladimirovich died, his theater was going through not the easiest times. I became deputy director for creative work. The work was interesting, and there was a lot of it. In addition to the release of new performances, it was necessary to create a memorial museum-apartment of S.V. Obraztsov, International Festival of Puppet Theaters named after S.V. Obraztsov “Obraztsovfest”, to erect a monument to Sergei Vladimirovich on the Garden Ring and much more … Everything worked out. But my workplace in the theater was the study where Obraztsov once worked. And I often thought that they didn’t come to me, but to his old armchair … But I always wanted people to come to me after all. In general, I realized that I don’t want to go on like this. I worked at the Obraztsov Theater for over twenty years, I love him very much, but I decided to leave.

I left in March 2012 – I was already many years old, I wanted to do something calm, write books. I even went to Cyprus to settle there. And then I noticed that the Cypriot village where I lived is called Kouklia. Laughed: fate! And a year and a half later the phone rang: one of the former directors of the Obraztsov Theater, who was appointed director of the Moscow Puppet Theater, called. He asked for my help in the creative part – the theater’s repertoire was in a deplorable state. I, a somewhat sentimental person, remembered that in this theater I began my “puppet biography” and agreed.

– The first thing you did was tidy up the repertoire. How is it created?

– I must see that the literary material proposed for the performances is metaphorical and relevant. And if this is a talented story, a story, a play on which you can dream up, if I see that the director is in love with this material, then I understand that you need to transfer it to the stage.

– Which of the performances of the new season are you especially looking forward to?

– I’m waiting for everything. It’s like children – you can’t choose. I am looking forward to Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s Minotaur, because it was designed by the new artist Elisey Shepelev in collaboration with the talented director Natalia Pakhomova. The performance promises to be powerful and strong. I am also waiting for the “Tales of the Brothers Grimm”, composed of famous works. I look forward to Dostoevsky Fest, which will take place from September 24 to October 2. Puppet theaters from all over Russia will participate. We will show such productions as “Crime and Punishment”, “Bobok”, “Crocodile”, “Meek”, “White Nights” and much more.

“I treat all dolls equally”

– Please tell us about the life of puppets in your theater. How do they get here?

– We have our own workshops for making dolls and puppets. The director and the artist think over the future performance, together we figure out how and what will happen, then the artist proposes sketches. If this suits, they immediately begin to manufacture. There is no flow, each doll is individual.

– Can one doll play several roles?

– No, each has only one role. It’s another matter when several copies of one doll can be used for a performance: the first is running, the second is flying, the third bends down, the fourth is doing something else. After the play leaves the repertoire, they go to our museum.

– Sergei Obraztsov had a symbol doll – Tyapa …

– Yes. I remember that he called her “the oldest child in the world.” Sergei Vladimirovich once said: “It’s a strange thing! You know, I’ve been working with this Tyapa for 60 years, and his white coat is still clean. I take him everywhere with me: different cities, concerts, people who touch him – but the robe is still snow-white. Wonders!”

– Do you have a favorite doll?

– There is no beloved, I treat everyone equally. I don’t even have dolls at home. But I love them very much, through them I understand people better. Please note: dolls made in different years or even centuries differ from modern ones not in their outfits, but in the expression of their faces, in their look. This is a kind of portal through which we can imagine what people were like then. I am curious to look at the past through dolls.

– Employees of puppet theaters are usually against the definition of “puppet theater”. But you use it in the title of your book, Notes of a Puppet Is Overwhelmed. Irony?

– Maybe yes. Indeed, many people do not like the expression “puppet theater” – it seems to mean something fake, although in order to stage a performance, we need even more energy than in a conventional drama theater.

– Boris Pavlovich, are there any projects that you are doing today, besides the theater?

– Yes. Now I collaborate with the A.A. Bakhrushin. I was given one of the buildings to create there the Museum of Theaters for Children and Youth and Puppet Theaters. The concept is already ready, now it’s up to the designers and the director. I think that in a year and a half we will be able to invite the first guests.

– What of the things that you have done during your work in the puppet theater are especially close to you? What was most important?

– I can’t single out one thing. But the key was the meeting with Sergei Vladimirovich. It was important to get to know him and understand how and how the theater lives. I also realized that, it turns out, the matter is not in the theater itself. The fact is that we are working to change the world for the better – even with the help of dolls.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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