Theaters are like people. The comparison is absolutely banal and therefore absolutely correct: banality is an absolute, boring truth. Only rare people live to be a hundred years old, and theaters are welcome. A series of centennial anniversaries has begun at Moscow theaters, and they all celebrate them in different ways, because they are like people.
One hundred years old RAMTu was celebrated last week. We sat at the tables, right in the auditorium, and watched the holiday. The holiday went on for a long, very long time. The numbers changed each other. At some point, the question arose: “But couldn’t it be possible to do without this number? And without it?” The lightness, which is so necessary for any skit, is heavy …
Do you know what I’ll tell you? The artistic director of the theater, People’s Artist Alexei Borodin, did everything right. It didn’t cost him anything to rent some rooms, he’s the boss, after all. But to rent a number is to offend the artist. And this is not characteristic of Alexei Vladimirovich categorically, because he is an intellectual. I will say more: forty years of his leadership of the theater proved that intelligence is the strength and power with which you can build a theater.
There have never been scandals in RAMT. The artists left, including the presenters, and scandals never happened. And if they were, they remained inside the theater. The festive evening was attended by those artists who had once left the theater.
Borodin never used the scandal for PR. I could say that this is a lesson for the current artistic directors, but I know for sure that they will not learn the lesson. Borodin is sure: the theater should attract with performances, and he has been striving for this for forty years.
RAMT, which used to be called the Central Children’s Theater, was invented by a fifteen-year-old girl named Natalia Sats. It was at the age of fifteen that she proposed to create a theater for children, at the age of eighteen she staged her first performance. Practically as a teenager, she supervised the theater remarkably, until in 1937 she was arrested only because her husband was recognized as an enemy of the people.
Borodin is sure: the theater should attract with performances, and he has been striving for this for forty years.
A theater invented by a child … It seems to us, adults, that childhood is a wonderful, irresponsible, easy time to learn about the world. But listen: can the time for knowing the world be easy? Childhood is a time of endless questions that often go unanswered; this is the time of the most difficult self-awareness; this is an era of ambiguity and obscurity, a very difficult time.
Borodin always talked about this. About searching, ambiguity and awareness. His most recent performance “Woe from Wit” is also, in essence, about this.
When I give lectures on raising children, I never tire of repeating: “Go to the children with questions, not with answers! Give them the opportunity to understand themselves, and do not dictate to them your, adult understanding!” This is how Borodin works. Asks questions, forcing both children and adults to do what we do not really like to do today: concentrate and think.
I have known Borodin for all his forty years of running the theater. It doesn’t change. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but it is. And outwardly it does not change much – which is amazing, of course. And in fact. He observes the world, and very closely. And with his methods, his handwriting, his soul, he finally tells this world what seems necessary today.
I remember the shock – I can’t find another word – that was caused in the viewer by Yuri Shchekochikhin’s play “Trap No. 46, second height”. Real teenagers lived on the stage, who solved their own, genuine, and not invented by adults, problems. And immediately after this, Borodin puts on “A Dream with a Continuation” by Sergei Mikhalkov – a beautiful, sweet, lyrical story.
An intellectual is a person who is not afraid of competition. Therefore, Borodin always invited serious directors – recently Mirzoev and Butusov were staged here. Therefore, he called Yegor Peregudov as the main director, as if sharing power with him, which few of the artistic directors decide on. Borodin did not betray his director Sophia Apfelbaum. Next to him all the years are his assistant Elena Dolgina and the amazing artist Stanislav Benediktov.
Of course, the century is serious. And for a long time. Knebel and Efros worked here, young Oleg Efremov invented his theater here, wonderful actors appeared on the stage, and playwrights who later became classics brought their plays here.
But theater is here and now. It is pleasant to be proud of memories, but we have to work today.
RAMT is a theater led by an intellectual. It seems to me that it is precisely intelligence that is the main professional and human trait of Borodin. His theatrical discoveries are never scandalous, so he sometimes seems dry to some. A matter of taste. Borodin digs into the depths of characters and situations. The path is very difficult, but for him it is the only possible one.
Theater is here and now. It’s nice to be proud of memories, but you have to work today
At one time he directed Hugo’s Les Miserables at two evenings. Then it was new, and even somewhat scandalous. But to understand the situations and, most importantly, the characters of Victor Hugo’s characters in the usual three hours was clearly not possible. Borodin went to experiment and won.
One must have the courage to celebrate the anniversary like this in times when a scandal is almost an obligatory way to promote. But an intellectual is one who does not betray himself, not because he does not want to, but because he simply does not know how.
At the end of the evening, the numbers in the inscription 100 were reversed: it turned out 001. Excellent! And again – everything is just beginning.