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Talk With Theatre Director Anatoly Ledukhovsky
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Anatoly Ledukhovsky is, perhaps, the most controversial star onáthe Russian theatre horizon. Heáisábetter known abroad than ináhis native country. Iná1996áLedukhovsky, who had been ináthe theatre for 10 already, was invited toátake part ináthe 4th Salvo Randone festival ináItaly, one ofáthe most prestigious national forums featuring best theatre productions from all over Italy. The only foreign performance presented atáthe Salvo Randone was Alexander Ledukhovsky's version ofáHenry IVábyáLuigi Pirandello. Itádidn't appear onáthe competition program and was shown onáthe very last day ofáthe festival. The success was enormous. The following day the jury announced anáunprecedented decision: the Grand-Prix inábreech ofáall ofáthe festival's rules went toáthe MODELTHEATRE from Russia. Italian newspapers compared Ledukhovsky with such masters asáVsevlolod Meyerkhold and Peter Stein, calling his theatre synthetic, liturgical and even mediumistic, and drawing parallels with the Japanese NO theatre, early European expressionists and the early 20th century Russian avant-garde.
Says Sergei Bakhrin, aáprominent Russian theatre critic and professor atáthe Russian Academy ofáTheatre: Iásaw many ofáLedukhovsky's productions. It's difficult toáfind words toádescribe what itálooks like. You've got toásee itáwith your own eyes. This isáaáthrilling sight. Iáamásure his future performances will beáasácongenial.
What's the secret ofáLekukhovsky's success? One reason may beáthat heáhas never stuck toáany cliches. The word can't doesn't exist for me, the director says. Iáwas frequently told, especially when Iáwas just beginning, You can't doáitáthis way. But who knows how itáreally should beádone? Iáhave thoroughly studied Stanislavsky's theory and the Russian drama school, but Iádon't keep toáany traditions. Ledukhovsky's largely innovative style spans beyond the mere notion ofátheatrical avant-garde oráwhat's commonly implied byáit. Heámay beácalled anáavant-garde director only ifáweáuse the word avant-garde ináits initial meaning: anáadvanced detachment. Last fall his MODELTHEATRE, finally, got aábuilding ofáits own, where itápremiered Florentine Nights based onáMarina Tsvetayeva's poetry and Leopold Zacher-Mazoch's play Venus ináFurs, combining bold and sometimes shocking staging with traditional realistic forms and aádeep psychological approach. źWhen Iáamáworking onáaánew production, Iádon't care what itáwill beálikeáŚ anáavant-garde orátraditional performance. There isáaáconcrete dramaturgical material, which Iáinterpret the way Iáfeel it. For each play there isáaáclue. Iáwill never make actors toástand onátheir heads for the mere sake ofámaking anáavant-garde╗ performance. Iáwill doáitáwhere Iáfeel it's necessary. Looking atáthis fairly short man with aávelvet voice and pleasant manners, nothing ináhis appearance bespeaking aábrazen reformer, one still has noádoubt that this isáwhat Ledukhovsky really isáand that future textbooks onáthe history ofátheatre will, byáall means, include aáchapter devoted toáhis legacy. Anatoly Ledukhovsky staged AáVoice from the Shell, aápsycho-plastic composition based onápaintings byáHieronymus Bosch, Honore Daumier and Salvador Dali atáthe GALATHEATRE ináStockholm followed byáKing Houbu byáAlfred Jarri and Venus ináFurs byáLeopold Zacher-Mazoch atáthe Satirikon theatre ináBremen. His MODELTHEATRE frequently performs ináEurope. Every tour isáaátremendous success, despite the fact that some plays show without translation.