Elena Bogdanovic: a person is judged by the number of good deeds and not by the number of statements

– Tell us about the creative process and the search for material for the solo show “Joseph, Marina and Anna”. Who inspired and helped you create this show?

As a rule, thoughts about a solo show come to a halt in the current repertoire, when there is a lot of free time to make some generalizations about your activities and ask yourself: “What follows? What would I like to talk about, what worries me now? It often happens that when you start asking questions to yourself, the Universe sends you people who help most of the time not with answers, but with the correct wording of the question. In my case, this person was Ingrida Ragyalskene, head of the literary department at RDTL. We met in a cafe opposite the theater and talked a lot. I shared my stories, as well as knowledge about the life and work of my favorite poets, and Ingrida turned my gaze inward to find personal relationships with the poets and the city that means so much to us. Then our paths differed conceptually, because he offered to write only about Brodsky’s connections with Lithuania and my vision allowed me to surround him with the presence of Akhmatova and Tsvetaeva, who at different times, each with her own In this way, they influenced his creation of views on poetry and life, about which he wrote repeatedly. However, to start writing the script, we needed a lockdown, which locked us all in four walls, alleviating the feeling of inferiority and forcing us to focus on hard work. My friend Dalia Mahonitis, a theater critic in education, helped me a lot at this stage. Together we immersed ourselves in the study of the material, in the reading and in the discussion. The phone worked 24 hours a day, but the relatives showed sympathy for what was happening, feeling the greatness of the plan. I still remember this time almost as the most exciting in my life.

– The work includes poems by Joseph Brodsky, Marina Tsvetaeva and Anna Akhmatova. Which issues are most important to you? What does this show mean to you? Was there a desire to create everything yourself from the beginning?

– The poems are heard, but not as much as we would like, because the form of the performance does not allow it. I do not research their work and I do not write a biography – I tell the stories of their relationship with Vilnius, looking for connections between them and, of course, going through myself. I wanted to talk about the spiritual community that exists among all of us – both ordinary mortals and adults. The fact that the boundaries of our world and this world are very conditional. Click and they will open. And they warm up. And they feed. Because man does not live only on bread. Spiritual food is also needed in daily life. But nothing nourishes the soul like poetry, and it must become a part of our lives, and poets are not only readable but also respected.

Elena Bogdanovic

Initially, I had no plans to monopolize this work – I was hoping to find both a director and an artist. The second lockdown made its own adjustments again after the show sketch was shown at the festival at Visaginas. There was an agreement with the Pushkin Museum to play a show there and, most likely, it could be done online, with zoom, but then everyone had already “charged” with such shows and did not want to do something once for screening. It seemed to me a logical idea to make a video of the future performance, adapting the specific space of the 19th century estate to the appropriate atmosphere for each poet.

And another wonderful period in life began, generous with new acquaintances and discoveries. A group of wonderful people and amazing professionals gathered: Rita Maciliunaite – composer, Algimantas Mikutenas – cameraman, Vladimir Novikov – editing specialist, Dalia Machonite – consultant for all subjects and Katarzyna Kondratovich – make-up artist, stylist . In a week we achieved the impossible – the film was shot, the first part, dedicated to Brodsky, was even edited. January 28, on an unforgettable date (25 years since his death) posted on YouTube. But the fate of the show was still undecided. I showed it a couple of times in its unfinished form at various festivals.

– Already this weekend, the solo play “Joseph, Marina and Anna” can be screened on the stage of the Russian Drama Theater of Lithuania as part of the poetry festival “Territory of the Word”. What do you feel?

Yes, the rehearsals are taking place now, the show has finally found a director and artist – Gurfinkel and I. Jarutis, who, taking a very careful approach to the already existing structure of the show, try to find a vivid visual image – in great detail , with knowledge of the subject, with enthusiasm and love. It can not be different: Joseph, Marina and Anna allow only the best to come near them.

Last month you toured Israel with another show, Wherever We Land. The play is based on the memoirs of 20th century Russian writer Nadezhda Teffi and tells how, after the revolution, he left Russia from the bloody regime, terror and injustice. How were you received by the Israeli public? Share your impressions.

The show was a huge success in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Kfar Sampa. The public in Israel was diverse, mostly immigrants of the 1990s, who still have strong illusions about a homeland of great power. I saw how during the show their attitude towards me changed several times, depending on the information I was carrying from the stage. For example, reading M. Voloshin’s poem “It’s over with Russia”, I thought I would lose some sensitive eyes forever. And it was doubly nice to see and hear their gratitude – some came to personally thank for the show.

After each performance, people came to the backstage and expressed surprise at this repetition of the theme of running. One spectator remembered experiencing such a state, similar to cleansing, only once – about seven years ago in the play “Bury me behind the plinth”, but, unfortunately, he does not remember the name of the theater … Of course, her I remembered that it was the Russian Drama Theater of Lithuania, in which I have the good fortune to work. Probably open-mindedness, unrestrained – this is one of the characteristics of our theater.

In August, with the project “Where we anchored”, I was invited to Finland for an international festival, in the fall – in Visaginas.

Elena Bogdanovic

Elena Bogdanovic

– What do you think is the purpose of a creator who creates for other people?

– My personal experience reinforced the idea that art is without borders and outside of politics. There are universal human values ​​on which the world and all life are based. It is absurd to ban Tsvetaev, Akhmatov, Brodsky, who suffered from the ruling regime in the same way that those who disagree with the authorities now suffer. It surprises me when I hear that they are ready to write Brodsky as traitors just because of a poem about Ukraine, erasing his whole life and work. If we are already judging (to which, in principle, we have no right) the creator, then not with short or individual statements made in a moment of weakness or delusion. You have to have an idea for his whole life, for the number of masterpieces he has created and they will surpass us all. After all, a person is judged by the number of good deeds and not by the number of statements.

– What idea does the theater want to convey to the audience today?

– I think that the main goal of the theater is to be in tune with the times, to reflect on the problems of the day in the context of eternity. Therefore, it is very logical that the premiere of the solo play “Joseph, Marina and Anna” will take place right now at the Russian Drama Theater in Lithuania – in our difficult times, in our crazy world, when with a background of incessant negative news we open the door to a clean space where everyone is exhausted and tired can find peace and quiet. Ah, if poets and not politicians ruled the world, then, probably, there would be no wars in the world.

The solo performance “Joseph, Marina and Anna” will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Russian Drama Theater of Lithuania on the Small Stage. Tickets are distributed by bilietai.lt
The full program of the festival “Territory of the word”:

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