People’ Artist of the USSR, Winner of State Prize of the Russian Federation,
Art director of B.V. Schukin Theater Institute, Professor,Veteran of Great Patriotic War. V.A.
Etush was born on May 6, 1922 in Moscow.
In the time of Great Patriotic War he entered the courses of military interpreters and left for Stavropol where the school was situated. At the front he was admitted to a rifle regiment and fought in the mountains of Kabarda and Ossetia, participated in liberation of Rostov-on-Don and Ukraine. In 1944 he was severely wounded and demobilized after hospital.
In 1945 he graduated from B.V. Schukin Theater School, course of A.A. Orochko.
In the same year he was admitted to the company of Evg. Vakhtangov Theater.
His creative career V.A. Etush started with age, character, and comedy secondary roles. The most notable role in the beginning of his creative career is servant Launce in a comedy by Shakespeare “The Two Gentleman of Verona”. Thanks to brilliant interludes by N. Erdman the role shone and sparkled with humor. The duet of Shakespeare’s favorite simple soul servants was built on improvisation and required full freedom, inventiveness, responsiveness, and great charm from the actors. The artist had all this and the role became one of his favorite.
Etush was always able to create a complete character based on little material. Among his early works there is soft and intelligent Dorogomilov (“Kirill Izvekov” K. Fedina), policeman Menos (“Angela”), and famous Brighella Mask (“Princess Turandot” K. Gozzi). The creative fate of V.A. Etush is a good confirmation of a famous formula by K. Stanislavsky that there are small artists rather than small roles.
However, from brilliantly played secondary roles the artist gradually switched to creation of complex, diverse characters. In comedy by B. Show “The Millionairess” Etush plays an unlucky lover Blenderbland. In spite of the author’s remark of a heavy, clumsy man V. Etush makes an impression of something light, unstable, fatally waiting for a catch. And when it does happen, the character immediately transforms and becomes intrusive, interfering, and rude. It may be a paradox, but the role was played with brilliance and subtle irony.
In 1965 the theater staged a drama “L’Assommoir” by E. Zola and a new stage in the creative life of V.A. Etush started with the role of Coupeau. In the beginning of the performance Coupeau is kind and tender, generous and shy, loving and very reliable. But the fate is merciless to him and makes a great strike at him as if testing him to the limit. The artist brilliantly played the moment when his character switched from power and confidence to full passivity and dependence on the circumstances, from fearlessness to full moral and physical breakdown. Etush played his Coupeau with true and deep dramatism. In 1968 A. Remizova staged a monologue performance “Voice” in which an Italian tailor Julio Feratera tells how he acquired a wonderful voice and how he lost that gift. That was an outstanding work by Vladimir Etush. And a comedy again. Snobbish, conceited, stubborn, and at the same time childly trustful Jourdain in “The Bourgeois Gentleman” by J.B.Moliere. The role was played with true comedy shine and unrestrained fantasy.
In the comedy “Grand Magic” by Eduardo de Filippo V.A. Etush appeared on stage as an illusionist Otto Marvuglio. His character lived in two centuries; the real and the imaginary one. Sometimes they intersected giving place to each other: sad reality with poverty, spongers relatives, alcoholic wife and the world of illusions in which Otto Marvuglio is a sorcerer, magician, wizard, and second to none. Etush wonderfully poetically discovered those secret minutes in the life of his character. In performance “A vos souhaits!” Etush is again amazingly bright and funny in a role with emotional character of bankrupt writer Mericur. In performance “White rabbit” his character is in a situation when real life is unbearable due to a conflict with dull, greedy, rude, and cruel relatives. In order to preserve his own world the character imagines it and tells about it only to his friend, also imaginary, – white rabbit Charlie. To create his character Etush uses such clear and naive colors that the viewers can not stay indifferent to him, they are always on his side.
One more meeting with dramaturgy by Eduardo de Filippo – a performance “Cylinder”. The artist plays with great elegance and grace the absurd situation in which his character Attilio gets. On November 20, 2000 director Vladimir Ivanov staged a performance “Uncle’s Dream” which became a benefit of Vladimir Etush as the old prince K. In that performance in the role of the prince he surpassed himself! One has never seen such Vladimir Etush and such prince.
Official site of V.A. Etush:http://www.etush.ru/