The actor can play all – from the bed bug to the lunar lander, from the sink to
the wall outlet. He can play even wallpaper “, – says Vladimir Simonov; and
not only say, but does: amazing art of transformation-reincarnation is one of
the main components of the talent of this deep and versatile actor. In the most
paradigmatic roles in the classical repertoire Simonov manages to move away
from cliches, to stun the audience by an unexpected interpretation of the character.
fall, from 5th to 10th of November at the Noel Coward Theatre in a period of Vakhtangov
Theatre the London
audience can see for themselves: such Professor Serebryakov in Chekhov’s
“Uncle Vanya” they have never seen yet…
Simonov – Russian theater and film actor. Born June 7, 1957 in Oktyabr’sk town of Kuibyshev (now – Samara) regions.
He graduated from the ShchukinTheaterSchool
Kazanskaya course). In the same year he joined the Vakhtangov Theater.
he accepted an offer of O. Yefremov to join the MoscowArtTheater, where he worked for 6 years. In
1989 he again joined the Vakhtangov Company, where he works now.
worked with such directors as M. Schweitzer, A. Efros, P. Fomenko, I.
Dykhovichny, V. Mirzoev, R. Tuminas.
in the performances of the Stanislavski Theater, Theatre of Nations, and «Et
He acted in over 80 films and TV series.
person who has decided to devote himself to acting dreams of the big roles. You
have become famous not when you were 25, but much later. What were your
famous not in a moment, not suddenly, if you I ever became…
thank God, the artist needs it. Fame came to me gradually. You know how it is
when a nurse makes a shot, if very slowly, you do not feel almost anything, and
if hard and fast – then it really hurt. When the actor becomes famous too
quickly, then the consequences could be very different – either euphoria occurs,
or you run crazy, or megalomania begins. I got it happened gradually, as the
kids at school are moving from class to class. There was no effect of the
Robertino Loreti when he lost his voice later. However, now, when I feel
prepared enough to not go off the rails, I would not mind if something
significant happened in my life. However I am very happy with what happens in
the theater, and I feel myself very harmonious.
In the theater, there is a new director, new
director Rimas Tuminas the Vakhtangov Theatre – and in parallel in my acting
life – a new era has begun. Roles in Troilus
and Cressida, Uncle Vanya, The wind rustles the poplars – is a new
period in my work, it is associated with the arrival of Rimas. This man is alone
the theater: his philosophy and vision of the world, “medical”
interpretation – understanding of what people currently inhabiting our planet
need; what problems they have; what they should remember, and what we have to
remind people. And in this sense, I follow him.
It’s awesome that your feelings are tuned.
because before Rimas I was a little lost. Outwardly, everything went well, but
the depth of the profession, understanding of good theater of the ability to be
a tribune, to mirror reality was not felt at some point.
With director Rimas Tuminas the Vakhtangov Theatre – and in parallel in
my acting life – a new era has begun. Roles in Troilus and Cressida, Uncle
Vanya, The wind rustles the poplars– is a new period in my work, it is associated with the arrival of Rimas.
role in the Uncle Vanya caused a lot
of rave reviews. Naturally, this is not your first encounter with Chekhov. What
is new, in your opinion, the Tuminas has introduced in reading one of the most
famous plays of the writer?
pleasant surprise was my very assignment for the role of Professor Serebryakov.
In my fifty plus to play such an old man seemed a little strange. Usually
actors represent characters 10-20 years younger than they are, and here is the
contrary. I asked Rimas: what shall I do – to depict age? “No,” – he
said. Then I suggested that I would play Serebryakov the way I imagined when he
played uncle Vanya. I had seen many versions of Uncle Vanya and, as a rule, Serebryakov in these plays was sitting
on a gurney. But I thought to myself (though forgive me Anton Pavlovich!):
Well, not all professors in Russia
have to be on a gurney! And even if Serebryakov is unwell, he’s still not
sitting in that chair 24 hours a day, and gets up and moves. In the end, the
creators of the play are the director Rimas and we the actors. And the times
have changed, and to show Chekhov to the now we also need to change, to show it
in a different way – but without changing a single word of the author’s text.
There is no sense to stage the earlier performance play – you need to produce the
play! I was surprised that Rimas eventually agreed to my version of Serebryakov
and my interpretation of the situation, although at the first he opposed. But
he was curious, and he went to this, I think it a kind of heroism. You can’t be
in the theater without feats; you have to surprise the audience – even with small
steps or moves, but to surprise.
to say. I am no longer an actor. There are two points of view: the actor who is
always known to the audience wanting him never to change – no matter what he
plays – Tolstoy, vaudeville or modern drama. He can not change from role to role.
These are not mine. For me the class is when no one knows me when I am on the
stage. If you declared yourself an actor, then kindly, transform, play. In this
sense, the phrase of Stanislavsky, we must love the art in ourselves, not
ourselves in the art, is very close to me. I appreciate art in myself, and not myself
in the art.
you are offered a new role, what does affect your decision – to take it, or not?
I try to
choose something that is close to me, but it is not always possible. Sometimes
you have to serve the accounting – I have wives, children, I have to earn…
is life … I think that every divorce is a tragedy for all participants.
Life is all the tragedy and trauma.
I do not agree with you. In many ways, it depends on the person – whether he is
a pessimist or an optimist.
Do not agree.
But life is a struggle that’s for sure, and once you forced to fight it is not
good. How cool would it be – sit in the lotus position and sit quietly, and the
Earth itself is spinning, the sun is shining. Watch and wait when everything pass;
take care of this little box called a “body”, where your soul lives
… But no, in the whole of human history the same thing is repeated: “And
I do not like the way you sit. I want you to sit in a different way.” And
off we go … Here you have the whole Uncle
Vanya, all what the Chekhov is based on.
could you just sit there?
one can. If someone can – it’s just wonderful. And I just can not sit still. I
believe that the feelings are sent to a person either by nature or God, and if
the feeling was sent to me, I can not give it up – because if I do not it I
will suffer even more. All this is very difficult.
son is playing in your theater. I saw him play in the anniversary performance “The
I saw him in “The Possessed”, and I have not seen his new work yet.
Son is developing normally in his profession; I do not see any abnormalities.
And the theater and all the rest is the chance. The main thing is – to be
always ready for it – in part of the health, and of the talent. I hope my son
has it all for success.
Do you have favorite roles?
favorites – there are more fresh and desirable. Perhaps, this is like in the
harem: with this wife I live fifty years together, and this one just came –
perhaps she would be more interesting. Such Mormon things! All roles are favorites
– as the children who just can not be unloved. And the problem roles with all
their shortcomings you love even more trying to pull them to the right level.
Once roles are created, sent you by theatrical god – they should be loved.
Uncle Vanya was chosen for the tour to London.
the solution of tour producer and director. Maybe because Chekhov is well known
here this is a classic, well-known brand.
Theatre has toured extensively. Do you feel the difference in the audience’s
reaction to your play?
feel the difference, but it is not torn from minus to plus, and varies in a positive
range. Somewhere they watch quieter, but then thank warmly, somewhere they perceive
vividly every second, every moment – it always depends on the personality of
the audience, country, season, the number of spectators, there are many
factors. It’s like in a conversation: a person either opens immediately or is
closed until the end, but then gives such gratitude! But until now on the road
with Uncle Vanya we have never
experienced a denial of the public – it was always a positive pulse.
there roles that you like to play?
there are, and I talked about them to Rimas and one other director. These roles
are more of a philosophical role, to help humanity. As Oleg Efremov said once,
“All is well but do not forget, please, you are people.” It’s so simple,
but people sometimes forget that they are not gods, not monsters, not
businessmen, not judges, but simply – people. We do not we move this ball, this
planet, we have not got it, and we must remember that someone is responsible
for it all.