Russia has a long tradition of great playwrights and directors. For those who never had contact, how could you highlight the particular characteristics of Russian theater? And about you, what inspires your creations?
Krymov: Russian theatre has a long history, naturally, as well as traditions, beginning from Stanislavsky and earlier, but its' contemporary state is completely beyond these traditions alone. The image of a modern Russian theatre is much broader; it includes all the trends of the modern world's theatre, and some individual traits that come from the inside of the Russian theatre. So, it is very hard to explain what Russian theatre is about today. It is a kind of a large compot that has everything in the world in it: both traditions and new influences that appear from God knows where, no one can tell where its' roots are. One has to place it under the microscope to study and examine where one or another occurrence originates: from the depth of the Russian theatre or from some influences out ofFrance,Great Britain,Poland,Germanyor elsewhere. Sometimes it's a mixture. Most interesting generally are such mixtures, which appear.
Russian theatre's traditions are basically the so-called Russian psychological theatre which, in general, still has influence over what is happening nowadays in the modern theatre. But - I repeat - it is a very complicated compot that is very hard to study out, even - or maybe more so - for the people that are inside this compot, like myself.
As for my inspirations in creations... Well, theatre is art. What inspires people who make art? One way or another they try to reflect - emotionally - the world we exist in, and somehow to pass these sensations to other people, through images - rather complicated images, - that can touch people's hearts, and also can bring pleasure and disturb them, and that in some way explain - I am not afraid to use this word here - what's happening and - all in all - what life is made of within the limits or our understanding of these complicated questions. It is quite an ambitious thing to make - make art, theatre, that is. Because you take it upon yourself and assume responsibility to explain rather complicated and incomprehensible things that are on everyone's mind and matter for all of us, and it is in searching the answers to these questions that such things as religion are born, and so is art. These are the attempts to find some reliance in life, attempts to somehow understand it, understand why we exist, where we come from, where we go to, and what in general the very core of events is.
Opus # 7 is a play of an opera proportion. Something had to be adapted to the coming to Brazil? Do you believe this play has universal themes?
Krymov: No, we haven't adapted anything. This is the way it is shown inMoscow, and this is the way it was shown in many countries of the world. And of course I believe that a good work of art, a full-fledged one that was conceived in one country -Russia orBrazil, no matter will be understood in other countries as well. Maybe not in all the nuances, as people in other countries do not know enough benchmark data, but it may sometimes even be better, as it may be easier for them to perceive the image from scratch, with a clean sheet - it is often the case - that for the people who know all the nuances in-and-out, all the database, so to speak. So, I believe, of course, that some international language of art that requires no adaptations exists.
How are the visual elements developed, such as scenery and furnishings, to be important aspects of the story to be told?
Krymov: They are developed in the same way as the actor's roles. Starting from scratch, from the conceptionб then going through a long period of rehearsals it is rather long for our performance; it lasts for almost a year or even more than a year. Through all this long work the material world is somehow crystallized in the performance. This is indeed very important for the language we use in our theatre. Then some small period of time is needed for the workrooms, where this material world is made into the real one. And there you go. And then we are in Brazil.
Censorship is an issue discussed in retrospect on the spectacle. How do you see the current situation? Censorship is still a potential problem?
Krymov: Unfortunately now in Russian art this question becomes potential again, which makes me very sad - and not me alone. It is sad and fearsome. But so far there's no need to call bad weather till it comes, if we are bringing this performance toBrazil, it hasn't reached a point of no return, the critical point.
The originality of your work you have been referenced wherever you go. What are your references? Have other areas such as cinema and visual arts influenced?
Krymov: Of course, - as anybody who practices art - I am full of various influences. Sometimes one is aware these things, but often one is not aware of them. So, of course, it is possible to say that some roots are coming from cinema, theatre, from visual arts, lithography and draw some kind of a family tree of the theatre that we practice. But instead of that I want to feel like a free man, running around the lawn, where different flowers of different kinds of art grow, I wouldn't very much like to analyze. You know, it is more about what I love than what my references literally are. What I love is what influences me. I love Fellini, I love Chagall, it you take theatre directors, out of these I love Lepage, in retrospect - as I have never seen the performances - I love Meyerhold, Vakhtangov, Mikhail Chekhov. But how all these loves of mine are referenced in my works, I don't know. You know, as they say - a lion consists of digested beef. But I don't know how many lambs he has eaten).