1. How long does it take for an actor to learn the role and master it?
You can learn the role quickly. But to master one it requires lifetime. First you collect information - get all your notes and materials together - everything connected with the play, the author, the epoque. Sometimes this «material» finds you out of nowhere. A book, an article you might come across in a library or a bookstore that turns out to be useful. The material gradually invades you, you become addicted to it, you can only talk about it, you fall asleep and get up thinking about it. You start torturing your family and friends. It’s a good thing when one production brings together all the actors, who are involved in it, and when they do not get tired of each other. Today this is crucial. Rehearsal after rehearsal and before you know it, it's opening night! The child is born. It takes a long time for it to grow up, live its own life, break loose and fly away.
2. How long does it take you to change your make-up and costumes?
That depends on the skills of the make-up artists and dressers.
3. Director’s involvement in actor’s work and in the production process.
The director has to compose the production, tell the story and find a place for each character, determine the degree of significance of each, place the accents. To turn this story into a wonderful performance. The director shares his plans with the artist. The director has a certain concept. And then the actor with his own personality and talent embodies this idea. And together they bring this story to life: the actor fills it with his emotions, his understanding and experience. The director has to be acute and convincing. He has to be more insightful than the artist. Then the artist would be willing to obey him.
4. Your attitude towards theatre critics.
I do not read them. Critics do not write for the actors. Everything that has to do with my acting, I know that myself. What was good, and what went wrong.
5. About the audience.
The audience has changed a lot. When I came to Maly, they used to say that it is more difficult to make a person laugh than to make him cry. Now they laugh where they have to and where they do not have to. They only thing that they want to do is laugh. And they usually ask the tickets for «something light and funny». Therefore, when we were putting on «Vassa Zheleznova. The First Version», we were afraid that the audience will not appreciate such a strong material. But we were wrong. In the auditorium the audience keeps silent, the spectators are totally immersed in the drama, and this is the moment, when you realize that nothing is lost. They say that they want to laugh in the theatre, because «life is cruel and hard anyways». But I think that emotions that you experience in the theatre, such as compassion or empathy, empathy, are purifying. It’s a confession. I love our spectators - smart, subtle and understanding. Because without them we are not needed anyways.
Olga Petrenko, The Maly Theatre newspaper, №5 2017