Interview avec Yegor Lesnikov

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Egor Lesnikov, actor of the theater "Baltic House" (St. Petersburg), artist of the highest category, winner of the presidential prize told why the actor is one of the most reading professions, what he reads to his daughter, how the works of Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky help to understand the Russian soul and much more, but all about literature.

- How important is it for a dramatic actor to read? And most importantly - what to read?

Actor is one of the most widely read professions. When working on a new role, it is not always possible to relate certain events to oneself. If you have not experienced certain experiences, you do not have this life experience, then you cannot even imagine how your character feels. And then books come to the rescue. After all, you can always find a prototype in the literature. It helps a lot in work. Moreover, without reading, a dramatic actor cannot go anywhere.

- What books did you like to read as a child? What do you remember the most and what are you reading to your daughter now?

The first book I was given was "Osceola, Leader of the Seminole" by Mine Reed. This is where my love for books about Indians begins. "The Last of the Mohicans" and "Pathfinder" by James Fenimore Cooper, "Sons of the Big Dipper" by Liselotte Welskopf-Heinrich, a cycle of books about Winnet, the Apache leader Karl May, and many others. But perhaps my favorite book is Stories of Animals by Ernest Seton-Thompson. Insanely touching. Teaches us to feel. Teaches you to understand animals. I read it with my daughter. We cry together, we worry, we live.

- Coming back to the conversation about the theater . What would you recommend reading for people who are in love with the theater, who might want to connect their future with the theater stage, or just for a better understanding of modern productions?

Here, of course, Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky is the main writer, a great psychologist. It is useful to read it in order to better understand oneself, in people, a master of psychological portrait. Dostoevsky is a very important author for Russia. One of the main works is the novel "Demons", where he foresaw everything, had a presentiment. The Brothers Karamazov is both psychological and religious. Fyodor Mikhailovich perfectly reflects the Russian soul.

- Let's talk about the Russian soul. Many foreigners are in love with Russia and want to get to know us, our traditions, our thoughts better. What would you advise foreigners to read for, just, a better understanding of the Russian soul?

Likewise Dostoevsky. This is an excellent writer, subtle, deep. Everyone will like it and everyone will understand it. Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy, for me a very Russian writer, worried about the Russian people, about Russia, about the people. This is "Resurrection" and his stories. Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol, Maxim Gorky, Anton Pavlovich Chekhov and his drama ...

- Dramatic art. In your opinion, which Russian playwrights sound best on stage?

Of course A.N. Ostrovsky. I won't be new here. A.N. Ostrovsky and A.P. Chekhov are two of the most important Russian playwrights. Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy has very interesting plays, for example, "The Power of Darkness", which, by the way, have not been staged for a long time ...

- The question is probably the most frequent in interviews. Please tell me who would you like to play during your acting career?

Of course Hamlet. For my acting pride. It was played by so many artists that I cannot pass by. Answer questions about yourself, about love, about justice. In general, Shakespeare is the most important playwright. I would also very much like to play Iago. Pain, envy, vanity, selfishness ... It is more interesting to play negative characters than positive ones, to show their mental trauma, their pain, character.

- Who do you associate yourself with from literary characters? Who is closest to you?

Such a question is immodest, to be honest (laughs). All my life, all my youth, I have associated myself with Holden Caulfield from Jerome Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye. From time to time I imagine myself as Robert Jordan from For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. At least I would like to be like him sometimes. From Russian literature - Dmitry Karamazov from the novel "The Brothers Karamazov" by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky.

- What are you working on now?

I am currently involved in two projects. One experimental, based on the story of Yuri Mamleev "Shatuny" (1966). Deep, philosophical story. Just to work on it, I read Berdyaev's "Russian Idea". Sometimes philosophical literature is essential. To understand the relationship of man to God, issues of religiosity, selfishness ... The second project "Girls" based on the story of Boris Bedny. Everyone knows this story very well from the film adaptation of the same name with the participation of the famous Soviet artists Nikolai Rybnikov and Nadezhda Rumyantseva. The premiere is scheduled for January.

- Yegor, and the last question. Do you have a parting word? What would you advise young generations, generations of the eighties, and indeed for everyone ....

Read on! About people, about feelings, about life. Perhaps about the life that we did not have, or, on the contrary, which we live. Do not over tighten. Start reading now.