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Text: Svetlana Polyakova

Nominated for a ‘Golden Mask’ award in 2008, director Lev Eraenburg has led an interesting life to date emigrating to Israel, filming TV serials, working as a taxi driver, working as a director in the Finnish Theatre in Petrozavodsk, receiving a diploma in philology, working as a house call doctor. etc. etc In conversation with DE I, the director took a scalpel to modern drama.

On the necessity of a medical education

In keeping with the ideas of our Tovstonogovsky school, we always swore by a psycho-physical approach. That means that an actor’s training includes certain psycho-physical skills. Regardless of that, none of us have any conception of either psyche or physiology. Medicine always interested me in any case. I thought that if I graduate from college, then a course about physiology, anatomy, pathology would enrichen me. In the orthodox sense, that didn’t happen. But when you finish your medical education at 40 and then start working as a doctor, you start to change your view of life, death, love, children almost surreptitiously. Suddenly some little wheel turns in your head and you look at things differently. .

On Chekhov

I am not aware of a more brutal, a more merciless writer in Russian literature than Chekhov. Do you remember the short story ‘Sleepy’ where there is a young girl dropped into a situation where she has to play the role of a mother. At night she looks after the baby, doesn’t sleep, while in the daytime she’s running around working until she gets pushed to the limit and smothers the child blaming the basic instinct of just wanting to sleep. On one side of the scales are all the values and mores of Christian society and on the other, basic instinct. She wants to sleep, eat, and procreate. How cruel the world can be, depending on your point of view. And all of Chekhov’s work is like this. Take ‘The Lady with the Dog’. Even the title is symbolic of bad taste. Both the male and female characters have everything figured out when out of nowhere love crashes in on their otherwise protected little world like a storm, a snowball, something destructive, merciless and inescapable. Catastrophe. Who’s to blame?

On the tragedy of existence

A tongue without love is like a clattering cymbal. The same goes for ‘The Death of Ivan Ilych’ – despair. But according to the desire a man to love, a candle lights up. That position, that the day to day life of humanity is tragic is not being related for the first time by me. To look at this world optimistically is the same as making yourself fall in love with a woman you are not attracted to.


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