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Apr 29, 2021
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“Professionalism should become a national idea in Russia”

Professionalism should become a national idea in Russia, the actor Mikhail Porechenkov is sure. In his opinion, today’s young people do not understand what it means to work, and are spoiled by dreams of becoming bloggers. The artist told Izvestia on the occasion of the premiere of the play Conspiracy of Feelings about the role the Internet played in this, as well as about respect for ordinary people, his daughter’s dream of becoming an actress and the fate of the series “Agent of National Security”.

– Mikhail, The Conspiracy of Feelings is your third work with Sergei Zhenovach. Do you like the classic direction that he took as a basis for the Art Theater?

– Why classic? Any experiment is allowed in the theater, please. The only question is the interestingness of the proposal, but its attitude to the material, to the expression and to creativity is always very serious. So far, the classical style wins, but there is also an example of Renata Litvinova, who wrote an excellent play, she was given all the conditions to release it. I think that Sergei Vasilievich is ready for any experiment.

If everyone around is talking about a product that needs to be sold, then he is talking about research, which should be present in any creative work. And in this I am with him, and not with those who want to sell something. You will never earn money with the theater, there is no such possibility. It seems to me that the Moscow Art Theater. A.P. Chekhov is on the right track today. This is a difficult path, not everyone accepts and understands it, everyone says: “Let’s do something like that.” It seems to me that in the classics there is a lot of unknown, a lot of new, there you can find anything you want. Sergei Vasilievich knows and understands what kind of theater he wants to build, I dare to hope he will succeed. This is a Russian drama theater, where the main thing is an actor who works, plays, improvises, lives.

Did you deliberately make your sausage character so funny? Your every appearance is accompanied by laughter from the audience.

– I guess I’m funny in myself. People react to it.

Actor Mikhail Porechenkov

Photo: Izvestia / Alexey Maishev

– Do you like your character? A man in love with sausage.

– I like that he is a real hard worker. What happens to this fanatic next is another question, but as a man of business he commands my respect. If everyone in our country worked and did not dream of being all sorts of bloggers, if we respected working people and not poked them around, everything would be different.

I respect those who work, who come to work every day and professionally do their job. I myself am a working man – I don’t steal money from anyone, but almost every day I come to the theater and rehearse, go out in public several times a month. For this I studied, the state spent money on me, made it possible to choose a profession that I wanted.

– Nobody wants to be a simple worker. Modern youth looks at them almost with arrogance, considers them to be some kind of losers.

– This is very unfortunate. I remember a long time ago I was in Germany and saw that two electricians in work clothes came to a very expensive restaurant, in my opinion, they were changing lamps there. The table was quickly laid for them, the waiters served them respectfully. Imagine: nicely dressed people are having dinner around, and next to them are workers in overalls.

Out of curiosity, I asked the administrator why they are treated like that, they are served at the highest level? They say to me: “What are you, these are the most respected people.” – “Why?” “They work for us, change the light bulbs for us.” This is the level! What do we have? Do you cook steel for us? Ugh at you, steelmaker! And who are you? Are you a doctor? Fuck you, doctor! And who are you? I’m a blogger! Ah, well, that’s another matter! When we learn to respect ordinary workers, a lot will change in our country. Unbeknownst to us, they cook steel, fly planes, carry out cargo transportation, sit behind the wheel, sew, produce. A working man must be respected.

In a scene from the play “Running” directed by Sergei Zhenovach on the main stage of the Moscow Art Theater. A.P. Chekhov, 2019

Photo: Izvestia / Andrey Ershtrem

– Once upon a time workers were respected. What changed? At what point?

– I don’t know when it changed. Apparently, when money was at the forefront and everyone began to measure their amount. Everything human in itself was destroyed, as Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky wrote. I think the Internet also played a huge role in this. It’s a shame that this is happening. Unfortunately, young people do not understand at all what work is, everyone thinks that everyone owes them. That the state owes them. But this is a delusion, no one owes you anything. Go and work yourself. I think that their hysteria and joy will end soon. The order must be restored.

– Tighten the nuts?

– The whole world in our time is looking for a way out of this difficult situation. “Yesterday they gave me freedom, what will I do with it,” Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky said again. These are the difficult questions that we raise in our play “Conspiracy of Feelings”. What is a person, what is the soul of a person, what nooks and darkness there may be, what are the bright sides.

about the play [Юрия] Olesha wrote that she was about how a small person, an intellectual, became unnecessary in this society, not in demand in an environment that is trying to produce, create, and move forward. The intellectual himself has shrunk, the intellectual himself behaves ugly – he is demanding, he is greedy, he drinks, he hates everyone. In the play, he talks about it for a long time, and then falls into the hands of those who say: “Well, hit it, well, put it in order.”

We say that a person is so unknowable, his internal structure is so heavy and diverse, collected like a patchwork quilt, that there are both black and light moments. It’s hard to talk about it, but we are trying.

– Do you give any answers?

– No, we have no answers! It would be too easy to give an answer, let it be better for each viewer to find it himself.

Mikhail Porechenkov, winner in the “Best” nomination, at the ceremony of presenting the Russian national actor award named after Andrei Mironov “Figaro” in St. Petersburg, 2017

Photo: RIA Novosti / Mikhail Kireev.

– I want to return to the conversation about young people who do not want to work, but only dream of easy money and blogging. Who should regulate all this, be responsible?

– I have a friend [кинорежиссёр] Seryozha Shvydkoi, we once talked about how to describe a national idea. What to put at the forefront. It turned out that everything is simple – professionalism. Let professionalism be our national idea. If you approve a person for a supporting role, do not take just anyone, people from the street, take professional actors. Because of this, the quality of the entire product will increase, and there will be audience interest. You take a professional driver and you understand that you will receive good service, quality, speed, and if you take a non-professional one, there will be an accident. It is necessary that people who find themselves in positions of responsibility, who decide something, also understand this.

– By the way, nepotism is flourishing in the cinema. Spoke with [актёром] Sergey Burunov, he was very indignant that there were few professionals and many relatives in the industry.

– We also talked about this once with [актёром] Philip Yankovsky. For some reason, if a steelmaker’s son went to become a steelmaker, that’s good. This is a dynasty. But if the actor’s son went into this profession: “Well, that’s it, they dragged their own.” In my opinion, Ivan Yankovsky is a wonderful actor. But for some reason everyone suspects him of this, as you say, nepotism. And this is the real effect of an unsalted cucumber – when you put a fresh cucumber in a jar of pickles, it becomes salted. The children of artists, after all, see nothing but film sets and theatrical scenes. From an early age, they cook in this environment all the time.

– Cooking in the environment does not mean being talented.

– Well, even if not all are talented, but megatalents are not needed everywhere. There are a huge number of people who play second and third roles. Everyone should be in their place.

The fact that the children of actors go to the actors, so what to do about it? My daughter Maria, for example, also lives in theater and cinema. She has created a world around herself that does not allow anything except this: she wins all reading contests, participates in all school performances. Since childhood, the needle of her compass is directed only there. I will be glad if my daughter goes to the acting profession, because I have boiling water for her.

With his wife Olga at the premiere of the comedy directed by Anna Parmas “Let’s get divorced!” in Moscow, 2019

Photo: Izvestia / Pavel Bednyakov

– Not all artists say that, some protect children from acting. The profession is difficult and dangerous. Do not agree?

– The work is difficult, really. But I believe that everyone should do their own thing, and if the child has a tendency to do so, it is stupid and harsh to slow him down on this path. I always tell my daughter: “Masha, do you want to be an actress?” – “Yes!” – “And if you won’t?” – “I can’t breathe, I will die right away.” And how to dissuade her after that? If you need it like a breath of air. I know from myself: in my youth I thought what would happen if I did not enter the theater? What will happen next? After all, I could not imagine life without it, I had no backup options.

Of course, when you immerse yourself completely and become a person of the profession, there is nothing easy there: it is difficult there, guys. Everyone thinks that these are the parties alone. But you watch the video, it is on YouTube, there after filming in Hollywood, the heroes of “Marvel” are sitting at dinner. Scarlett Johansson is there, Thor. The video goes on for about five minutes, and all this time they eat in silence, they don’t say a word, their shoulders are down. I thought: “I understand you guys, I understand. You guys had a good day today. ” Here’s the job.

– Recently, a number of materials were released in the news, in which they wrote that [актёр] Alexey Serebryakov returned to Russia. I remember when he spoke negatively about Russia, you opposed him.

– I have never played against Lehi. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Lesha and I worked, I know him as a wonderful artist – deep, serious. It is pleasant to work with him, to sit at the same table, to chat. There are all sorts of moments in life. In general, talking about Russia in general is wrong and incorrect, I think it is too diverse, complex and large to judge it in general. There are some points that annoy me too, I disagree with them, I would like it not to be. But I believe that everyone has the opportunity and the right to express themselves as they think.

– For several years, the filming of the sequel to the “National Security Agent” was launched with such a noise. Why hasn’t the project been released yet?

– Not everything depends on us. I am very grateful to this project, it played a big role in my life. Maybe now is not the time. And maybe my Lech lives separately, without me. And maybe the viewer will meet with him again.

Natalia Vasilieva



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