Not to be a beast

A Frank interview with the Russian Director Galina Polischuk, who for many years was the bright star of the Latvian stage, not yet fallen victim to political passions. Since most of the time living and working in Russia favored by Russian and Western critics and did not see anything wrong even in the Crimean tour. His new production “Quota for life” the Director has dedicated the theme of refugees — a choice between fear of the foreign and love of neighbor. Riga the Prime Minister — 26 April and 29 may at the theatre “Daile”.

“Well, how do you live here?” — says Galina Polishchuk at the meeting and contagious laughs, effectively throwing a wave of blond hair. Today in Latvia it is more a span, attack, RAID — to see parents hugging adult daughter to make the project and sped away to the East. Or to the West. Often still to the East.


Biography of Galina Polischuk — a complete lack of boundaries and taboos. First profession — stewardess. The second is a teacher of Russian language and literature at school. Then the course of directing at the Russian Theatre under the leadership of the revolutionary theatre of Boris Yukhananov. Again Latvia: performances in the main theatres of Latvia, the New Riga, National, Liepaja, Riga Russian. Among them — appearing on the cover of American Theatre “a Streetcar named desire”, “Romeo and Juliet” in the tank with three gallons of water, a fresh interpretation of the classics Rainis, Ostrovsky, Arbuzov… International festivals, rave criticism, and recognition.

After the end of the theatrical project “the Holy blood” in Oslo, where Nordic epic about the Holy Olof the Director moved to the science lab, began a new Chapter in her biography — the theatre “Observatory”, in the cellar with 70 seats. Tickets sold out six months ahead. The performances are in Latvian and then in Russian. In the company of Russians and Latvians… With the departure of the Minister of culture Helena Demakova all doors before the Director was very tight. In an attempt to save the theatre Galina went into politics, but missed.

Next stop, Russia. There is a Director in great demand today. Parallel to the work in theatres — a successful festival projects with a favorite Andris Bulisa, remained loyal since “Observatory”.

My ancestors bought the land in Latvia, in the year one thousand seven hundred and some year — and where is my home?

Delfi: In Latvia you have successfully put in the Latvian theatres in Russia — in Russian. And what kind of world you grew up?

Galina Polishchuk: it’s complicated. My producer League Paunina not speak Russian at all, and her mother, MEP Inese Vaidere, denied entry to Russia. My designer was insanely talented girl Dace Pudane. In communicating with them I realized that they earnestly believe that all Russian and arrived in Latvia in Soviet times, the invaders, that is. Whoa, said I, we have at home is a bill of sale for a thousand semsot a year in which the Russian language is written on purchase of lands in the district of Jekabpils my ancestors-the old believers — Stepanovym. They also lived in Latvia, but without their land. That is, they didn’t come, so, no, I have no other homeland. The next farm was sold to conservatives Ershov. Their descendants have married — they were my grandparents.

My grandfather graduated from the Latvian school, she was only an elementary school (the family is big — it is necessary to make). My grandfather was a very business-like. While in Germany he lived in vosmikomnatny apartment in Riga, on Marijas. Looked like a real dandy, coat, hat, cane. With the outbreak of war all ran to the farm. When Soviet rule came, the grandmother had hidden the cows of the neighbors-Latvians. When the Germans came, there were Latvians, who said to conservatives that they — the Communists, but there were those who warned grandmother: RAID — hide. Great-grandfather was not a Communist, hiding did not and was shot. Alas, the Latvians.

Could it be my homeland, Russia, where the first time I went, enrolling in GITIS, only because I’m Russian?! Of course, I feel their homeland Latvia — are all native…

I think such stories on our little home a lot. Like that stupid joke about the farmer: white took power — would beat, red beat, and took off his pants — the neigbour has come. And a nationality here at anything — it is the human factor. When Soviet power was established, the grandfather to the farm did not go — he seized the land and cattle. The family barely survived. My mother was born and studied there. Was a straight a student, but my grandfather forbade her to join the pioneers. But she’s a student — necessary. Grandfather-old came to school, and she… not only that, the tie, and dancing.
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But the schools aware of the history of Latvia today talk only about the Russian occupiers after world war II, and the fact that a lot of them here lived in Peter the great, hushed… my Childhood passed on the Maskacka, went to a Russian school, the family language was Russian, because my dad came here in the 60’s from the Ukraine. He was in love with airplanes — aviation graduated, worked as a flight engineer on “Spilva”, taught, he was inventive innovations…

What am I then? Where is my home? Latvia, where the graves of my family and all my relatives? Ukraine, where I was only once in my life when I was five years old, but when I come there for festivals and to give interviews to television, they say “you’re ours, you have our name!”. Could it be my homeland, Russia, where the first time I went, enrolling in GITIS, only because I’m Russian?! Of course, I feel their homeland Latvia — are all home… it hurts when someone thinks you belong here.

Me all these problems of rejection of one nation by another concern in global scale. As Nietzsche wrote: first, you can push people with the morality of slaves, it is nationalism. Slaves willing to go to war against people of other nationalities. This primitivism. Politicians still use this to manipulate people, just as Hitler and Mussolini.

As soon as you enter into a personal relationship, with a desire to know the other, it appears that insurmountable fences, no as human beings we can understand each other. Yes, we have a different mentality, their characteristics and habits, different melody of speech, but it’s fine… this is stated in many of my performances in “the Town” Wilder, who I put in Liepaja, in the “Circumcision” (Tallinn) and in the “Quota for life”, which will soon see the residents.

At first was disbelief: what the Russian can sense in Latvian classics?!

— After school you went to flight attendants is that in one fell swoop to get rid of all borders and fences?

Actually, I was in school I was always the main cultural sector, but in the theatre to go afraid. My dad offered to continue the family tradition, try out a flight attendant — then it was considered prestigious. I took part in a competition 400 people in place. The profession I loved. I flew five years until earned severe kidney disease and the second group of disability. From this and die, but I survived, thanks to the lovely Latvian doctor Maris Plavins.

He entered the Russian philological faculty, to little to be closer to the theater. Then he taught at the school. Once got to 11-th class. I was 23, im 17, it was a great time! One of the students-high school dared me to go together to do. In the end she changed her mind, and I’m not — so I arrived in GITIS on course Boris Yukhananov, a student of Anatoly Vasilyev.

— Why to put the award show you didn’t go to Russian theatre and the New Riga, and even in Latvian?

Is now juhananov — guru, dictate theatrical fashion all advanced Moscow “Stanislavsky” — a notorious place of unimaginable theatrical forms and trends, the Mecca of theatre parties and critics, and used his name in “decent theaters” sounded akin to the curse, he was considered a creepy underground. To 50, a Director is not considered and I’m only in this theater and believe. Hermanis immediately said: juhananov — I know, cool, put! And I put “He, she and Franz” by Nabokov.

By the way, at that time, Latvian I know is bad, more on the level of understanding mastered in the process of communication and work. I had a Russian copy of the text, but when the actors spoke English in unison, it was difficult to understand.But everyone was obsessed with the desire to help me: legendary Gundars Abolins on the money buy more scenery and props, rehearsing day and night, worried about me… I’m still very grateful and Alves, and to all the actors for a wonderful debut.

Today Russian producers in the Latvian theatres is not uncommon. Last year, Kirill Serebrennikov has entrusted the staging of the centenary of Rainis in the National. You were one of the first people invited to work in the citadel of Latvian culture…

— I called back the chief Director of the National theatre, Edmunds Freibergs, who once went to a rehearsal of “Romeo and Juliet” with the fourth year of the Academy culture. He liked my method of working with actors.

I must admit, at first I felt distrust of himself, as took place Rainis — “blow, wind!”: well, this Russian can sense in Latvian classics?! And I wanted to move away from stereotypes such great folk classics. With set designer Monica Pormale we found an unusual form — the ethnographic Museum, where went the youth, and in the end was the information about the closure. Critics have called this work “the herbarium of the senses”. By the way, “blow, wind” were welcomed in Moscow on the “Golden mask” in the reviews I was flattered by comparisons with Nyakroshus and Kolyada.

Thank you, helēna Demakova, which in a good sense, I think the Latvian Furtseva

— You were incredibly popular and critically acclaimed. All the troubles started with the fact that you want to be “free the Queen” — to create the theatre “Observatory”.

— Why just trouble?! The first five years of the Observatory was a huge success: tickets were bought six months in advance, we played for 32 performance in a month. We were well responded to international criticism, our “a Streetcar named desire” even made the cover of American Theater magazine as best play, by Tennessee Williams…

Your theatre I was just necessary. The spectacle is a world that is born in your head, which is difficult to fit into other people’s wall with foreign actors. The first attempt to break with a repertory theatre, I undertook after the success of “blow, wind” at the festival “New Europe”, as announced to journalists at the airport. But the new Director of the National theatre ojārs Rubenis persuaded to return.
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Rubens really did a lot for me. He radiated a deep understanding of what I’m talking about. My performances participated in the Latvian parades, festivals, and received international recognition… But I knew that I wouldn’t give to work only with those actors that have developed their language and their understanding of theater, which would like to go further. There were a lot of pitfalls, and not even by Directorate and actors…

Anyway, I finally realized that in a repertory theatre can not work Basil school, an entirely different language, manners and philosophy do not fit in a conventional theatre. If all the time you compromise, unhappy to the end or the process or the result. Of course, the possession of a profession gives you the opportunity to make a play, but this is unlikely to be an artistic statement, a new form, that excite international criticism. Well, not interesting to the world a Director who made art of circumcision! In the end, my actors went nowhere. Went to the festivals, lived on what they paid, while we had your theatre…

I am very grateful to the former Minister of culture helēna Demakova, which is considered in the good sense of the Latvian Ekaterina Furtseva. Helena attended all the premieres and exhibitions, interested in all the trends and support everything that is considered worthy. Her efforts promoted many contemporary painters and artists. At some point Helena had put us in the budget: we were able to pay all the bills, to pay actors and technical staff (30 people), to cover hire of room — only ticket sales for the 70 seats it is unreal. Half earned, half were subsidized, but then we the same half returned to the state in taxes. So that the closure of the theatre, by and large, no profit is not brought in and was a great folly.

— Why did it come to this?

— Alas, to do all the official papers on the status of our theatre Helena did not — she resigned from the post due to illness. The new Minister ints dālderis called me on the eve of departure to Moscow, where I was invited to put in the theatre, Kalyagin’s Et Cetera. The office of the Minister were Director of the National theatre “Dailes”, which he offered to take me under his roof. They were not averse, but asked in this case to increase funding. So they may not agree to that, but VIN said, go, Galina, don’t worry — this theatre will never close. When I returned from the City, it turned out that the money for the salaries of the actors on our account is not received. We began to fight for its existence, attracting the press and friends, but to no avail.

And then you decided to make a knight’s move — to go into politics?

— Demakova and Paul, who loved to visit us in the theater were from the people’s party. Don’t even remember who told me to go to this party (at the time dālderis have defected from them in Unity) moderate the elderly, where many famous intellectuals. I liked that they bet on the economy and completely alien to nationalism. Then they teamed up with the party of Slesers, and began to look for ways to help my theater.

In the Riga city Council said money can’t help — can room. With the wording “there is still nothing happening”, we were invited to the hall of the House of Congress. Then I and my actors first encountered the concept of black pre-election PR. All our words were twisted and parametervalues so that the hair stood up on end. At some point we decided that we will talk soon live. We began to lose the viewer. The party promised to assume part of the costs to pay for utilities, but after the elections, all promises were forgotten. There was a feeling that we’re being used and thrown away.

I remember I was put in the theater “Baltic house” in St. Petersburg his play “Return to love” with Yevtushenko and Paul, at a press conference on the occasion, the St. Petersburg journalists began to ask: Galina, is it true that this theatre closed? Why in Latvia again close the theater, you have an amazing country! They expressively has looked at Pauls (alluding to the story of the closure of the youth theatre). But Pauls just “the Observatory” very protective of the money collected for us live. I remember how he joked, made the old man in the world with an outstretched hand to walk.

When I returned to Riga, it became clear that we put on the street because of the debt for utility payments of 5000 lats, which they themselves offered us not to pay, arguing that flushing is still necessary, and the hall after the summit stands empty. Not even allowed to go to pick up costumes and decorations, completely forgetting what we were there for repair, organized everything — dressing rooms, stage, toilets, and for the money our sponsor.

— And you went into politics only in the name of saving the theater or something wanted to do for the benefit of Latvia?

— Both. Had some romantic idea that on a cultural basis, you can connect the fragmented society. I therefore began to translate our performances to Russian and play on both… I always thought that our parochial division — it is absolutely wrong. In the country there are about a million and a tail of the residents, and she gorditsa fences. It is impossible to discuss anything objectively all its own information from its source, the other they seem not to understand. And those and others…

His daughter, I was sent to the Latvian school, now she is studying to be a medic and safely communicate with patients in both languages at a time as the guys who know only one language, suffer a great deal. How to redo — I don’t know. When I tell how we live in two worlds, don’t believe me. But I understand why this is happening — it is beneficial to politicians. If the people will not be focused on the enemy and mutual struggle, he remembers about the economic situation.

And then, as he wrote in one edition, Russia saved me

How you lived after the death of the theatre?

Two years were not able to do anything. Lived on money from Moscow productions. Gradually began to appear some suggestions, I started to get the business cards of those who have previously been denied because of lack of time. Made two works in Estonia, where I have been asked. And then, as he wrote in one edition, Russia saved me. Two performances staged in Omsk. Loved the collaboration with theater of the city of Kamensk — Ural (in Ekaterinburg) “drama Number Three”, which is so similar in spirit to our “Observatory”. Their chief Director once upon a time and absolutely hopeless shoved me his card at the “Golden mask”. And here I found her. Kamensk — as three of our Liepaja. Theatre tickets there sold out in two days. In parallel, we did a festival performance Facebook.Postscriptum with Andris Bulisa…

For conversion to the black Muslim Andris Bulis had to visit the beauty salon, where it was sprayed with some kind of composition, after which it some days were dark. But especially it was not easy for dreadlocks is painful.

Despite all the drama, Andris remained loyal to you.

— He’s always been very my actor who just genetically felt my ideas, then they spoke, sublimated and were given their. This acting and directing the proximity of, perhaps, closer sex. Here is the answer to the question, why is it so difficult to work in a repertory theater — with one, another, third. To make the show more than just a performance, you must open you must open up only once inside each other to create art. Of Actresses like resia Kalnina and Dita Lurina, I felt to the fingertips…

As noted by Russian critics sitting on our Andris rehearsal in Moscow: so you understand each other, communicate like dolphins, ultraframe. He never stuck in any of the Latvian theatre, because she wants to maintain independence and to have the opportunity to appear in Russian cinema, and in other countries. I think so. He is an actor of such level that it should be successful.

When I settled in the idea of the play Facebook, I knew that it would be Andris. I didn’t care where and how I’m going to show you. As my classmate Eugene Grishkovets (we studied together for two years, and then they have Yukhananov did not happen), his first performances, he played “between the pantry and toilet”.

The First Facebook.Life we rolled the audience in the mysterious theater “64 chair”, which is almost on the his apartment arranged a producer Juris millers. But this performance was not intended only for Latvia. In the end, Facebook took under his wing the Russian international festival “rainbow” — we then drove across Russia…

— Including in the Crimea, which caused a lot of misunderstandings in Latvia.

— We are about anything that even thought. I don’t want to pay attention to all these political stories is absurd. Is it possible something like that somewhere in France, saying that let’s not play our performance in this area, because there all vote for marine Le Pen. “Rainbow” carries its performances in different cities and countries — and to Russia, and the Baltic States, and France… It would be strange to deny to the public for political reasons.

By the way, saw this production and former Director festival d’avignon — in Russian he didn’t understand, but by the end of the play sat in tears, and said in a real theater without language, everything is clear. He is definitely outlined what he saw the story and invited us as guests to their festival. It was perfect: heat, wine and the old Avignon.

— As to you Russian audience?

— It is quite different than Latvian — immediately slams into you with their emotional experiences, begins to cry, to laugh, to help… In Russia to us there is always more attention from the media, they Andris love there interview on NTV, TV-Russia Life News, at the service entrance, the girls almost fighting for an autograph and a selfie with Andris. In Riga this does not happen.

— You do not interfere with all these sanctions, which, according to polls, a quarter of Russians consider Latvia as the hostile country?

— Not at all. To be honest, ordinary Russians in the daily life of Latvia do not even remember — well, there is. Rather, they are relations with America or Germany. Remember when our Dace left the theater Director joked: you tell everyone there that we love you and no we are not the aggressors.

Theatrical figures in General, there is no bias — they are only interested in the fact that my play got on the Russian or international festival. The bar they need to keep. Russia is a very big competitions even at the Federal festivals. Of the 600 performances choose to program 16. At the festival I represent the theatre, which did a production. If this is a Russian theater means Russia.

And then you have to decide who is in front of you — the people or the Muslims?

Performance “Quota for life” you do not put in Russia, and in Latvia and with the Latvian actors.

— In Russia I did another show on the current topic is about migrant workers and Uzbeks on the play political of the author Dario Fo. And here still a European theme — conflict, divided society into for and against. Besides, as I thought, Russia is not particularly close to our history with refugees. What nationalities lives in Russia. However, in the end, the festival “rainbow” has taken the statement himself. I even discouraged: it’s not yours, the viewer may not understand! They argued that the theme of European and Russian refugees, whom the Russians difficult to accept Uzbeks, Kyrgyz, etc.

When we were looking for the opportunity to make this statement, jūrmala has announced a competition of cultural projects. We applied, got the money and made the play. Under the contract with the Cultural centre of Jurmala, played it five times. Now before the festival was important to restore it and at the same time show to the Riga public. I am grateful to the gills (head of the theatre “Daile” George.John. Dillinger) who agreed to help us.

— Why did you decide to put on the topic of refugees?

— Because me, this topic is disturbing and the answer can not find. The play begins with excerpts from the European Convention, created after world war II, after the Holocaust and the colossal destruction — it says that each country should help the running from other countries people in three cases — if they are persecuted on ethnic grounds, religion or sexual orientation… It was signed by 47 countries, including Latvia.

I read a lot of literature about Islam and its different currents, learned a lot about dogma, sacrifices and so on. I admit, I am very afraid of Muslims, with their alien attitudes and interpretations. On the other hand, when you look at pictures with dying people and read the brilliant text of the Convention are filled with humanism and love of neighbor. And then you have to decide who is in front of you — the people or the Muslims?

— Form your performance, as always, unusual.

For me this is very important: find the form? Yes, this form is difficult to perceive. The whole first part on the stage posters of people with video actor communicates with them. The idea was born when I saw a furious debate between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of the Hungarian, which is very affected by the invasion of refugees. The President of Hungary resembles Merkel that Europe is Greece, and not Carthage that it is necessary to save as our ancestors did, destroying Carthage. This historical keynote, contrary to the European Convention that gives refugees the right to travel, and provokes reflection on the subject, who in the end wins what country or civilization will cease to exist, becoming mountains of garbage — like salted Carthage.

Mountains of garbage — so today’s look coastal European countries. That win in us the instinct of self-preservation or humanity, does not allow to treat people as garbage?

The action of the play takes place either in the international English or to a non-existent language, reminiscent of the sound of the Arabic. I deliberately used this art course, to draw an analogy with a certain country. I wanted to create the feeling that this could be everywhere, always and by all. In parallel, the synchronous dubbing, as in the movie, which professionally makes actress Zane Allan — it duplicates films for Latvian TV.

Kalyagin literally screamed about the scene in the movie in my theater that will be!

— After “Quotas” where do you see yourself?

— Don’t want to make. There are interesting offers in Russia. Perhaps long-lasting.

— It is unlikely that Russia is today the most stable country, and with the money there now…

— I’m not saying go to Russia permanently, but I need to work where there is a need for this — it may be Russia (where the tongue easier), like me and the Estonian theatre, and Germany is beautiful. In Russia, theatre and culture have the money. All, of course, depends on the city. In the same Ekaterinburg products and restaurants are much more expensive Riga. And the lack of customers there. By the way, this is a very European city — shopping, decoration — except that their home had to get used to.

What I really care about in Russia is the growing censorship. Especially in large cities. As written by well-known theatre critic Alyona Karas: today all ingenious is happening in the province. There critics are compelled to go for the bold performances of thousands of kilometers.

— You’re talking about something so emotionally said Konstantin Raikin at the Congress of theatrical figures?

— He’s absolutely right. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, I can’t put the show in full, as they want. The same Kalyagin who is on friendly terms with the government, literally screaming about the one scene in the movie “goddess” in my theatre, this scene will not be! Censorship. As a result, neither in Moscow nor in St. Petersburg, I never released the performance such as like.

— Actress Topless?

— If! It’s all the same to him. It was about eating a person, and this is a political subtext. The actors fought. I said that without this scene the play would not — I leave immediately. And the scene was, but I had a fight with Kalyagin. Despite the fact that the reviews were very good. The same critic Alyona Karas has compared what is happening in Russia, the riots with what she saw on stage. Kalyagin did not even offer my play to the “Golden mask”, where the theatre decides to put forward a Mask or not. But the performances I put in other cities, have the greatest impact, including on “the Mask”. So it is better to work in the province of… More freedom and possibilities.

And then my producer said, as nationalism — it’s very good!

Then you’d better in Europe work?

Have their for and against. I find it very difficult with languages. But had to put in Germany, was about all summer to learn German, but have not yet agreed, not agreed on the play. I proposed the play didn’t suit them, I’ll look for another material. But there passed our play Facebook — the Germans shouted Andris: “Dinamo Riga!” I’m afraid to be disappointed in Germany, but while in her romantically in love. Culture, politeness, fear of any sign of nationalism. This is some new level of human development — the highest manifestation of humanism and amestecate. In person the image of the enemy from the old Soviet movie instantly disappears.

Remember, after the show in Stuttgart we talked to the theater management. Began to discuss refugees. German literary Manager was very worried because this could cause a backlash in society in the form of a revival of nationalism… And then my producer said, as nationalism — it’s very good! I did not tell her about the differences of fascism and nationalism in theories of the two great dictators of the world, advised, better not to this topic to continue, so as not to show our ignorance.

Still like that we did not return to the level of barbarians, and honorably and humanely dealt with today — Yes, difficult situation. Political way us hard at something to influence this game Putin and trump. But everyone can decide for himself: if I’m able to help someone and not to be a beast, or are not able. My play — cause to reflect on the feeling of nationalism and the ability to make the other. When in the “Quota for life” a beautiful young actress Lauma balod tells about the terrorist attacks and the sounds of the Marseillaise, which was sung by the people themselves in the square after the attack “we will not break!”, personally, I have a lump in my throat.

— In Latvia you yourself don’t see?

— I think I’m not invited. There is one remarkable and courageous Liepaja Director Herbert Launstein, but he probably already regretted. And indeed I don’t want anyone to bring problems. Alas, I am pessimistic about the fate of their homeland. Especially sad that young people are leaving. My daughter’s boyfriend and said, I am not the best student in school, then six years at University, six in residency to get a as a cashier in Maxima. A lot of guys from their course immediately tried to go to the English group.

And that will remain in Latvia: pensioners who will send money their children and grandchildren? I do not understand the future of our country, and I don’t see politicians who will draw any sane scheme of salvation Latvia you can believe it. Sorry.