chapter  7
3 Pages

The Return of the ªMasterº

After his death, Nikolay Gubenko, an actor in Lyubimov’s ensemble, who had in his career as a stage actor alternated with Vysotsky, took over the direction of the Taganka theatre, with the consent of the Taganka ensemble. Gubenko abandoned his activity as a film director and set himself the task of bringing Lyubimov back to Moscow. His attempts suffered a severe blow in March 1987, when a letter signed by ten leading émigré dissidents and expressing their doubt in the sincerity of Gorbachev’s reforms was published in Le Figaro.6 At the same time Gubenko, who had no experience in directing for the theatre, was hesitant about staging a production at the Taganka. From about April 1987 to the autumn of 1988 he revived: The Master and Margarita; Listen!; the “author’s evening” In Search of a Genre; and finally The Mother, a production which was invited to Madrid in March 1988, marking the first invitation to the West of a Lyubimov production and the first meeting of the ensemble with Lyubimov after his exile. Moreover, Gubenko started to rehearse Vladimir Vysotsky and Boris Godunov, and had both productions ready for Lyubimov to review and rehearse in May 1988, when he came to Moscow for ten days on a private invitation by Gubenko. Both Vladimir Vysotsky and Boris Godunov were premièred during or shortly after Lyubimov’s visit.