chapter  34
4 Pages

Three Final Letters

Dear Vladimir Ivanovich, yesterday after every act of Turandot they telephoned me to share how you received the performance. After your talk with the students, at night, four of them came to me and told me in detail what you said. I was extremely moved, and so was my Studio. Now they bring me a package from you. Your photograph with

What can I say! I regret that I am so very weak and ill that I cannot come to you immediately and thank you for the joy; I regret that I am having difculty writing and cannot gather my thoughts in order to say everything that lls me at this moment. January of last year marked ten years since the greatest event in my

life: I was accepted by you to the Art Theatre. “What would you like to give us, and what would you like to receive from us?” you asked in our conversation. “I want to learn,” I replied. And since then, to this very day, I learn. I learn from you and

Konstantin Sergeyevich. You do not know how greedily I absorbed everything you said in the rehearsals of Hamlet, Thought, Rosmersholm, in general talks. I learned to understand the difference between your feeling of theatre and Konstantin Sergeyevich’s. I learned to combine yours and Konstantin Sergeyevich’s [approaches]. You revealed to me concepts such as “theatricality,” and “the mastery of acting.” I saw that in addition to “emotional experience” (you did not like this term), you demanded something else from an actor. I learned to understand what it means to “speak of feeling” onstage and what it means to feel. And many, many other things I learned from you; I told you about this once, however brie‚y. My gratitude is deep and inexpressible. Your inscription on the

photo is an act of recognition-there cannot be a greater joy for me, since recognition is the only thing an artist strives for in the arts. To be recognized by you and Konstantin Sergeyevich, even if others

do not recognize, is the top achievement. I am now afraid of the future: what if my next work does not justify the gift I was given!