I’m not aghandavor (sectarian), I’m taghandavor (talented)
Interview with Arsen Grigoryan.
He’s an actor and a host who sings and dances. He’s daring, sincere, straightforward and…talented. He no longer fights with the image he sees in the mirror. He loves “him” and even his curls don’t make him angry anymore. He is sure that everything is reciprocal in life… if it’s not about the biblical reality of “slaps to both cheeks”. “In this case, you don’t slap after the first, but let them slap your other cheek as well,” says the person whom it is truly worth getting to know up close. Eritasard.am: Arsen from “Tes” (See), Arsen from “Rubikon”, “curly” Arsen, Arsen Grigoryan…who is Arsen? Arsen Grigoryan: When I have to introduce myself as a professional, I say I’m an actor who hosts a program, sings and dances. In other words, I am involved in the branches of stage art that include song, speech and movement. Eritasard.am: And if we’re not speaking professionally... A. G.: I’m a person who works on showing all positive attributes and stays away from negative expressions as much as possible. Eritasard.am: Does it work out? A. G.: In general, yes. But like everyone, I also make mistakes. Eritasard.am: You entered show business with your song “Tes” (See) and we saw you. How did you “see” show business? A. G.: It was very different after the theater. The theater is sort of a collective art, while show business is a place for personalities to gather. There are personalities at the theater as well, but if somebody doesn’t play his role well, the others are not happy and don’t think ‘It’s a good thing I’m playing my role well’. On the contrary, each actor’s flaw has an impact on the whole image. But you don’t see that in show business. Not everyone wants others to be good. Of course, this doesn’t mean that everyone is like that because there are also people who are happy for your success. Eritasard.am: Can you give names? A. G.: Yes, I can. There are many people who are truly happy for me. They are my friends and they’re in show business as well. I am in touch with many of them and haven’t noticed any negative attitudes. Of course, whatever I have noticed has had an impact on me, but I look at them as people who will someday realize that what they said or did was wrong. Eritasard.am: Your songs and video clips are different from the ones that have turned into a sort of series, say “6/8”. Won’t they be similar at all? A. G.: I won’t say they will be definitely different. First, to be honest, my last song called “Payusak” (Bag) is upbeat. The way you approach it is a totally different story. It’s more about taste. Very famous, legendary rock bands have songs in 6/8 that you listen to and never say they are “6/8” or the “6/8” you know. I like to experiment. I like to discover new situations and recognize myself. So, I can’t say what experiment I will be interested in later. Eritasard.am: How do you treat the “supply-demand” “duet”, which is highly speculated today? A. G.: I don’t agree with people who say demand dictates or that what we see is on demand. I have contacts with many different people, friends with different professions and 98% of demand is not what is being presented today. In this case, I can only ask not to generalize everybody. Let nobody get the impression that I am excluding this rhythm. It is ours and you “move” in totally different way. Eritasard.am: Are you an actor of classical or experimental theater? A. G.: I have played in almost all theaters, including Sundukyan, Metro, Goy, Edgar Elbakyan and the Chamber Theater and they are all different from each other. When I was at Sundukyan Theater, I was playing with the “titans” like Vladimir Msryan and Armen Elbakyan and it was a very interesting experience for me. I don’t like to stay in one place. I prefer experiment more. Eritasard.am: Do you also think today’s audience doesn’t like to applaud? A. G.: I don’t think the audience doesn’t like to applaud. That is more of an issue regarding the Armenian nation. We are sort of complex. When we are at a concert hall and like the song, we still don’t applaud because maybe the person sitting next to us doesn’t like that song and we might make a bad impression. Everyone thinks about the other person and is passive. But I have also had a very active audience. Eritasard.am: Is there a “Rubicon” that you have already passed? A. G.: I experience that whenever I do something and finish it. But I also believe those are the stones that will be gathered and turn into a big home. That is why I always have expectations. I know that it’s not the end and that I have more to do. Eritasard.am: You present singers and video clips during the show “Rubicon”. Do you think everyone should be presented? A. G.: I can’t say that for the performers. Each performer is a personality regardless of style, quality and type and you can find a topic to discuss with them. They are interesting as people. As far as the video clips are concerned, there are so many that I wouldn’t like to touch upon. But those people have done their job and you don’t want to offend them. But there are many humiliating things. Eritasard.am: Can you tell us about your favorite video clips or the ones that have frustrated you the most? A. G.: Favorite? I have many favorite video clips. For instance, Varduhi Vardanyan’s “Hayastan”, Shushan Petrosyan’s “Patranki Teverov” (With Wings of an Illusion), Andre’s “Horovel”. As for “bad” video clips, I think everyone has them. For me, I simply don’t know what to say to not make it sound rude. Fine, I’ll just say I don’t understand the video clips showing performances during different TV shows, concerts in the provinces or premieres. I don’t know. Eritasard.am: Arsen, you are sort of straightforward and very objective when it comes to criticizing your friends. Do you treat criticism the same way? A. G.: Yes, I have a very healthy attitude. Eritasard.am: Don’t you get offended or depressed? A. G.: Well, of course I get offended. It’s not like I don’t have feelings. I am a very emotional person. I’m simply able to overcome all that. I don’t stay offended for a long time, even as a healthy person (laughing). I have a healthy attitude toward criticism from healthy people and there are people like that. Eritasard.am: Show business means rumors and gossip, but to be honest, there are not many rumors going around about you. They simply “accuse” you of being aghandavor (sectarian). Perhaps you can finally put an end to this. A. G.: Let’s. First, I must say I’m not aghandavor (sectarian), I’m taghandavor (talented) (laughing). It’s just that it would be better if the people who keep speculating this issue read about this topic and be informed. I believe in God, go to church and hear the masses. The church believes in Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, that is, the Holy Trinity, but not any sect. I myself am a Christian. Eritasard.am: Which of the Ten Commandments is more familiar to you? A. G.: I immediately remembered “Don’t steal”. I have always had apathy toward stealing since childhood. Eritasard.am: Which is your Yerevan? A. G.: It is the Yerevan with people living there, some buildings, the pubs I visit to drink beer, the Cascade, but mainly people. Eritasard.am: Do you have dreams? A. G.: Yes, I have many dreams, starting from the most material and leading to infinity (laughing). Once I lost the ability to dream and then it suddenly came back. I realized that I’m not dreaming, but dying as a human being and dreamed again. Eritasard.am: Is there someone for whom you are ready to do anything? A. G.: Of course, each member of my family. Eritasard.am: You once said people make mistakes, but one day they will look in the mirror and recognize themselves. What do you see when you look in the mirror? A. G.: When I look in the mirror in the morning, I see many “exploded” hairs on my head, depending on how I spent the night before. But I do recognize myself. There was a time when I used to fight a lot with myself, but that is over now. Gallery: Arsen Grigoryan Lilit Grigoryan