Dmitri Dyuzhev: The “sprouts” of a dream
Interview with Dmitri Dyuzhev.
Russian theater and cinema actor and film director Dmitri Petrovich Dyuzhev touched upon his life and career from a psychological perspective in an interview with Dmitri, how do you view psychology? Have you ever seen a psychologist? Dmitri Dyuzhev: I have been interested in psychology since childhood. At the time, I thought I was going to become either a pedagogue, or a priest, or a psychologist. But when I met my future wife, Tatiana, who graduated from the Faculty of Psychology of Moscow Pedagogical Institute, we became a family of doctors. My wife is a psychologist and has taught me many things. Now I often visit various psychology websites and complete all kinds of tests and questionnaires. I like it. As far as directing plays is concerned, I took my first steps by directing Gelman’s psychological play “Bench”, which is about the relations between a man and a woman. The play lasts 90 minutes, which is equal to an entire lifetime. With this, I try to show how often we say one thing, but understand something else and think about something else. We want to play openly for the audience and ask ourselves why we don’t understand what people tell us, or why we understand in a way that is different. How did you choose your profession? D. D.: My father forced me. He was also an actor, and he told me, ‘you will go to Moscow and will study at the theater institute.’ My family and I have moved to different cities. At the time, we were living in Astrakhan. It was kind of incredible that a 16-year-old boy in high school could travel from Astrakhan to Moscow alone. It was like the adventures of Zhuyl Vern. You have your environment in a familiar city. People know you from your scent, you’re psychologically secure, people support you, and you’re always safe. But when you leave that place and become psychologically free at the age of 16, you realize that being free is scary. In my first year of studies, I was assigned to go out to the street and attract the attention of as many passers-by as possible. I wore my coat over my shirt, put a pan on my head, placed a hat on top of that and went to Red Square. A police officer approached me, asked me about my destiny and, in a couple of minutes, he understand that I was a normal person and that I was simply doing my “homework”. As you take a look back, what conclusion have you made? Was your father right? D. D.: Of course. I always remember my father’s advice with great gratitude and love my job. Those were hard times. My father would earn 80 rubles at the theater, and my mother would earn 100 rubles as a member of the board of education. That was when my father stopped what he was doing and started trading, but he had starred in theater for a long time before that. He was seeking the director within him and his role. When my father passed away, I realized that he had given me his dream, and it was close to my heart. It was hard to play the role of a bad person in the “Brigada” soap opera. Have you discovered that dark side of you? D. D.: Yes, I adapted easily. There have been such examples and feelings in my life, and they have helped me play the role. In the soap opera, there were many things that depended on the director’s imagination and the actors’ right kind of acting. Of course, criminals and people involved in the sphere helped us play the role. The police even gave me and the other boys a document stating that we were part of the system so that people wouldn’t identify us as the characters in the soap opera after the soap opera ended. Do you think one needs to tolerate something by sacrificing himself? D. D.: There is a philosophy-escape that which doesn’t make you happy. At the same time, life is so different, and it’s that difference in which brilliance lies. It combines black and white. One needs to tolerate for the sake of love, but how can a wife tolerate her husband who is an alcoholic and a drug addict? Should she escape, or should she tolerate that for the sake of love? It’s a tough question. What if that kind of love doesn’t make you happy? D. D.: If the meaning of life is to be happy, then escape. If the meaning of life is to love, then die by loving. If there is love, then there is also tolerance. Have there been any shortcomings in your life? Do you regret them? D. D.: As Machiavelli said, ‘It would be better for me to regret what I haven’t done than what I have done.’ I rarely do things that I will regret later. I do everything consciously, even if what I do doesn’t lead to the expected outcome. You leave the impression of a perfect and judgmental person and a person who is very balanced. Doesn’t that disturb you on the job? D. D.: It’s very hard to get on my nerves. I can easily change characters. They teach you that at a theater institute. You have to play your role in a way to make it convincing. I become familiar with the character’s physical and psychological condition, his customs and start to control that within me. It’s horrible to seem ridiculous from the perspective of the hero that you have created. It’s inadmissible. Of course, it’s unprofessional to save the world your entire life and never become a real actor. Working at the Young Spectators’ Theater helped me a lot. It’s where you have to come out on stage and play the role of an animal to make the audience believe it’s real and live. It’s really hard. What are you afraid of? D. D.: I’m afraid of God, and nothing else. One time I left home, entered a church and met a very familiar person, a priest. I thank him for helped me be afraid of God and explained that He is unmatched. What won’t you ever forgive? D. D.: I can forgive everything. Our entire philosophy is to understand and forgive and refrain from being egoistic. There is no greater force than love. I’ve never hit my son. I’ve been told to place my knees on salt in a corner and been beaten with a belt. My parents didn’t restrain themselves. I forgave them and didn’t even become embittered. We understand life by comparing. Srbuhi Sargsyan