So much has been said about me that it’s hard to add anything to it. Of course, I could start my biography with “Believe it or not…” and so on. I came into this world thanks to my parents, to whom I owe my existence as well as my upbringing, which was quite proper I can say without much ado.
It’s not my intent to tell the story of my forebears, the Bezrukov clan, because my father, Vitaly Sergeevich Bezrukov, will do that later – and he can do it so much better than I.
So, where was I? Oh yes, my humble arrival on this planet – a normal birth, although it could hardly be described as humble and quiet because I left the maternity ward with a big black eye. The cause is unknown. You may of course suspect I had a fight with someone or simply fell out of the nest.
My time at kindergarten I can partially recall. I remember the Volga River, the Makarjev Monastery, the road between Moscow and Nizhny, the signature tune of Radio Nizhny Novgorod: “By the Gorky city in a workers’ settlement…”
- Remember my dad returning from the Far East, sporting a big black beard;
- Remember toys: Cowboys and Indians;
- Remember a real Christmas tree, because after that we only had an artificial one;
- Remember Father’s dressing-room in the Theatre named after A.S. Pushkin; the Beast mask from “Beauty and the Beast”, which terrified me; the stage & backstage areas; evening performances; Father as Forrest Man and Karl Moor in “Bandits”;
- Remember how I was passed from arm to arm, like a red flag, from the theatre to the shop, where my mother worked, and back to the theatre (the latter impressed me more); the familiar smell of backstage, blazing-hot lights and fake houses & trees shaking from the slightest touch.
ADOLESCENCE – YOUTH
I can remember my school years a bit better, starting from the interview and my acceptance to the school. By the way, I started when I was 6, the youngest and the shortest. I remember lessons of Peace and Political Information, the yellow-brown book bag, a red “5” on a wooden stick that was given to the pupils who had earned the highest mark to take home. I remember my favourite salad with canned salmon made by my mom on my birthday; a rare orange dry-mix in a brown plastic jar, which after mixing with water distantly resembled Fanta. I remember my teachers, although I will not name them all here. You may look them up in the School #402, Perovo district archives, graduation year 1990.
I remember the school plays “Geese-Swans”, “My Poor Marat”, “Romeo and Juliette”; the atheistic evening and my role of Sacristan in the play based on Anton Chekhov’s “Procrastination”; literature evenings, including the one dedicated to Alexander Pushkin, when I stepped on the school stage as A. Pushkin, only without make-up, wearing an ordinary white shirt with extra bits of fabric sewn to the cuffs to make it look old-fashioned.
I remember joining the Pioneers’ Organisation in Red Square; the scary Lenin in his Mausoleum; the long-awaited rite of joining the Komsomol (Union of the Young Communists), so long-awaited because it became unbearable for me to wear a pioneer’s red tie while all my older classmates were wearing proper ties.
I don’t want to be blamed for avoiding the subject of my studies, I will tell you quite frankly about it: all things happened, different things, but despite all that I tried to study well and as a result graduated from the school with four Bs, the rest were As. The earlier struggle between the mediocre and the good in me was not easy. The major battles happened in the fields of Math and Languages, both Russian and English. Have to admit that the victory of the good was due to my character. I thank my character for my good marks. I was always known as persistent, even stubborn. Let’s add to it my purposefulness, obsession by the idee fixe, and self-confidence.
So here is the page
with me, 16 years of age.
For starters, I have simultaneously graduated from high school, music school (guitar class) and the UPK, which stands for Apprenticeship School, where I received an Applied Arts Artist / Decorator of the 5th degree.
The fascination and obsession with acting started much earlier. And that, no doubt, was my father’s fault. Batya (Daddy) had spent time with me from my childhood. His influence is the source of the school plays, which were very well-done, I have to say. One can see in them the master’s hand and professional director’s touch. Thank the Lord, I escaped the amateur performances hated by my Father and me.
My preparation for the entry exams in the Moscow Art Theatre’s School Studio, which was also my father’s Alma mater, was very serious. We had the preparatory course consisting of the initial 10 lessons, and a further 30. At the end of the course we went through a selection by our future Master, Oleg Pavlovich Tabakov, who would hand-pick the most talented and gifted. The lucky ones had the right to skip three preliminary sets of tests and go straight to the final exam; that was our main advantage, although it did not guarantee us success in being accepted by the School. I tried to get into all the theatrical schools in Moscow and I was easily accepted everywhere because I knew I’d be allowed to take the final test in the MAT School. I read Zoschenko’s “The Aristocrat” (Aristokratka), Varlam Shalamov’s “Vaska Denisov, the Thief of Pigs”, Maximilian Voloshin’s “World”, and a fable – sorry, I cannot remember which one I read. As for dance, I carried an audiotape-player “Romantic-306” with me everywhere, so that I could perform a gypsy dance with an accompaniment. To show my voice I played a guitar and sang songs based on Esenin’s poetry. I managed to receive the highest number of points (of course, due to my old school habit of studying: I had written numerous essays in high school and had always been interested in history as well as literature).
In short, I was accepted!
And so the serene college years commenced: creativity, creativity and even more creativity.
We seldom saw Oleg Pavlovich and that only enhanced his mystique. As a rule, he would make an appearance at our own work’s presentations and exams; sometimes he would bring us gifts from some other country he had visited. I remember Tabakov’s famous dark glasses at exams, through which we tried in vain to see his reaction to our creative work. “Selection!!!” – that’s what we all feared most of all. Selection!!!, Selection!!! i.e. dismissal. I remember discussions at the end of school year that took place in Oleg Pavlovich’s office in the one and only, famous, divine Tabakerka theatre. That’s where “debriefing” took place. I remember B+ for Actor’s Skills, which was very offensive to me an A student. It was revealed later that such a “low” mark was given with the purpose of teaching me not to overindulge in playing character roles…
During my college years I played Hamlet, Prince Myshkin, Rasplyuev, Golokhvostov, Staritsky (“After Two Rabbits” vaudeville), Pushkin (a scene with Natalie), Sacristan from A. Chekhov’s stories (“Procrastination”, “Witch”, “Surgery”) and many other roles, again with my father’s support, in order not to fall into amateurish ways. Among all the subjects, forgetting none, I preferred dance and stage-fighting. But despite the preference for some subjects I graduated with an honours diploma, again thanks to my stubborn character. Have to mention, although not without embarrassment, I was the only Honour Diploma graduate that year. Tabakov has commented: “No flock is without its black sheep”. I agree with him.
I hardly looked for a job after graduation, in fact, I have not shown anywhere at all. My dream was to work in the legendary Tabakerka. And this dream came true on the 1st of January 1994. Yes!!!