Monday, June 17, 2013


Have I ever told you about Sergei Sarkisyan?
 I was really adrift at that time in my life, looking for something  or somebody to give my existence some meaning. Its very dangerous, when a teenager or a young person stops believing in their parents. They start taking the advice of any schemer over the common sense that should be their real guide. I think, it might be true, although, the world would be such a boring and  undeveloped place if people only listened to the common sense. Imagine, Young Columbus, telling himself: " There's 'nada' over the West horizon, Chris, just concentrate on getting ahead in life or getting married!". Or, the man named Johann thinking: "The Papacy is an established authority. We'd better believe the priests' interpretation of the Bible and just try to keep the Gutenberg family alive!" Of course, there is a difference between the conformism and the common sense. Still, how do we distinguish between a true motivation and a scam? 
My one guiding star was art. When a friend-musician brought me to a small theater, where he was just hired, to try for a job of a director's assistant, I thought, it was too good to be true. My instinct told me that I didn't have any talent or even secretarial skills to really belong there. I was right, of course, but it didn't matter. The director, Sergei Sarkisyan, collected young people in Moscow, not only to build his theater but also to support his ego. We were glad to go hungry and, most of us, homeless for the privilege of participating in the creative process. It was great to give yourself completely to your art. I was just a glorified secretary and a gofer, but all around me talented, beautiful people fought for a better expression of the writer's and director's thought, and I also was caught up in that purpose. Sergei Sarkisyan was an enchanter. He would sit in the chairs, his dark Armenian face thin and mystical in the musings of a master. He would cough softly and turn up the collar of his suit jacket, and we would feel immediately concerned for the well-being of that noble person. Once a week he would hold a studio exercises for all of us. I felt the sweet terror when it was my turn to act or show something, and, most of the time, he would also let me feel terribly inadequate. It was enough to keep me coming for more. When it was time to promote the new play, he charged me with contacting the newspapers and different celebrities of the cultural Moscow, and invite them to the premiere. I worked my.. derriere.. off, going everywhere by bus and Metro (only the rich and the powerful had cars in Russia at that time in history). I found the addresses and barged into the apartments of the famous poets and editors. Many of them, moved by my young enthusiasm, came to see the opening of the new Rock Opera. The director Sarkisyan, claiming fatigue, refused to meet them after the performance. Because of that there weren't any favorable reviews in the newspapers or the raving public fighting for the tickets to a play. The doubt took root in my soul and made me feel adrift in the strange world. 

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