“…Harmony in art – this is the greatest worry, manifest completely…”
Anatoly Vasiliyevich Efros was born in Kharkov on 3rd July, 1925 into a family of aircraft factory workers. His mother, Lidiya Solomonovna, was a technical translator; his father, Isaak Vasiliyevich, was a planner and builder.
“…One day I came back to Kharkov, where I was born. I arrived after forty years of living in Moscow. I always had memories of the street where I once lived, and of the yard, and of the steep hill where I went sledding. I even dreamed about it often – the yard, the garden, the steep hill, the window. But now I was walking along that street and didn’t recognize anything. And didn’t feel anything. I was even ashamed. And all of a sudden, it was as though something hit me in the chest. And I unexpectedly started sobbing at myself. It was then that I recognized the yard, and hill, and my window. I was shaking so much that a stranger came up to me and tried to calm me down. I could hardly control myself…”
In the middle of the thirties, the family moved to Moscow. In the evacuation during the Great Patriotic War/World War II, Efros worked as a machinist in an aircraft factory in Perm. It was also there that, from 1943 onwards, he began to visit classes in the studio of K. N. Voinov, and then in the acting studio of Y. A. Zavalskiy in the Mossoviet Theatre. In 1945, he immediately applied as a second-year student to GITIS' directing department (for N. V. Petrov and M. O. Knebel’s course).
In 1951, he directed his diploma show, “Prague Remains Mine” by Y. A. Buryakovskiy in the Railwaymen’s House of Culture, followed by “Please Come to Zvonkovoye” by A. Korneychuk in the A. N. Ostrovsky Moscow Regional Drama Theatre.
In 1952 he was enrolled as “just another director” in the Ryazansky Oblast Drama Theatre. Within two seasons, he directed eight shows: “Spring Love,” by K. Trenev; “The Dog in the Manger,” by Lope de Vega; “Love at Dawn,” by Y. Galan; “The Ardent Heart,” by A. N. Ostrovskiy; “Maiden-Beauties,” by A. Simukov; “Stones in the Oven,” by A. Makaenok; “When Spears Break,” by N. F. Pogodin; and "Stepmother,” by O. Balzac.
“…I was completely under the influence of the Art Theatre’s shows, in the same exact way as many others who came into the art during those years. “Three Sisters” stood in front of your eyes with all their details and minutiae. I wanted to stage “Dog in the Snow” exactly like “The Marriage of Figaro.” But in my own show, “Hot Heart” (I directed it after I finished the institute, in Ryazan) I wanted to literally recreate the design of the Art Theatre. At that time, I learned Stanislavsky by heart; I could have discerned when, where, and what he said…”