At first, it seems to me, I felt a little bit like a butterfly when the designer B. Knoblok and I came up with a concept for the play “Kolka, My Friend!”. Like Irina from “Three Sisters,” I could have said that I felt like I was going to grow wings. At the beginning, Knoblok drew a brick wall and piles of old school desks – it was to depict the backyard of a school – and that meant that that’s how it should be. And a Young Pioneers’ meeting room signified nothing more than a Young Pioneers’ meeting room. Period. In order to change one conceptualization into another, we closed the curtain and raised the house lights to half. We’d waited a little, and in return, the next realistic image would come as a completely different realistic environment. Eight stagehands furiously worked for five minutes, then went off for a smoke. Afterwards, the designer brought us some incomprehensible scrap of paper. On it was a watercolor of a yellow circle, and in the middle of that circle, some archaic construction in the shape of the letter “П” – I don’t know what it’s called. To it was attached a ring, a smooth round stick and thick rope with a knot underneath for all-purpose sports exercises.
If there’s such a thingamajig in the yard, then it will be constantly besieged by children, as though they were monkeys. And so, in place of the schoolhouse wall, windows, old desks, and other nonsense, we had to stretch across the stage floor a yellow canvas circle, and on that circle place that cute little sporting apparatus. Upstage, we put a very low, very long bench, which we called “Swedish.” Everything got painted over in May Day colors, and it came out looking more like a playground than the backyard of a school – even though in newer schools, their yards have begun to look more like playgrounds. But we didn’t give a damn that every school didn’t have such a yard; we were already flying, and the world seemed to us so much more beautiful than in reality. But we didn’t forget that our show must nevertheless be truthful and insightful.