On set – Ktorov, at seventy-eight years old! I was told today that while doing his makeup, he said that he didn’t feel well.
"So we won’t be filming,” I surmised.
"No, what for? Of course we will. He just said that he was tired, and nothing about filming.”
And now all worried, I started to await his appearance on set. Ktorov came in after ten minutes, in a white shirt-front and a beautifully-fitting suit. He was all put-together and happy, although he had spent the entire day in the hospital where his wife was being operated on. Not a word of complaint. All neatness and cheerfulness, even a certain lightness, and yet his day had been terrible. I secretly admired him as I observed him. But that’s not the only thing. I was also, perhaps, used to his “declamation,” and sensed in this expressive speech a certain beauty, at least in comparison with our lazy talk.
He read a monologue, eight pages in total, on the death of Shaw’s mother. Around him, as is always the case in film, was a slew of unnecessary people. Someone ruffled a newspaper, reading. Some kids next to the camera played dice. Somebody was loudly telling a story, practically spitting on Shaw, on his mother, and on Ktorov. And all of this right next to the actor who had prepared himself for this monologue. Thus, unfortunately, is always the case in film, but not every actor is capable of rising above this bustling scene and applying himself to the scene. There’s an external dignity, which the actor always remembers and always strives for. And Ktorov has that dignity – naturally. Nothing reminds him of it; it’s just there. He stands and laughs with everyone, or tells a funny story himself, and there in the frame, with a voice that could ring down from a mountain, he enunciates his text, truly separate from us and rising above us. Nevertheless, in the “old school” there is an ineffable beauty. And how sad that we forget about it in our irresponsible for novelty.