There remained no more than ten of Nemirovich’s letters to read. So I delay and don’t finish them, because it’s scary to get to the final letter and lose it and Nemirovich together.
For a month, it was as though I was living his life. The opening of MXAT, the happy first years, Chekhov, Chekhov’s death, conflict with Stanislavskiy, the search for a repertoire. Searches for paths of development. Revolution. Musical studio. The falls and recoveries, fights and reconciliations. He writes that it appears to him as though he’d lived six lives. At last, he writes about growing older, and then very sadly – of old age. And all the same – cheerful and energetic. Able-bodied. The death of his wife. The dramatized correspondence with Stanislavskiy after his funeral. Old age. And everything in the eighty-second year of his – all new. “Three Sisters.” Everything until the very beginning of the war that made such a strong, indelible impression on him. And all new thoughts – about the future. Some plans. Instructions, lectures. Grievances. Kachalov going off from something, insulted. In a letter to him: “You're all-around wrong.” And just as detailed about actorly indifference in the rehearsals for that very same “Three Sisters”: “How can I remain silent, especially now, so to speak, in the last years of my stay, not just in the Art Theatre, but maybe in life, too…” And still later the war will begin, and the evacuations will happen. Already very few pages remain… And although his life was very great, and many of his letters were collected, all the same it’s sort of terrifying, that right here it will all end.
How strange, that such strength, such rootedness can be cut short. Such solidity. Such depth of knowledge. Such culture – the likes of which will never be seen again.