At one point or another, Pogodin wrote a play about the first days of the Virgin Lands. The production, at the Central Children’s Theatre, was shown on television. Already toward the middle of the show, a phone started ringing in the theatre. A woman’s voice angrily reprimanded us: her daughter was planning to leave for the Virgin Lands, and we’re showing that everything there still isn’t exactly as it seems. The woman was absolutely uninterested in whether what Pogodin wrote was true or not; she only wanted for her daughter’s pre-established notions to remain unchanged.
That woman’s call, as it happened, was literally the first “ring,” the first signal of all that would soon come crashing down on our show. I don’t know if that very woman called the television station, or if similarly worried parents turned up, but Pogodin was soon accused of distorting our reality, maligning our youth, and so on. The show was pulled. And so for my whole life, I remembered that woman’s furious voice as she called the theatre, and then hearing with my own ears the same words and intonation from the lips of the people who pulled the show — and faced with that obvious connection, neither Pogodin nor the theatre could resist. And so I learned that substantial lesson for good.