At two o’clock in the afternoon, the People’s Artist of the USSR Prudkin was called to rehearsal. At ten past, I asked my assistant to call Prudkin to the stage.
– He left. He said that at this time, he is resting and having lunch.
– How?! Why the hell did he come, then?
– I don’t know. But he said that he wouldn’t wait, and left.
I started shouting. A person who worked with Stanislavskiy leaves without even warning the director!
All of a sudden I hear from the wings:
– Prudkin’s here.
I go to meet him.
– I’m here, – Prudkin said, – I just went out for a minute.
I didn’t try to clarify who made a mistaken. I saw before me an elegant, wiry, already far-from-young man in a beautiful light suit, with a handkerchief in his upper pocket. He was ready to rehearse: he was smiling, and he had a pleasant look in his eyes. And my soul overflowed with tenderness. They were a great generation, Stanislavskiy’s students!
When we were reviewing the model of the future scenery, Prudkin sat down in the first row and attentively watched over the proceedings.
– I like that there’s somewhere to sit, he said. – And then I thought that Efros would make me run.
When we got onto the stage, for a long time I shied away from asking him to get out of his chair. Finally, I asked. He leapt up with lightness, as though to a hunt. And his scene partner, Stepanova, jumped up, running from door to door. At home I showed my family how he jumped. But it came out clumsy and heavy. No resemblance at all.