The search for an actor to fill the role of Nechaev began. Nobody fit. Some seemed too "big," and others too "small." The main thing: there wasn’t an actor in whom some artistic suffering was combined with the sort of ambiguity that comes off not as a defect, but as a positive attribute of the character.
It was this “ambiguity,” and sometimes even “porousness,” which can make an artist either capable of a complete depiction and impersonation, or seem diffused and cut-off from everything that doesn’t concern him. In our theatre, Aleksandr Shirvindt could have been such an actor, but his perennial fascination with “kapustniks” and sketch comedy turned the gentle ambiguity in his character into mocking bile. There just wasn’t enough of that very suffering of which I spoke previously.