Arnold Pomazan: “Oh, my life, are you but a dream?”

He had his benefit night in 1995. When is the next one? It is approximately in two years. As it is common in theatrical circles it will be dedicated to a jubilee of some sort. People’s actor of the Republic of Belarus Arnold Pomazan hopes that he will have a chance to play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand — a role of a great idealist, he has been dreaming a lot of. He is not certain about the director though
Up to date Pomazan, like every professional actor, is overwhelmed with work: works on the radio, in cinematography, in Kupala Theatre. His most recent role was in a full-length movie, a Russia-Belarus joint movie-project — he played a White Guard officer. Every day he has got rehearsals with the theatre director Vladimir Savitsky: National Academic Kupala Theatre is going to celebrate a 125-year birthday anniversary of Belarusian classical writer Yanka Kupala by the production “Dreaming Belarus” based on the play by Vladimir Korotkevich “Four Enchantresses’ Cradle.” Moreover, every evening he comes out on the stage of his home-theatre performing various roles. Recently, I have seen “Apple Taste” by Anatoly Davidenko, directed by Gennadiy Davidko with him performing. I can testify that Arnold Pomazan is in good shape — his romantic persona Michael is as good as his other roles.

This is how, in a nutshell, his life looks like. However, we will elaborate on this matter because today he is the guest of “Belarus.”

— Arnold, I can be mistaken, but is it true, that the most important event in you life, recently, is the prize “Crystal Pavlinka”?

— Of course. If you can recollect, at the Day of the Theatre, when I was awarded this highest award of the Union of Theatrical Workers, I said that I’ve played with 8 Pavlinkas, but only the ninth, the crystal one, fell in love with me.

— It is a good metaphor, but I feel that it is clear only to people, who know Kupala Theatre, as well as that the theatre has a certain tradition of role assignment in the play “Pavlinka”. By the way, how was it with you role of Adam Bykowsky.

— The role assignment took place on stage, right before the start of the performance. I explained that I have played the role for 32 years and I had more than a thousand performances. I wished good luck and long stage life to the young actor Oleg Garbuz. It was all not very serious, more for the audience…

— 1000 times in one role! Didn’t you get bored with it?

— No way! Every time is like the first time. I have bee able to reveal new aspects in the Bykowsky’s persona all the time.

— Why do you like him?

— Although he is an antagonist, but what a wide range of colors in his moods, in his character. I have always felt that Yanka Kupala, when he was writing his “Pavlinka,” half of his heart put in Pavlinka, and half in Bykowsky. Kupala himself had a style, he was not a show-off, but he definitely had a style. This role has a very rich external image — it has a lot of dances, movements. You know, I used to be a singer and a dancer. I learned to play harmonica on my own being pretty young.

— What is you first role?

— It is a role of Seryozhka Tiulenin in “Young Guard.” I played it in our school performance. This is how my infatuation with the theatre started. At that time we lived in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. By the way, I am really proud that it was my parents who built it.

— How did you come to live in Belarus though?

— First I lived in Lvov, because my father got a new job there. My parents wanted me to choose a “real” profession, like a doctor or what not. But I did not get into medical school. I have studied for two years at a railroad school. I even had a job of a second locoman. But the stage tempted me and I secretly started to attend studio-theatre named after Maria Zenkovetskaya, after I have seen an ad in a local newspaper. I tried to enter several theatrical schools in Moscow, but with little success. As soon as they learnt that I have already studied theatre and have played in a theatre, they rejected me at once. The decisive role in my career was played by the Ministry of Culture of the USSR — they gave me a piece of advice to go Minsk and to apply to Belarusian State Theatre and Art Institute (now it is called Art Academy — V.Z.). Minsk, compared to Moscow with its hectic life, seemed like a paradise city. This is how I became a Belarusian actor. I have been living here since the graduation.

— What made you become an actor? It seems like the fate itself was testing your ambitions.

— I have always wondered myself, why is it that life has such high requirements for me. My way to the theatre has not been easy indeed. I took several courses at BSTAI for audit before becoming a full-time student. I think that I became an actor because as a young man I had a chance to feel the energy of the audience. It feels like you are flying, rising over the ground. A doctor explained it to me. At the moment of applauses, actor’s body produces endorphins, so-called hormones of happiness. It is all about chemistry. Some people have a plenty of endorphins, some have less. Those people who have less become actors or athletes to get “charged”. People from the audience are also up for the same “product”.

— You are saying that this “chemistry” makes you think about new roles, don’t you? At the curtain call, an actor gets into “endorphin resonance”.

— I can’t live without work. I think that any well-accomplished work brings satisfaction. To say nothing about a well-performed part in a play, the one that you’ve been dreaming of. I am also an experienced “walrus” with 35-year experience. I like to swim in Komsomol lake in winter. I get my doze of endorphins there as well.

— What is your relationship with directors? Do you need their approval?

— I had a lot of parts in plays by such famous playwrights as Andrey Makayonak, Alexey Dudarev. I worked together with such directors as Valeriy Rayevsky, Alexander Gartsuyev, Vladimir Savitsky, Nikolay Pinigin. It has always been very important for me when a director after a performance gives a hint whether I acted well, or found a new aspect of a character thus making the role richer. Stage partner’s approval is also very important for me. We always had very artistic relationships.

— Are you such kind of a person who adapts to directors or can you get into artistic conflict with them?

— I do what my heart tells me to. If I feel that my heart approves of the acting I will do everything what director tells me. And I will work. But if my heart remains silent, it is very hard for me to warm to my role.

— Have you ever been afraid that you would not get this or that part in a play that you would not be noticed or someone will get a role instead of you?

— Certainly. One must be constantly busy in the theatre. One needs to think all the time, thoughts must go on, otherwise it is stagnation, a swamp. I had my periods of stagnation. I went to Rayevsky then a told him, “Valeriy Nikolayevich, a squirrel in a spinning wheel is working, and if you stop the wheel it will die.” “A squirrel also needs a rest though,” Rayevsky tried to calm me down.

— What can you say about the theatre where you are working now? Judging by your professionalism you are going to work there for a long time, aren’t you?

— I wish. Kupala Theater is a place of great kindness. It has warm aura. There is an environment of brotherhood, care, a spirit of something good ol’. It feels like a sourdough that you use to make bread, the one that stems from older generations.

— You seem like a happy person, are you happy?

— Happiness is just a moment. As every human being my life has stripes: both black and white. There are biological rhythms as well and we depend upon them. However, when I think about my life I ask myself the question posed by a famous poet, “Oh, my life, are you but a dream?” You know why? Because whatever life you have, life by itself is always a miracle.

Valentina Zhdanovich
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