27 July 2013
Natasha Demina: "Dare, try and make mistakes".

2013 for "NuclearKids" - not only the anniversary year, but also the year of the renewal of the project. Many new participants, new rehearsal base, new genre of staging that is closer to the musical theatre than to the show... The new acting and stage speech teacher - the actress Natasha Demina helps the children to deal with big changes and to master the express acting course. 

The graduate of the Moscow Art Theatre, who plays in the experimental plays in the Vs. Meyerhold's Theatre and in the joint project of the Joseph Beuys and the society "Memorial", has told, why the project "NuclearKids" attracted her, why children shouldn't be talked out of the acting profession and what the modern children lack for, no matter how "nuclear" they are. 

-You're the graduate of the Moscow Art Theatre, who plays in the modern documentary theatre. How did it happen that you found yourself at the children's project?

-First of all it's very interesting for me to work with children. I work at the children's theatre in Moscow and I think that I can handle the children. Many grown-ups have many complexes, the life has broken them. But not the children. The children at the project have the particular period of life when it's possible to deliver them from many communicative problems. That's why my course is the mixture of the acting with the "emergency psychological help": games for attention, memorization, the development of the communicative skills.

- How have you got to learn about "NuclearKids"?

- Mitya promoted me. Last year I went to the theatre "Et cetera" to the musical "The station "Dream" of the project "NuclearKids". To tell the truth, I expected to see an amateur performance. But I saw not a professional story yet, but the children's work on themselves and the great future in front of them. I was surprised that their acting was touching me and I even cried in some moments.

There're things that are given from the God: an amazing voice, beauty...You can improve them but you've already got the most important thing. However paradoxical it is, when you're average, you've more opportunities to develop your skills. But not everyone has the desire to do this. "NuclearKids" have it. The children are alive, they see, hear, perceive. Even if not everyone, but the most of them pull the others.

The hardest thing-getting up early in the morning

-What expectations did you have before the project?

-I went to the summer theatrical school of the The Union of Theatre Workers of the Russian Federation some years ago, where the professional actors create plays for a very short period of time. I was expecting something like this from "NuclearKids" and I was ready to work really hard. But it turned out to be even harder than I had thought. But I'm loving it. I like that I'm fagged out after the rehearsals.

-What is the hardest thing?

-Getting up in the morning. To tell the truth when you get feedback from the children, it doesn't matter whether you're tired or not, when you've had your lunch. But it's really hard to get up early.

-How would you define your task as the teacher of the project. As far as I can judge by the responses about your classes, you're teaching not only acting speech and "the emergency psychological help" from Natasha Demina is working very well...

-You know, before the project I asked myself quite often: "Do I have the right to offer this help?" I always doubt in myself as many other sane people. I've come here with questions: what effect my speech classes and talks with children have, and if I should treat them as grown-ups...

-Have you found the answers?

-Yes, I see their eyes and realize that I'm doing the right thing. At the class one girl said to me: "Nobody is listening to us!"

It's the first checkmark that I've made, you should try to hear them. They're coming to me every day with their problems that are and aren't connected with their roles. I'm pretty straight with them - I'm honest and and don't lisp. That's changing them. It's always seemed to me that it's more important for the grown-ups to be heard out. It turned out to be vice-versa.

I've a feeling that nobody talks with the children. Though I understand that the parents don't bear ill will to them and they're growing up in comfortable conditions: moms, dads, grandparents care about them. But it's still important to speak with them. Because it's easier to made them be occupied with their iPads or TV-sets than to talk or play with them.

All limits exist only in the head. You can do everything!

-How can this project help to solve the teenage problems that show up at your classes?

-Many of them have such a period now when they don't understand what they really want to do. The project plays a very important role  in the self-determination of the children. Everyone can understand here: "Yes, I like this and don't like this". It's a great thing. We live in a closed group and it's impossible to conceal anything here, each trifle crawls out. I probably live in the world of pink ponies, but I'm sure that a bad person can't be an artist. I really like it here that we're standing for each other. I was afraid that the children would organize different groups: "We're the group of people who have the main parts and we don't communicate with you because you're black man". Fortunately it hasn't happened. There is the atmosphere of unity and it fascinates me.

-There is the opinion that this year the musical is harder than in the previous years not only from the director's side, but also psychologically. What does this story mean for you?

-It's about the inner freedom and the opportunity to realize that man can do everything. About the fact that limits are only in our heads. The world is much bigger and broader. It's bigger than 360 degrees and the fourth dimension can open if you switch off something in your head, if you stop saying: "I'm not talented, I'm not good at this".

It's the story about the fact that making a try is great and making mistakes is even better. The experience is based on the mistakes. Higher you fly, more pain you'll feel when fall. If the life beats your head on the floor, you're becoming stronger. We've many rehearsals now, we're putting the play together, they're nervous and I want them not to be afraid of being funny and using such great opportunity - making mistakes.

- What books and films can you advise the children?

-What about books: "Up the Down Staircase" Bel Kaufman, "Lord of the Flies" William Golding, "To kill a mockingbird" Harper Lee. You can read these books at any age, when you're 15 or 80 years old. The story "Nastenka", Vladimir Sorokin, will prepare them for the future life.

As far as films is concerned, "White Bim Black Ear", "20 days without war" by German. "Ivan's childhood" is the first Tarkovsky's film that isn't overloaded with extra meanings. "Thursday or never" is a cosmic film. I've seen it recently. I was sitting for 5 minutes, the credits were already going and I couldn't stop crying...

-Are you discussing the future at your classes?

-Yes, many children are going to enter the theatrical universities. They say: "We'll come to you, Natasha". I'm really glad to hear this.

-The director from the last year, Aleksei Frandetti, said that if there is an opportunity not to become an actor, you should use it. Do you have the same opinion?

-It's a very hard profession. It disturbs your self-importance more than any other profession. But it's great! It's unbelievable! If I haven't become an actress, I'd have been it anyway. I think that actor is the best profession of all the professions. It's probably a fantasy that I can change the people's consciousness. It isn't the craving for power, it's the wish to help.

-What can you advise the participants who are crazy about the stage?

-To enter the university. Dare, try, make mistakes. Cry, enjoy, live.