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Interview with Natalya Kosteneva

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A creative person is someone special, possessing unique abilities, not like anyone. To be creative person is to have an ability to create, to see the world differently, to inspire, to influence people and awake new feelings in them.

Natalya Kosteneva, the new heroine of our interview, is such a person. The actress and artist, she is a truly creative person. Why? You will understand it yourself after reading the interview. We talked about many things. Read the interview with Natalya Kosteneva on VLVmag right now. Believe us, it's worth your attention.

- Natalya, share the most vivid memories of your childhood. What were you interested in as a teenager? Your main childhood dream was ...

- Creative symptoms began, of course, from childhood, in the class I was a black sheep, favorite subjects - far from exact sciences

 I am dyslexic, therefore the text I have previously learned, I could not read without emotion, rearranging words, syllables and letters in places. I'm also ambidexter. I wrote in a notebook with left hand, at the blackboard with right hand. Everyone laughed for some reason, and in fact it was by itself, no one influenced me.

And, of course, a collection of poems and stories, from a male face. It seemed to me that only a man can be a real poet or a writer, all the great ones I read were mostly male. That's why I thought that I should think like a man and write the same way. Silliness of course, but it was. In any case, it seemed to me then (smiles), now it seems different.

I am also engaged in drawing, which later led to a dense passion of painting - a lifelong hobby.

Natalya with mother

Natalya with mother, photo © Костенева

- Creative profession ... Why? When did you realize that you want to connect your life with creativity?

- The first steps in an acting career were, of course, in school theater. It was there that I realized that I wanted to be an actress. It happened at that minute when I drank the liquid with the clumsy inscription "POISON" on the bottle of nail polish, portraying Juliet in her dying monologue. The applause crashed, which only strengthened my dream.

Despite the words of my class teacher, who persuaded me not to do this, because she was an actress in the past, and knew this “cruel acting world”, I went to Moscow from Novosibirsk for entry exams.

I entered and began to study. Here, of course, were happy carefree years when an actor is molded from you, like from plasticine, and you absorb like a sponge and you are in a state of daily happiness. It was all in the Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute with such opposing feelings and a striking difference with the school. It even seemed to me that it was as if I had escaped from the colony of strictly imprisonment, it was such a stunning difference. Like a breath of air! Then I thought sharply and radically.

Natalya Kosteneva

Natalya Kosteneva, photo © artinsideyou

- Tell us about your very first career steps, as well as the actress and the artist: how was it?

- I started organizing full house for my graduation performances, then we played Ostrovsky's “Profitable Place”, I played the role of Polina.

I took a thick phone book and started right from the first page and the letter “A”. For example, the Administration of President. “Why not?”, I thought. I dialed the number and spoke the text I had worked, presented myself to the secretary and making a strict voice.

“Hello, the Boris Shchukin Theatre Institute welcomes you. On the 90th anniversary of the institute, we invite all the organizations of Moscow to us, to the diploma performance, for free”, everybody on the line were amazed and agreed to come. There were a lot of organizations in the phone book, so the shaft of people who began to float to our institute, directly to the play “Profitable Place”, shocked our administrators, who only had time to make free entrance tickets to my name. People hung on the chandeliers, the full house were provided. We played out, and only after that came up with the idea of inviting artistic directors of the theater to performances.

“It’s better if they see me on stage in a performance than in a stuffy office at shows with excerpts”, I thought, going to the House of Actor on the old Arbat for the telephones of all the artistic directors of theaters. With this it turned out to be more difficult, I got telephone numbers easily, but they answered very rarely. I had to make a personal visit to the theater. So it happened. Viktyuk, Serebrennikov, Tabakov and Dzhigarkhanyan came. And they, as it was planned, liked the play very much.

So my work began in the theater of Oleg Tabakov "Tabakerka".

But, before graduation from the institute, I worked the entire 4th course, played in the theater with Roman Grigorievich Viktyuk, in the play “The Last Love of Don Juan” in the role of Angelica. The most beautiful memories are associated with the first performance after the release.

A year later, I had to leave, since Oleg Pavlovich Tabakov forbade working for two theaters and did not want to divide his actors. “That's right too”, I thought, and made a choice in the direction of Tabakerka. 14 years of service in the theater, where I grew up playing dear to my heart performances. I am insanely grateful to Oleg Pavlovich Tabakov for raising an actress in me.

I have been painting since childhood, as I grew up in an art school where my mother worked. This was an extraordinary art school, an old, wooden architectural structure, where a white goat lived in the barn at the school. She liked me and we became friends. The goat followed my heels and chewed the edge of my dress all the time, she was very friendly and calm. I, a little girl about 6 years old, and a snow-white goat chewing my dress.

This is the picture that comes to mind when you ask me about the first artistic steps. There I was engaged in painting, studied the history of Art, in general, learned elegant sciences. So I spent my childhood among artists, easels, in creative workshops. It was impossible not absorb the creative spirit.

"Portrait of David Bowie" (left), "Tea Party" (right) canvas, oil, coal

"Portrait of David Bowie" (left), "Tea Party" (right) canvas, oil, coal, photo © kosteneva

- Many viewers first saw you in one of the most popular TV Russian shows of the 21st century - “Zaitsev + 1”, in which you played Nastya Lyapina. Tell us about the atmosphere that was on the set of that project. What memories of that time did you have?

- The series “Zaitsev +1” was a very fun project that brought me a lot of new friends. It was created in a warm atmosphere, among friends. The only person I already knew was Denis Kosyakov, he was the author of the idea and script. With Denis, we studied at the B. Shchukin Theater Institute. But I found out about Denis’s participation in the project only after approval, it was a big surprise.

- What, in your opinion, is the uniqueness and relevance of this series?

- The uniqueness, in my opinion, of our series is that this is not an adaptation of foreign serials, but our Russian project, invented from “A to Z” by Denis Kosyakov. Very topical, with shades of black humor.

- You make movies and take part in theatrical productions, also draw pictures. How did you discover the art of this direction? How strong do you think being an actor and being an artist are different vocations? Tell us about your favorite work. How were they created?

- I don’t like my pictures at all. It is difficult with them. When I draw, I can hate some of them, and then even look at them is difficult. And some - nothing like that. I like some at once, and then not really. For example, there are paintings that I like, but others do not. And vice versa: the most unloved pictures like friends. It's all about the mood and feeling in space. And mental well-being at the moment.

I have no favorite works, the whole "salt" is that I am very self-critical, and when starting to work I often criticize it in advance, and those rare pictures that are brought to the end and survive under my hand are pure coincidence.

Filming of the series "Zaitsev +1"

Filming of the series "Zaitsev +1", photo © kosteneva

- In what style do you mainly draw? Why exactly this direction attracts you?

- The principle of my work is to reflect the reality through the subconscious. Another important point is the search. It is interesting for me to experiment every time, to search for new styles and techniques, forms of expression, sometimes the search for these forms is as ugly as possible. Least of all interested in realism in art. Reality must lie in design, but not in expression.

Probably the most accurate definition of my style in painting will be "figurative expressionism". But it is still searching, changing, growing with me. Perhaps it completely mutates and flows into something else, in a different direction, until I know.

I care about how a person is arranged, why he arranged that way. I am worried about our animal nature and the nature of our perversion. Mechanisms of Evil and Good. The most beautiful thing in a person that I would chant is the brain, everything is hidden in it, including our soul.

Also culture, it is like the greatest fruit of humanity. The greatest invention of which people are capable. And just without this culture, I can not live. Without the feeling of beauty, I would probably give up on life. All these I, one way or another, try to reflect in my work. And in painting, of course.

“Attack on Eden” (left), “Tea Party” (right)

“Attack on Eden” (left), “Tea Party” (right), photo © A. Kuzmina, N. Tikhomirov

- The most prominent roles of your career were ... Tell us about these heroes, share your attitude towards them. What is their uniqueness?

- There are four of them, and they are all theatrical. My first role in the graduation performance at the B. Shchukin Theatre Institute. This was a play by Ostrovsky "Profitable Place", the role of Pauline. There psychoanalysis took place. The next is Sarah’s role in the play of Thomas Bernhard “The Mummer”. Also the role of Constance Weber with Peter Schaeffer in the play "Amadeus". And the role of Angelica in "The Last Love of Don Juan" by Eric-Emanuel Schmitt.

Why favorite? Because there is my DNA in each of these roles, my chemical composition. And there is one big secret. In there roles there is true me. You can see the real me in these roles. Usually, people have a resonance knowing me in life, and on the stage; it is completely different person (this is only about the theater), some will not even recognize me. But they do not know only one thing, that everything is a little the other way around, on the stage - it’s me, for those who can feel and see, but in a conversation with them I’m not true to the end.

- Inspiration ... How does it come to you?

- Inspiration, it certainly happens. But it is so elusive and capricious that you have to force it. I have already learned and developed a certain tactics, just sit in the workshop and force my brain to fantasize purposefully. Sometimes it turns out.

У Натальи Костеневой есть тактика ловли вдохновения

Natalya Kosteneva has a tactic to catch inspiration, photo © kosteneva

- Travel and sports. What is it for you?

 - I do not like a passive form of rest, lying on the couch is not for me. I love to look at the world, to learn as much as possible. I do not like the heat, I love the rain and freshness.

I do not like sports at all, and everything connected with it. Probably, many will condemn me, but it seems to me that you can do sports only for health. And to find in this excitement, if you are not a professional athlete, in my opinion, it is strange. Although many like it. I lead a healthy lifestyle, and I go in for sports only exclusively to maintain inner tone.

- What needs to be done to make your day off perfect?

- I do not like to rest, creativity for me is the best rest.

- What projects are you working on now? Do you plan to learn something new for yourself?

- At the moment I am studying at HCSD (Higher Courses for Scriptwriters and Directors) at the directing department, course of V. I. Khotinenko, P. K. Finn and V. A. Fenchenko. All my free and non-free time absorbs my studies. The transition in directing is realized by me, it was always in my plans, since I was always closely within the framework of the acting profession only. I have always been fond of dramaturgy, wrote stories, poems, novels, and even plays. Now I am learning to write scripts (smiles).

Serious passion for painting only stimulates the adrenaline rush and helps in directing. As Stanislavsky said: "Fantasy does not need to be developed, fantasy needs to be restrained". In my opinion, this is about me. Therefore, the transition to directing for me is justified, desired and more than logical.

For me, cinema is, first of all, a powerful machine for influencing the inner world of a person. On its subconscious. Instrument of education and entertainment too, of course, but not only pure entertainment. This is a culture. Just like a theater, of course, but only on a larger scale. Maybe I'm an idealist, but, I believe in it and understand that this is the most thorny and possibly ungrateful way in cinema, but for me it is the only true one.

I believe that commercial cinema can be artistic. And the author's cinema can be commercially successful. I am for the author's view in commercial cinema. And yet, for me, the cinema should be picturesque, lively, and, most importantly, its own! In tune with its country, time and understandable throughout the world. These are the thoughts that still arise in my head.

I do not plan to leave the acting profession. I plan to combine, most likely, it will be some kind of new acting quality. Life will show and put everything in its place.

Birthday V.A. Fenchenko

Birthday of V.A. Fenchenko, photo © kosteneva

- Will there be any films with your participation in the near future? Slightly open a little secret.

- Everyone always asks me about the continuation of the series “Zaitsev + 1”. I want to answer everyone at once that there will be no continuation! At least, negotiations on the resumption of this project are not conducted. This story is over. And we, the actors, have already outgrown these heroes, it would be at least strange and not interesting to return to them, it is necessary to develop further. Although I really love our series and my heroine. I am grateful to all creators of this project, I am very glad that there was such an experience in my life.

As for further films with my participation, I am open to new proposals, if it does not interfere with my studies. Now I am participating in the shooting of the author's short festival film, with the debutant director - my classmate. This is all I can tell you about. See you at the cinema!

Ekaterina Tikhonova, Russia, Moscow Екатерина Тихонова Екатерина Тихонова

Екатерина Тихонова


Natalya Kosteneva works with exclusive actor’s agency GM Consulting & Production