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Fashionmag42 interview: Victoria Klipova

MAG42: How did you first become interested in directing?
I have changed a lot of different professions: from journalism to working in government structure – prestigious professions, but in one moment I decided that I can’t any more go with projections of my parents and changed my path to art, which I was interested from my childhood with making performance at home and in school.

I started my artistic career with acting, then I broke my leg, so Ii couldn’t act but I continued going to classes and I started to direct others. When I started to direct I forgot about any basic needs, that’s how I understand that it’s my fate and job which I am deeply keen on.

MAG42: Describe the process of working with actors to develop their characters.
After the first read of play we are analyzing general lines of characters, the main idea which every character is going to throw all play. In rehearsals we are working on the structure of each scene, where the crucial point is small details. For instance, how is this precise character getting nervous: is she gnawing her nails or touching her hairs or have any ticks? Sure, each actor brings their personality and tools to the same character, so it would be two different characters of Inez, if two different actors played it.

Then we make the first draft of all performances, after which we again talk about crucial points of changing characters during all play. After a period of making structure of each scene and performance overall actors have some freedom to work deeply on specific details to make their characters more alive. During all period we have rehearsals with a choreographer who is helping actors to find specific and precise movements for their characters.

MAG42: What challenges have you faced as a director and how did you overcome them?
First of all, I started my career with a performance where there were 5 men and I, all of them were older than me. One of the actors asked me during casting: when will the director come? He decided that I am an assistant. The day before the premiere the actor started to shout at me that it’s the ugliest project that he has ever had, that i am nobody. I was listening to it calmly. When he finished I asked: “Did you finish?” He said: “Yes”. And I say: “Now let’s work”.

When I started any new project –  film or theatre – someone always told me that I would never do it, it’s impossible. It gave me inspiration to do it. That’s how pressing ahead of all people’s words I achieved a moment when I was staging a plastic performance in one of the best theatres – Vahtangov’s theatre and got laurels from international film festivals in UK, Canada, Russia. My existence proves that everything is possible. Now time has passed and nobody tells me already that I can’t do anything.

When it came to immigration, the most difficult was to make your first project out of Russia (it was in Belarus), because there were a lot of inner barriers: “Can I do it? Will somebody understand it? Will actors abroad know the same terms?” But when I did it the first time, the next time it was simpler and simpler. So I made project “Glass Menagerie” by Tennesse Wiliams in Istanbul, Turkey for 500 people at historical stage, then site-specific performance “Midsummer night’s dream” by William Shakespeare in Budva, Montenegro and now I have been doing project “No exit” Sartre in Belgrade, Serbia.

MAG42: Tell us more about your new project ” No exit”.
This project is multicultural, because we have half of the team Serbian, half Russian, different acting schools and approaches to art  brings this project its unique atmosphere. We have been working on the project “No exit” for a few months and I realized that it’s one of the most reliable and professional teams with whom I worked. I feel very deep support and belief of all members in this project – it makes me happier and I enjoy the process.

“No Exit” is a philosophical play by Jean-Paul Sartre, delving into the complexities of decision-making and the weight of responsibility. It explores what shapes our self-perception—others’ opinions or our own emotions. We are talking about not just people’s diversity of opinions, but also the influence of mass media which is flooding our informational space day by day.

The performance itself will consist of dynamic plot, going on deeper and deeper levels, contemporary dance, symbolic set design, minimal music, video art plus strong psychological acting team. It will be staged in English, so everyone can understand it.

MAG42: What kind of feedback do you usually get from your actors?
First of all, I should say that you can’t be liked by everyone, it’s not my job, so I can assume that there are different opinions. For my work and life I am just looking for my people, my team, who like, support and believe in what we are doing.

I think for some actors it’s a challenge to work with me, because in my works they are pressing ahead through difficulties, growing over themselves, trying totally new things, because actors are ordinary people with their psychological “stops” inside, with their education, from which they took that they are, as an example, bad at dancing, and now in my project they should dance. I am not giving them a chance that they can not do it, they will do. It’s painful, it’s fearful, it’s psychological blocks, sometimes hysterics, crying, telling that I am doing wrong. I am all period near with them in contact pressing ahead problems, but at the end they do and they start to believe more in themselves and understand that they can do it. Point of growth every-time is pain.

It’s my philosophy of life. I do it because I pressed ahead a lot of difficulties by myself and I continue to grow and make new challenges for myself – professionally, personally. I am really convinced that you can achieve everything that you can think/imagine in your life, but we have a lot of ‘stops”, which takes roots in our parental growing models, society, friends around, education, your partner and a lot of other things, and just with constant work you can level up. Eventually when I see that someone pressed ahead of himself and becomes bigger I am happier and proud of him or her, really.

MAG42: Do you have any funny or memorable stories about directing?
One of funny stories: We were shooting a feature and there was a dramatic scene when the grandmother of the main character is about to die, lying in a hospital bed with a mask on her face. There was a small break, then we continued to work and I noticed that grandmother started to be more than white (she had already had make-up with a more unusual color of face) and did not feel good. I talked with some assistant and they told me that she smoked weed with our sound-man during break, he suggested it to her and she accepted. It was her first time in life. So I continued to shoot and started to be nervous that my actress will die during the dying scene.

Memorable story: I made my first premiere in Moscow. There was a story about 4 characters, 4 addictions and one space, from which they want to get out. I wrote a play by myself and staged it. For me any piece of art is conversation with the audience. I think as an artist I should ask precise questions through my art, and everyone should answer for himself. After the premiere one woman with tears is going to me and telling: “In performance it’s like it was in my experience, it’s real, it’s true”.

MAG42: Message for Fashionmag42 readers.
Do not stop learning and looking for yours: when you find it, you will feel it. Never stop doing what you really like to do no matter what is happening. If you have already started something, be strong enough to lead it to the logical end.

Photo: Private archive V.K


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