Alexander Kasparov

Actor Alexander Kasparov: ‘I Think Hamlet is Almost an Armenian Role!’

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By Artsvi Bakhchinyan

Special to the Mirror-Spectator

YEREVAN/SARATOV, Russia — Alexander Kasparov is a leading actor of the Slonov Academic Drama Theater in Saratov and a board member of the Union of Theater Workers of Russia from the Saratov Region. He was born in 1983, in the city of Balashov, Saratov Region, in a family of engineers: his mother is Russian and father is of Armenian-Russian origin. In 2005, Alexander graduated from the acting and directing course at the Theater Institute under the Sobinov Saratov State Conservatory (workshop of Honored Artist of Russia Anton Kuznetsov). Since 2001 Alexander Kasparov has played over 70 roles on the stage of the Saratov Academic Drama Theater…

Dear Alexander, you participated in more than 70 performances, among them classics, modern, and even fairy tales. Is there anything in common between such different characters and your performing style?

The main thing in all my performances is the spectator’s love and always looking upon him as an ally. You can be a king, a revolutionary or a villain, but the spectator for me is the main thing! If there was contact with him, the role was a success!

You are one of those lucky theater actors who had the honor of playing Hamlet at 24. On this occasion Komsomolskaya Pravda wrote (04/08/2008) about you: “He was chosen because he is able to play without a break, hysteria and unnecessary emotions, but at the same time deeply and with soul.” How do you rate this experience?

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It was a very big and interesting experience. I wanted to fully show my whole temperament and skill. At the request of the director, I had to restrain myself — emotions, behavior on stage, because usually my roles are comic. During this work, I received a great acting education. But still, there were moments in the performance where I managed to show my Armenian character — a quiet Hamlet could not avenge for his father! I am very grateful to the theater for entrusting me with such a role.

I believe this was another modern interpretation of Hamlet using Rammstein’s music.

When people saw Rammstein [a German heavy metal band] in the play’s program, many thought that the performance would not be as deep and serious for perception as it ended up. My father said the same thing at the beginning. But, when he watched this performance, he became proud of my work and he liked the action on the stage. Everything was harmonious. Rammstein in our Hamlet was a move to attract young viewers.

In general, what role does music play in the life of an actor, and in particular, for you?

According to Alexander Pushkin, “Of life’s enjoyments, music is surpassed, by love alone; but love is melody.” Music is a tool that can evoke any emotion! But I also love silence.

And what about the movies? I saw you only in a small role in Christophe de Ponfilly’s film “The Star of the Soldier.” Are there any others?

Employment in the theater does not allow me to act in films often. When the opportunity arises, I sometimes star in TV shows in Moscow. There were big roles in the series “Trace” (in episodes “Doublet” and “In the Gateway We Are Waiting for a Maniac”) and “Signs of Destiny” (in episode “Lodger”). Last summer I starred in two music videos. But I consider these works as an experience of filming and an opportunity to earn a little.

What are the advantages of a Russian actor with blue eyes and an Armenian nose?

A wide range of roles and attention from girls (laughs).

Perhaps you are tired of the question of the surname and family relationship with Garry Kasparov?

I am often asked this question, but my father said that there is no direct evidence of kinship. On my father’s side, my great-grandfathers had the surname Ter-Gasparyan. But the father does not deny that perhaps there is some kind of relationship.

Where are your Armenian roots from?

My paternal grandfather was pure Armenian. His name was Levon Tevatrosovich Kasparov. He passed away when I was 9 years old and I remember him very well. My father told me a lot about his family and our roots. So, according to my father, my great-great-grandfather Alexander Ter-Gasparyan, originally from Artsakh (Karabakh), was of princely origin and lived 107 years and was killed by the members of Basmachi movement [a group which undertook a protracted uprising against Russian Imperial and Soviet rule by the Muslim peoples of Central Asia – A. B.]. At one point he lived in Tashkent and was one of the richest people in the city. During the revolution, he sent two wagons of grain to Petersburg, for which he received some kind of high letter of thanks. Black and white photographs of my then-young grandfather Levon, his brother Raphael, aunt Anush and her two sons have been preserved.

The famous Russian actor Dmitry Kharatian, like you, a quarter Armenian, once said that he has a sultry Armenian temperament that affects his acting. Can we say the same about you?

Of course! In the theater they say that in a second I can go to my maximum temper, and for many people it is a mystery: how do I do this?

Have you ever collaborated with artists in Armenia?

Unfortunately not. But the best, faithful and reliable friends of mine are the Armenians!!! When I lived with my parents, our neighbors were a large Armenian family. This was an example of family communication. They always asked about our health and wished a good day. And they treated me when I met them in the city center, where they sold delicious snacks and drinks.

Have you ever played Armenian heroes?

I think Hamlet is almost an Armenian role! I do not mean only his name, so popular in Armenia (laughs), but of course, on the plot about his father, the temperament of the hero. I also acted in a play by William Saroyan. The performance was called “The Time of Your Life.” I got crazy pleasure from this play!

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