In the photo, Svetlana Shchedrina, Pierre Richard and Nicolas Duvauchel. Photo: from the personal archive of Svetlana Shchedrina.
On December 14, the play “The Light of Heaven” by director Andrzej Buben will premiere at the “On Strastnom” Theater Center. The play by British playwright David Hare stars Igor Sklyar and Svetlana Shchedrina. This play had never before been performed in Russia. Classic love story: former lovers, she is a school teacher, he is a successful restaurateur, they meet again many years after breaking up to talk again about what prevented her happiness. Or, as the hero of a famous comedy would say, “understand and forgive” each other. Female audiences are usually enchanted by such sentimental stories.
On the eve of the premiere we met with Svetlana Shchedrina, who says that she has met women like Kira Hollis in her life. She found it easy to work with People’s Artist of Russia Igor Sklyar, although they sometimes argued during rehearsals. But still the relationship is wonderful.
“I am an optimist and I am grateful for the gifts of fate that have happened to me in life,” says Svetlana Shchedrina. – I was lucky with the directors, with the partners, but I know what it’s like to sit without working, when they don’t invite you not only to the filming, but even to the auditions. The destiny of an artist is changeable. As the years have passed, I have become calmer about it than in my youth. I used to have difficult times when downtime arose, I stopped believing in myself, doubted whether I had taken the right path and decided to become an artist, although I made this decision at 13 years old. And I had a plan in case I didn’t get into theater the first time I studied at university, because the competition there is huge. But luck smiled on me: after school I entered the Academy of Theater Arts in St. Petersburg to take a course with the People’s Artist of Russia Sergei Parshin. Luck and chance play a very important role in the life of an actor.
– It is a sin that you complain. Not everyone has the opportunity to work with artists like Pierre Richard. European star. She starred with him in the film “The Rabbit’s Foot” directed by Nana Dzhoradze…
– Without a doubt, this is luck and good fortune. This film starred not only Pierre Richard, but also another famous French actor, Nicolas Duvauchelle. Richard played Grandpa Nicolas, whose character fell in love with a Russian girl, Alya, played by me. He is a French architect, she is an artist. Her love is mutual. But the fact that they are people from different worlds sometimes puts insurmountable barriers between them.
– As I understand it, what many of your heroines have in common (both Ali and Kira Hollis from the play “Light from the Sky”) is that happiness was so possible, so close… But circumstances got in the way path.
– Yes, both heroines make difficult decisions at a certain moment. The filming of “Rabbit’s Foot” was very interesting. The film was shot in 2018, when it was still possible to film the French part of our story abroad. We shot it in Belgium, in the small town of Beulle, south of Brussels, where the Chateau de Beulle is located. I had to perform some scenes in French, which I learned for the role. Pierre Richard was very kind to me. He went over the text with me, which was not easy for me, as many times as necessary. I felt enormous human and professional support. He is a wonderful partner, very honest in his profession. This is a rarity. I never made concessions, I didn’t make exceptions. There wasn’t a single take where he allowed himself to relax, even if the camera was filming a close-up of another actor at the time. Fantastic example!
Scene from the play “The Light of Heaven”: Svetlana Shchedrina and Igor Sklyar. Photo: Roman Reshetnikov.
After filming, we went to a restaurant, where we had dinner at a large table and talked warmly. Pierre Richard loves Russia. He said that he has three favorite cities: Paris, Prague and St. Petersburg. It seems to me that he is very different from his heroes, whom we love so much in his performance. He is a thoughtful, very deep and complex person. Although of course he is the life of the party, with an incredible sense of humor, he told us many different stories and made us all laugh.
On the last day of filming he gave us a beautiful dinner. Vineyards grow in that area and Pierre Richard, as you know, is dedicated to making wine. He presented us with wine that is grown in this region and gave each of us a bottle in which he left his autograph. I drank the wine a long time ago, but I keep the empty bottle with Pierre Richard’s warm wishes as a souvenir.
– For many years she stars in the television series “The Secrets of the Investigation”, where she plays Olga Tsvetkova, an investigator for the prosecutor’s office. It is true that she unexpectedly disappeared from the series for several seasons. And recently they appeared again. Why did you leave the popular project?
– When I started acting in “Secrets of Investigation”, I was still in my third year of theater institute. It was all so interesting to me! This was practically my first experience in the cinema. A wonderful team, a wonderful script, a group, I really loved all of this. But our series is long-lasting and there have been many changes. At some point, the new producers were left with just the three main characters and changed the concept for a while. There was such an experiment. But soon the need arose to bring back our favorite characters and we all met again on the set. I think this was beneficial for me personally, because at some point I felt like I had outgrown my character a bit. And after a pause it returned with a slightly new capacity.
– This project has been filmed for so many years, the artists are probably tired of each other?…
– Quite the opposite. The success of this project is based on the almost family and very sincere atmosphere that developed on the set. We have a very strong team. The star of the series is, of course, Anna Kovalchuk, who in real life is a very warm and understanding person and a wonderful actress. We are friends of her. That is why I continue working on “Research Secrets”. And I am waiting for the release of the film “Fulcrum” directed by Alexandra Andreeva, in which I starred this year.