#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. On the day of the double premiere, February 27, 1987, and until the end of the 46th season, there were no empty seats in the auditorium of the new theater. The Norilsk residents went to new performances and to see new interiors. And the play Special Role, written by the former Norilsk TV journalist Victor Levashov for the opening, was about Norilsk and the Norilsk people of the Zavenyagin period.
The playwright believed that he was lucky in time. Talking about the three Zavenyagin’s years in Norilsk, he did not have to dodge. In 1987, according to Levashov, the Stalinist camp appeared for the first time in the history of the Soviet theater:
“Although there was no full freedom of speech, censorship turned out to be completely disoriented, not knowing what was allowed and what was not. We took a chance: insolently brought real convicts onto the stage – in tattered earflaps, in clothes with numbers. And it worked. It worked!”
Decades later, in the play and performance, much seems naive, but not Yury Tsurilo in the role of the head of the Norilsk construction Avraamy Zavenyagin. It is known that the new chief director Anatoly Koshelev preferred the little-known theater actor who came with him to the star of the Norilsk stage, Yury Greben. Tsurilo had a striking resemblance to the legendary head of the Norilsk combine. And for those who saw him in this role, it was difficult to imagine another Zavenyagin. By the way, Zavenyagin’s wife, son and daughter, who helped the playwright with materials, admitted that his play brought them the joy of recognition, the joy of meeting the person who was Avraamy Pavlovich.
The play Special Role was on the new Norilsk stage for three more seasons.
Read other materials of the photo project in the History spot section.
Text: Varvara Sosnovskaya, Photo: Nornickel Polar division archive