Alexander Felixovich Topuriya appeared in this world May 15, 1970 in the Pirogov Maternity Ward.
He dreamed of becoming a microbiologist until the age of 16 1/2. However, he did nothing to make this dream come true. Instead, giving in to some jerk?s provocation, and possessing the ability to dissemble, he passed the entrance exams at two theater institutes — the Shchepkin Institute and the Moscow Art Theater School. In two years at the Shchepkin he mastered the following:
1. Forward flip.
2. Back arch.
3. Vodka drinking (an elective).
4. Shedding stage tears (for a bottle of cognac).
5. Ten or twelve inferiority complexes.
6. A couple of young actresses from his class (who took pity on him).
In June 1989 at the foot of the main stairwell in the foyer of the Maly Theater he put the following question to his class master, the People?s Artist of the USSR Yury Solomin: Why are you kicking me out of the institute? He replied, You, Topuriya, have done nothing but waste your time getting involved in intrigues and playing hooky. You guys (he had in mind a couple of my scumbag comrades, too) thought it more important to be THERE than here! And, for some reason, he pointed in the direction of the Arsenal Tower of the Kremlin.
I was hurt. I think I may even have shed a tear. And through that tear I saw that in the course of our conversation the relatively short Yury Mefodievich had inconspicuously raised up two steps on the stairs although when we began talking he had been on his way down?
And so I left for Georgia. To finish my education, so to speak. In the marvelous Shota Rustaveli Theater Institute. But that?s not the main thing. There in Georgia EVERYTHING happened! About that I?ll say nothing. It?s a story in itself. My magical southern exile!
I returned to Moscow in 1991 with a diploma printed in two languages. I spent a month twiddling my thumbs and spitting at the ceiling. Narrowly escaped getting married. And then, at the insistence of my parents and under the patronage of a high-placed person at the Theater Union, I joined the troupe of Boris Alexandrovich Lvov-Anokhin?s Moscow Novy Drama Theater.
My first rehearsal took place August 19. There was some sort of a putsch going on. Tanks were all over the place. And there we were, reading parts from Christopher Hamilton?s Les Liaisons dangereuses, after the novel by Choderlos de Laclos. I had been handed the role of Danseny (played by Keanu Reeves in the American film). This determined my future — Frenchmen and occasionally Italians. In my 14 years in the Russian theater the only time I ever played a Russian was when I played the wolf in Grigory Oster?s children?s play Tufts in Corners.
Boris Lvov-Anokhin was a sophisticated, urbane artist. I thank him for his patience and faith. Here is what I played in his productions:
Danceny in Les Liaisons dangereuses.
Pascuale in The Aspern Papers, after Henry James.
Lieutenant Rocca in Ferdinand Bruckner?s The Whims of Madame de Stael.
King Francois I in Eugene Scribe?s The Novellas of Margaret of Navarre.
In the spring of 2000 Lvov-Anokhin took the unconsidered step of passing on from this life. In fact, over the last 15 years, a damn good theater company has come together on the OTHER SIDE.
At the Novy Drama Theater I must have played about 20 Frenchman? I mean, roles. I even staged one show, Sinbad the Sailor. Thanks to the theater for all of that.
My favorite role was as King Francis I.
My favorite partners were Oksana Mysina, Dima Pisarenko, Dima Shilyayev, Misha Kalinichev, Spartak Vasilyevich Mishulin.
My favorite make-up artists were Olya Moroz and Marina Loevskaya.
My favorite (and now former) dressing room was No. 59. They?re still pouring there drinks there?
I?ve made a few films. Shall I count them? Why bother? Quantity can?t help the quality. I?ve worked a lot in television. I?ve been a correspondent and a presenter. I even studied with Dmitry A. Dibrov. TV can be damn fun, especially on pay day!
I began writing film scripts in the fall of 2005 and people are even making films of them! Knock on wood! I hope they come out well. When the films are released, I?ll ?fess up to them. The fact of the matter is that I have always written. And I?ve quit drinking.
What else? I very much would like to thank Martin Scorcese for fascinating me with his view of the world for 25 years now. I would like to thank Mickey Rourke and Garry Oldman being such divine f***ups! And Charles Bukowski for the same thing.
And Oksana Mysina for not letting me forget my first profession!
THE THEATER ADDS: Sasha Topuriya does a brilliant job of playing the role of Creon in Viktor Korkiya?s Ariston.