Yury and I met this summer while attending Volcano Theatre’s Conservatory. It was a crazy, lovely, relaxing and frustrating time that I am so thankful for. It really was this perfect little escape within the city this summer. I just got off three back-to-back shows and it was so refreshing just to go into a studio and be able to play (even if all of the offered training didn’t necessarily agree with me) without any expectations.
It was in this atmosphere that Yury and I met. There’s something so valuable about devoting all of your time and energy to study. It allows your mind freedom, lightness, and distances you enough to make connections with what you are learning to what your life has taught you up to that point. So of course, existing in this productive mental landscape, the people you meet become all that more interesting. Yury and I (and some other friends) bonded over diner food and beer between classes while dissecting exactly what it is about this live performance thing we like, we agree with, and what we disagree with. It is intellectual rigour at its best.
I’ve heard so much about this cabaret. Yury was quite exciting to watch in the studio. I can only imagine what it’s like to see him under the lights and in the costumes.
So, without further ado, I present dossier #26:
Who are we talking to?
I am a circus monkey. An actor, clown, performer, dancer, director, producer… it’s a lot really, but I love doing it all. Going from one extreme to another, whether with jobs or roles or lovers. Its great to play a mafia tough killer guy or Puck from Mid Summer Night’s Dream during a day and then run to the show to be Liza and Tina for the night. Trained theatre actor, with MBA in marketing. I lived in Bulgaria, Russia, and New York and worked all kinds of jobs from a Go-go dancer and McDonalds team leader to an Executive Director of international travel company…
…oh, you mean? I am Yury Ruzhyev.
What gets you going in the morning?
The fact that I don’t need to do anything, or to be anything till 4 p.m. as I can’t function in the mornings well. On the other hand, a 5 a.m. wake up call and the whole day of filming in front of me will get me going like crazy… but it’s coffee really.
What is your earliest memory of realizing, yep, this is what I’m going to do with my life?
When a was a kid I often played theatre, had curtains up on ropes across the room, changing area, and tons of different changes of clothes, I would have to put on, perform something and run off to change into something new… Look at me now, my show is a lot about quick costume changes, and performing. Weird. I never liked to perform for anyone when I was a child, I was always by my own. But now I can’t live without the live audience. Filming pictures and tv shows excite me a lot, but still not as greatly as the live performance.
But I never wanted to be an actor. Freight train driver was my first and longest dream job as a kid. I still dream to get a train car, turn it in to a traveling home and go all around Canada.
What draws you to live performance? What is attractive about it to you?
The fright, the thrills, the moment of happening and other silly things like dressing room lights, stage wings, curtains. It’s the need to be loved right then and there and the risk that it might not happen.
Basically, I’m asking why you do what you do? Why not another art form?
There are other art forms? Theatre is my next favorite one (although, much of it is dated, dull, and boring, but I take it as a challenge), movies are fun especially if the direction and art is at place. But talking to people from stage is above all, for me, anyway.
Why VIVA CABARET?
The name you mean? Or the genre? The name is the third option and it’s been a road of suffering, for I am horrible with names (my theatre company is called Hooligan Productions, for example). It was Cabaret Show at first, then Yury’s Cabaret and after my trip to Las Vegas, where I got inspired and named it Viva Cabaret, like a tribute to the genre. As for the genre – it’s live theatre, performance, dance, and comedy show. I pay tribute to old time divas, their hits, their lives… and I think it’s important once in a while to get away from your computer or a phone and get into a bar, have a drink, watch a show – face the real life. As in that song (which inspired me a lot):
“What good is sitting alone in your room?
Come hear the music play.
Life is a Cabaret, old chum,
Come to the Cabaret.”
Aside from the 35 Divas you’ll be portraying onstage (!), I’ve heard you’ve got quite a following. Any leads as to who will be in the audience?
It’s amazing how these talented and well known people are so supportive of me. I am very honored and extremely happy they want to come to see me perform. But I don’t want to name anyone, as they are my audience and friends, and they are coming to have fun and be gay /as in happy/. Come to the show and find out.
Do you have a favorite memory from a past, or present, VIVA CABARET?
There are so many, I even wanted to have a show where I would talk about things that happened in the fun, the ugly and the magical. I’d say it’s the difficulties and the impossibles that makes this Cabaret journey unforgettable.
Describe VIVA CABARET in three adjectives, a phrase, or with sound.
It’s anything you want it to be for it’s Cabaret and everything is possible. The sound of mother’s steps coming home, the smell from your childhood that brings the warmth all over you… anything that makes you happy or silly. It’s the place and time when you can fall in love, get inspired, have fun, drink till you are on a pirate’s ship on a sailor’s arms who stole you and broke your heart… come to the Cabaret and live your dream.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share? Photos, videos, links, posters, stories, wishes?
It’s crazy how we can be so available and exposed and still be so incredibly closed and lonely. Here are the links:
my website: http://rushow.ru/
my blog (lots of naked pics): http://ruzhyev.tumblr.com/
my twitter: https://twitter.com/Viva_Cabaret
Video blog and show teaser: https://vimeo.com/user23196121
Thought’s blog: http://maxime-rocsh.blogspot.ca/
I wanted to mention that next year my theatre company Hooligan Productions presents KOMUNKA the play. 12 hours in a kitchen of a communal apartment in Moscow, during the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, 2014 with four families, six tenants living in four rooms, and something in a box. Collective work based on the idea, characters, conflicts and dialogs outlines created by Yury Ruzhyev, directed by Sky Gilbert, devised and written together with actors.
The final version of the play will be produced during Summer, 2014 and workshop is scheduled for February 18-21, 2014 during and with live broadcast of Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.