By Andrew Gans
21 Jun 2014
Here, via email, we hear from "Chicago Fire" star Yuri Sardarov, who can currently be seen in Jean Anouilh's Becket, the 1961 Tony Award winner for Best Play, at the East Village’s Gene Frankel Theatre.
What show recently impressed you?
I saw the sirs [Ian] McKellen and [Patrick] Stewart do Godot a few months back. I've never witnessed a more technically proficient performance in my life. Their voices resonated so effortlessly. [Stephen] Colbert was sitting in front of me, the back of his head seemed as mesmerized as I was. When the Tony nominations were revealed, I was amazed that they'd received exactly zero of them. There's something to be said about taking such subtle, existential dread and making it so painfully hysterical. It takes a special sort of nihilist.
What production are you most excited to see?
I'm currently struggling to find sensibly priced tickets to Branagh's Macbeth. I just can't get over the fact that this is his New York debut. Get out of here! He's Kenneth Branagh. The closest living embodiment of Shakespeare himself. If only someone had an extra... Can I post my number in this thing?
Around the time we decided on our current show, we had kicked around the idea of doing True West. Switching roles. The whole shebang. Whatever the next piece is, I know I'll have a good reason to take part. It would have to be a Shepard or Samuel Beckett. Or Pinter. Or Mamet. God, I don't know. I'm terrible at picking things like this; I've simply been lucky enough to surround myself with more level-headed friends. And, there's really nothing like working with them. The brunt of us graduated from the University of Michigan, and we just couldn't get rid of each other. There's an innate sense of joy that comes from knowing our latent chemistry is always available when we decide to take up a project.
What are your current/upcoming projects?
Becket (no relation to Samuel) by Jean Anouilh. The true(ish) story of the relationship and eventual fallout of King Henry II and and his trusted confidant, Thomas Becket. It's such a beautiful, heartbreaking tale. And, it's never been done the way we're presenting it. I know everyone says that, but we took the time to check. Dramaturgically, this is a minted original. Instead of 30 actors, we have 8. And, aside from Pomme Koch and I playing Henry and Becket, people are zipping on and off, changing costumes and characters seamlessly and poignantly. We've taken a four-act historical epic and have transformed it, all pieces intact, into a more direct and accessible tale about friendship.
This has been a coming home for me to the stage. It's where I was reared, and after a few years of working on camera, I can't express how excited and terrified I am to be back. As Becket states early on in the play, "One must gamble with one's life to feel alive."