Special Prize for The Outstanding Achievement In The Career Of Acting and Devotion To The Principles of K. Stanislavsky's school went to Russian actress MARINA NEYOLOVA
The gift of many great actors was brought to light against all odds. This was the case with Marina Neyolova, and not because the young actress from Leningrad started collaborating with “Sovremennik” theatre, the symbol of which she would come to be, quite by chance, as a substitute for another actress. Hers was a different story. The starlet didn’t have much chance to break out the limits of her typecast. The Soviet “New Wave” was replaced by the busy 70’s, which shifted the focus from impressionism to social issues. Thus, the actresses who shined during the Thaw now had to switch to the roles of fairy-tale princesses and Mark Twain’s, Jules Verne’s, or Andersen’s characters (Neyolova debuted in cinema in 1970, in “A Very Old Story” by Nadezhda Kosheverova).
But then fate itself interfered, impersonated by Ilya Averbakh, who came up with a way to fit a princess in the Soviet reality of “high morals in a business environment”. In the case of his “Monologue”, it was through depicting the relationship of a renowned scientist and his granddaughter. This combination required outworldliness and vulnerability of the female characters. Perhaps these qualities could be attributed to the actress herself – Faina Ranevskaya, for example, remarked upon her “heartfelt defenselessness”. Now Marina Neyolova played characters whose outer and inner beauty was underestimated by the world, and more often than not, their partners as well. Some of them put up with it, like Stesha in Rodion Nakhapetov’s “With You and Without You” – while others took revenge, like Valentina in “Speech for Defence” by Vadim Abdrashitov. But either way, they were always defending themselves, and not attacking. Rumour has it, after Georgiy Daneliya’s “Autumn Marathon” Marina Neyolova received thousands of letters all sharing the same line: “How did you manage to describe my life so accurately?”
Brilliant at impersonating different characters (ambivalent Bashmachkin in the recent adaptation of Gogol’s “The Overcoat” is a perfect proof), Marina Neyolova stayed true to her type in “The Cherry Orchard”: her Ranevskaya is vulnerable – and her inner beauty makes this vulnerability especially moving.