Dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov shows off his acting chops in Man in a Case, adapted from two Anton Chekhov stories, at ArtsEmerson Feb. 25-March 2.
I still occasionally go on stage and dance, but my energy right now [is] in the theater projects because I always loved theater.… I grew up watching a lot of Russian theater.… It’s not that apart. It’s something about body language. It’s about honesty.
[Laughs.] It’s always to be good, and deliver the right materials in the right way, and give it justice to the author of the piece…and what the director wants you to convey, and to have a team spirit.… You cannot just choose one.
Yes. Well, they’re both stories about love, about involvement, about finding themselves in a storm of emotions.… Both stories [are] about love and discovering the feeling. It’s very different, and yet there are similarities. We’re all falling in the same traps sometimes, and the heroes of those Chekhov stories are in the same way. And that’s why, you know, stories written at the end of 19th century resonate right now like they were written two weeks ago.
A little bit, there’s movement. You know, I wouldn’t call it big dancing. There’s an element of theatrical dance of course, but don’t expect for me to dance!
Well, my running of [the] center in New York, that’s my full-time job. I’m artistic director and a board member, and here I’m an actor and producer of the project and co-producer in some instances. But I like to be involved in the other side of the coin, being involved in all creative aspects. Of course I’m not a director in this particular instance.… But I like to develop the projects from ground zero