MXAT held out long enough. Maybe, paradoxically, because it was declared untouchable and, in that respect, preserved. Since the main thing in the theatre’s founders lives didn’t gradually fall apart, conservation had something to save. And therefore, the marks of the “old culture” are etched into the memory of people from my generation.
Sure, they’re external, but they hinted at MXAT's internal life. I remember one old usher, who bore a strong resemblance to Firs (already leaving for retirement, he always came to review performances), and the thought of addressing a different old man: Nemirovich-Danchenko, who at 80 years old could brilliantly stage “Three Sisters.”
The old culture held out in the end, thanks to incredible people – their mental longevity, their ability to work without shouting or aggression, and their daily resistance against everything chaotic and uncultured.