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Theater Review March
Marina Lukanina

In theatre circles March is definitely associated with the Golden Mask Theater Festival that takes place every year in Moscow. The Festival was established in 1994 by the Council of Theater Professionals (Союз Театральных Деятелей) and makes professional awards in theatre arts (drama, opera, ballet, operetta/musical, puppet theater). The winners are selected during the Festival where the nominee performances are shown.

This year the Festival will be held from March 27th (International Theatre Day) till April 15th. Passport would like to introduce two plays that are part of the Main Festival Program and one that is part of Mask Plus Program (out-of-competition program).

“The Shore of Women” The Vakhtangov Theater

This is an original performance for the Vakhtangov Theater repertoire as it is a musical dancing performance rather than a drama. The Lithuanian choreographer Angelica Kholina decided to explore the theme of war through dance and music. This is the story of women of different nations who are forced to run away from violence and destruction caused by war. While the men turned into warriors, women found themselves in the unknown land at a cafe waiting to be saved and to find a new place to live. Each of them tells her story accompanied by the songs of Marlene Dietrich.

This is a very schematic performance – one dance is

March 27th
The Vakhtangov Theater
Arbat str. 26
(499) 241–16–79  

followed by another. Marlene Dietrich sings in German, English, French, and Hebrew. This aspect vividly emphasizes the different nationalities of the main heroes. The performance shows several hours of women’s lives that are sometimes tragic, anxious or disturbed.

The performance lasts one hour and 30 minutes without an intermission. Half of the actors are recent graduates of the Shukin Theater School.

“The Oldest Son” The Tabakov’s Theater

This performance has been nominated for the Best Director (Konstantin Bogomolov), Best Male Role (Yuri Chursin) and Best Small Scale Production Golden Mask Awards.

The performance is based on a famous play by Alexander Vampilov. Two guys find themselves in the middle of a provincial town without a place to stay overnight. They knock at the very first house on their way and one of the guys pretends to be a son of the person who lives in that house.

Young actors of the theatre play in this performance so it makes it harder for them to act out the atmosphere of the sixties of 20th century

March 8, 15, 31
Tabakov’s Theater, 1A Chaplygina Str.
Tel: +7 (495) 628–96–85

when the action takes places. However, they are doing a wonderful job! Various supporting details such as radio broadcasts of Leonid Brezhnev’s speeches, the song “Bella, Ciao” by Muslim Magomaev strengthen the atmosphere of those days and make the audience nostalgic. The play clearly shows that even if a person did not find personal fulfilment in work and did not build an impressive career, he can still be happy if he has someone to care about.

“Producers” Et Cetera Theater

This performance has been nominated for Best Musical/Operetta, Best Director, Best Female Role, and Best Male Role Golden Mask Awards.

This comedy about two adventurers who decided to swing a shady deal with staging the performance “Spring for Hitler” immediately became very popular. In 1968 Mel Brooks, an American actor made his debut movie called “Spring for Hitler”. Thirty years

March 4,5,6,7,8, 26,27,28
Et Cetera Theater
Frolov per. 2
(495) 625-2161  

later this movie was staged on Broadway. After New York the musical was staged in London, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Mexico, etc. and finally in Moscow.

The key success factor of the Moscow production is the fact that special copyright was obtained from the Broadway production as well as the permission to adapt the musical for the Russian audience. The cast is very well-chosen: one of the main male roles is played by a famous singer Maxim Leonidov. He gives a very funny performance that is definitely great for a week-end treat!

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