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May Theatre Review
Marina Lukanina

The Tabakov Theater

This recently opened production of Gogol’s famous play is now being performed on the stage of one of the Moscow’s well-known “basement” theatres, venues which have recently become popular places to view Gogol’s masterpieces. This particular production stands out from the crowd because of its dynamism, its interesting cast (the role of a matchmaker is played by a young talented actress Luiza Khusnutdinova) and almost no set design. Attention is solely

May 12, 18, 28
Tabakov’s Theater
1A Chaplygina Str.
Tel: +7 (495) 628–96–85

focused on the actors. One should highlight the superb acting of Mikhail Khomyakov who makes the hero Yaivhnitsa very true to life and perhaps even more grotesque than in the original play. This classic play, which most Russians know from their school days, has been produced using various interesting techniques – there are moments when you feel you are watching TV rather than a theatre production when the director wants to create the impression of the passage of time. This is a very suitable performance for a family outing, especially taking into account that this play is part of the mandatory program of the Russian Literature course at any Russian school.

“The Hen Club (Devichnik)”
The Pushkin Theater

Despite a negative press, I still decided to go and see this play because of the three leading actresses and because it is directed by Roman Kozak. The plot is based on Ivan Menchel’s story “The Cemetery Club” – three widows organize a “hen club” after their husbands die and regularly visit the graves of their husbands together. All of a sudden however, one of widows decided to start a new life and remarry. This did not please the other two wives very much…

If you are like me and want to see and enjoy the acting of Vera Alentova, Maria Aronova and Larisa Golubkina, you will most likely appreciate this performance. The play itself is at times rather weak and you almost want to press a button and “speed it up”. The second act definitely beats the first in this respect. The performance is full of “black humour” so if this doesn’t appeal, stay away.

May 2, 19
The Pushkin Drama Theatre
Tverskoi Blvd., 23
(495) 694-1289
(495) 650-1896

“Five evenings”
The Sovremennik Theater

A famous play by the modern drama play writer Alexander Volodin is back at the Sovremennik. It was originally staged by Oleg Efreemov (Sovremennik’s founder) and Galina Volchek (current artistic director) back in 1959.

This is the story about a meeting after a 17-year separation of two people in love – Alexander Ilyn (played by Sergei Garmash) and Tamara (played by Elena Yakovleva). They were separated during the war and they have only five evenings to find a way back to each other. Both actors show their superb talent and skill in making the audience believe this story indeed happened to them. Alexander Ogarev directed this wellknown play by emphasizing the tragedy of each separate person rather than the overall tragedy of people who lived through the war. The leading idea of the performance is that it is important to live the present to the full without looking back and wondering why things did not go the way we wanted them. The finale suggests that it is never too late to start again.

It is worth mentioning the very creative set design for this production – a wide space up to the wall. The backstage is fully open and in the upper right corner there is a light on in one window which vaguely symbolizes hope.

May 9, 17
Sovremennik Theater
19A Chistoprudny Boulevar
Tel: +7 (495) 628 – 7749

Attributes of a typical Leningrad street complete the picture – a street lamp, a fire ladder covered with snow and huge gates. Tamara’s apartment recreates the style and atmosphere of a Leningrad apartment back in the fifties.

I wish I hadn’t read the play before coming to see it. It is indeed a great play and it would have been a “double joy” to discover it on stage rather than through reading.

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