Theatre Review April
A Person from La Mancha
The Russian Army Theater
This legendary Broadway musical based on Cervantes’ book was staged as a benefit performance of Vladimir Zeldin, an even more legendary Russian actor who turned 95 this February. This show still manages to pull in a full house years after opening, in 2004, mainly because of the talent and enthusiasm of the leading actor.
The plot is familiar to everyone from their school days. However the performance is nonetheless full of exciting moments and unexpected turns. It is indeed unbelievable to watch a 95-year old Zeldin immaculately singing: “This is me, Don Quiote, a person from La Mancha”, and dancing along the way. Most of the younger actors cannot really keep up with him. Even though there is a big cast, it is definitely the leading actor that holds the entire show together. So unless you are a big fan of Vladimir Zeldin or you would like to see superb acting at the age of 95 it is probably not a good idea to attend this performance.
April 11th, 6pm
The Russian Army Theatre
Suvorovskaya Square 2
The Breath of Life
Chekhov Moscow Art Theater
The Breath of Life is was written by a famous British dramatist, David Hare , who was a screenplay writer for such movies as The Reader, Plenty and Strapless. The Breath of Life was earlier staged in London with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith as main actresses. Alla Pokrovskaya and Natalia Teniakova star in the Chekhov Moscow Art Theater production.
Photo by Ekaterina Tsvetkova
The Breath of Life covers less than a twenty-four hour period, and there are only two characters that appear on stage. Madeleine Palmer lives on the Isle of Wight, and Frances Beale has come to visit her. They are both in their sixties. The two women talk about their lives, specifically as defined by and around one man called Martin who was married to Frances and had an affair with Madeleine. Then he moved to the USA to live with a new woman. This two hour long dialogue cannot leave anyone indifferent. During the performance one could easily forget that the play was actually written by a man, so well was the writer able to grasp the essence of a woman’s soul.
It is impossible not to mention the superb acting of the two Russian actresses.
The performance is staged on the Small Stage of Moscow Art Theater which makes it possible to establish a strong emotional connection with the audience since the action takes place right in front of you. Throughout the performance the audience is kept in real tension, catching every single word of this conversation of a life time. If you would like an evening of good modern British dramaturgy and outstanding Russian acting, this is the performance to see.
April 6th, 17th
Chekhov Moscow Art Theatre
Kamergerski per., 3
Barefoot in the Park
The Pushkin Drama Theater
This, is the most recent opening at the Pushkin Theatre, is based on Neil Simon’s famous play. This is a story of newly married couple who are trying to organize their new life. They are young and full of energy, not bound by any prejudices and are ready to do things for the sake of love, such as running barefoot in the Central Park, New York. This play is one of the most popular comedies in theaters around the world; however it is the first production in Moscow for the past ten years.
The director of this play, Evgeny Pisarev, is a well-known in Moscow theatre circles for
staging financially successful productions. He is also the recipient of the Seagull Theatre and Chrystal Turandot Theatre Awards. In one of his interviews he mentioned that he wanted to create a star performance rather than a performance with star actors. His directing approach has always been about the performance as a whole rather than an individual actor. “The key is to create the ensemble on the stage where everyone is equal”, says the director.
April 3rd, 11th, 17th, 25th
The Pushkin Drama Theatre
Tverskoi Blvd., 23