-- my plays.
2007 - 2008 -
Что в имени тебе моем?
WRITE : nonfiction
Russian Plays in English:
Disformomania, Sorokin, transl.
3 Sisters, Chekhov, transl/adaptation
Inspector General, Gogol, transl/adaptation
The Bear by Chekhov, Love by Petrushevskaya, Marriage by Gogol, 20 min w/angel by Vampilov (see my resume or CV).
The Possessed 2003
For my heart trembles more - whenever I thinkThis directory is new and was born, because I am using WRITE directory for my Russian play(s). Webmaster in me panics, when the writer-in-me messing up the webpages. Well, I hope the (new) flash banners can help: just click on plays.vtheatre.net -- and you will get to the new plays directory (I'll call it "PLAYS II")...
of her being where someone else's eyes could see her-
for fear lest my thought shine out and be discovered,
than I tremble for death, which is already
eating, with the teeth of Love, all my senses...
Получается не одна, а две пьесы -- Речной Вокзал (Русская Пьеса, или даже "Московская" и Весенние Каникулы (в Америке, Отец и Сын мешают языки - теперь Сын из первой части -- Отец). Обе в двух действиях.
projects: antohins 100 years
in focus: mini-chekhov
reading: Godot Beckett
@2002 geoAlaska * NEXT: CALIGARI 2008 *
Get Site Info stagematrix.com
------------------------------- Pre-publication version of an article to be published in the Moscow Times June 14, 2002. Any and all quotations of, or references to, this article must cite John Freedman. (c) 2002 John Freedman. The final version will be available with accompanying photo on Friday in the Metropolis section at www.themoscowtimes.com or www.tmtmetropolis.ru ------------------------------- By John Freedman Even after the New Drama festival ended ten days ago, its activities continued on. There were readings and discussions and meetings with writers, all intended to help us better understand what is happening with contemporary Russian drama today. And although the focus naturally was on Russian writers, it was the presence of a young playwright from Georgia who seemed to tie up the loose ends of the debate. It sounds like an innocent enough problem -- so, what are playwrights up to? -- but there is nothing simple about it. Lines are drawn, territories are staked out, clans are at battle readiness, reputations are made and broken. The shock waves from all of this go out around the globe. London's Royal Court Theater, through the British Council, has been active in promoting locally their specific, sociological, approach to the writing of new plays. Russian playwrights are increasingly in demand in the United States -- the Iowa Writers Program now includes Russian dramatists regularly in their annual workshops; the Lark Theater in New York is developing a program involving Russian writers. Meanwhile, some observers scoff at the notion that anything of interest is actually taking place. Following the Russian Case program of the Golden Mask festival in April, several foreign observers echoed local skeptics, complaining that Russian drama seemed old-fashioned and insignificant. I'll show my cards immediately. I am not only an observer of this process, but a participant. I have translated contemporary plays and I often have spoken out in support of the notion that Russian drama is alive and well. Perhaps I have been proven right by the fact that I now see as much to criticize as to praise in new writing for the stage. That must say something about variety and depth. This curious turn of events was brought home to me by the New Drama festival and its aftermath. Several distinct tendencies have emerged in the last few years, all of which were represented in the festival. There are the strictly commercial writers, churning out titillating bedroom farces, such as Nadezhda Ptushkina's "I Pay in Advance," or pop-oriented fluff such as "Radio Day," written by Leonid Barats, Sergei Petreikov and Rostislav Khait. There are what I call the poet playwrights, creating unique, individual worlds that often challenge audiences as much as please them. In this group I would include Olga Mukhina's "YoU," Klim's "The Active Side of Endlessness," Oleg Shishkin's "Anna Karenina - 2," and, perhaps, Mikhail Ugarov's "Oblom Off," which deservingly was named the festival's best play. And there are what we can call the sentimentalists. These are the writers who, after Yevgeny Grishkovets, the popular, self-proclaimed "new sentimentalist," are concerned with the little things in life, the foibles and the endearing eccentricities that make humans human. In this line, the festival brought us a single production combining three Grishkovets plays into one -- "Simultaneously," "The Notes of a Russian Traveler" and "Winter," all under the title of "Simultaneously" -- and a so-called verbatim, or documentary play called "Coal Basin," created by the Lozha Theater of Kemerovo on the basis of interviews with Kuzbass coal miners. The increasing visibility of this type of play -- I'm not yet certain whether we can use the word "popularity" in regards to any of the writers besides Grishkovets -- became even more evident as events continued to unfold after the festival's closing. A reading of Rodion Beletsky's play called "The Conversation that Never Was" and last week's premiere at the Playwright and Director Center of a new play by Mikhail Pokrass called "About What Is Not Said" both employed the now familiar style in which the main device is to observe the known and the main purpose is to encourage spectators to recognize themselves and their habits in the actions of the characters. The play by Pokrass -- not a participant in the festival -- presents a series of scenes focusing on a young woman who is misunderstood by her mother and her boyfriend. It reminds us of our awkward youth and makes us feel good either because we survived those awful days or because we are not alone in having suffered them. Beletsky's play appears more ambitious, but that is only on the surface. It offers an imagined conversation, after death by drug overdose, of two friends. But, as in "About What Is Not Said," the point here is merely to activate warm feelings of sentiment about friendship lost. The topics of death and despair -- we are talking about drug addicts here -- are buried in a saccharine series of conversations implying that life can be good even when it's bad. The Lozha Theater's production of "Coal Basin" was similar. It takes the potentially hard, gritty topic of people who live and die underground and reduces it to a couple of mildly humorous anecdotes about a man missing his wedding because he got drunk and a father who got drunk and thought his wife left him when she didn't. This appears to be the legacy of the impact Yevgeny Grishkovets has had with his monologues about clumsy but lovable people encountering the trivial dilemmas of the modern world. The banalities of Grishkovets' drama, usually camouflaged to some extent by his own charming performances, were glaring in the festival performance of "Simultaneously" by the Pushkin Theater of Krasnoyarsk. Observations that people in airplanes above us are sitting on toilets or a character's reminiscences about wanting a bicycle in childhood have no purpose but to make us giggle at the silly or experience the bittersweet taste of nostalgia. Plays such as Olga Mukhina's "YoU" -- a work that, like an iron fist in a velvet glove, seems quite gentile until its underlying theme of the tragedy of a life unexamined hits home -- or Klim's "The Active Side of Endlessness" stand a world apart. Klim's play -- its production by the Osobnyak Theater of St. Petersburg won honors for best director (Alexei Yankovsky) and best actor (Alexander Lykov) -- is a searing dialogue about theater as a place of magic and life as a place where only risks are rewarded. Based on the writings of Carlos Castaneda, this is a work of extraordinary power and insight that stands entirely on its own. Led by the award-winning "Oblom Off" and "Active Side of Endlessness," these plays made a good showing in the festival. And yet, there was a sense that they are in the distinct minority. The proliferation of feelgood plays has been evident all season long. That, perhaps, is why so many, myself included, perceived the barebones readings of several short plays by the Georgian playwright Lasha Bugadze as the crowning jewels of the festival. At age 25, Bugadze already has five plays running in his hometown of Tbilisi and the elegant translations by Maya Mamaladze of his "Political Play," "Shocked Tatyana" and others seemed to come to us as major discoveries. In "Political Play," Bugadze created a deceptively light-hearted parable about a modern-day Joan of Arc. Tsitsino, a girl of 19, drives her family crazy because she believes she hears the voices of the saints and has been called upon to end the war in Chechnya. However, neither God nor the devil have ever heard of her. In the short monologue "Shocked Tatyana" a woman bemoans the fact that the neighbor idiot has died a hero on the field of battle while her fine, upstanding husband must ignonimously sit home and fix the headlight on their son's bicycle. The humor, insight, conscience and inherent theatricality of these works stood in sharp contrast to the superficial, even lowly, aspirations of so many of the plays in the festival. Bugadze, with a wise smile unexpected in a man of his tender age, wants not to reassure us, but rather to rouse us. He is the prototypical artist, an outsider throwing down the gauntlet before man, woman and God. If contemporary drama, Russian or otherwise, is going to mean anything, I suspect this is where it must go -- into the fray of disturbing ideas and unusual forms. Television comfortably regurgitates experience to us endlessly. Theater, say Bugadze, Klim, Mukhina and Ugarov, has a different calling.
2005-2006 Theatre UAF Season: Four Farces + One Funeral & Godot'06
Film-North * Anatoly Antohin Copyright © 2005. Permission to link to this site is granted. Stumble It!
anatoly.org * Книга Дурака 2006 (Antohins II: Anatoly)