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Autumn marathon

A preview of the fall season at one of the citys premier theaters.

Published: September 10, 2010 (Issue # 1608)


September is set to be a very busy month at the countrys oldest drama theater, according to Artistic Director Valery Fokin, speaking at a recent press conference. Two major events are taking place simultaneously, setting the theaters autumn marathon on track.

First, there is the opening of the Alexandrinskys 265th season with a new production of Shakespeares Taming of the Shrew, which premieres on Sept. 14 and 15 and promises to be the main show of the year. Then, for the fifth time, it hosts the International Theater Festival with several of Europes leading companies participating.

For The Taming of the Shrew, the theater has invited in Lithuanian director Oskaras Korshunovas. Though this is his first appearance at the Alexandrinsky, Korshunovas is known to Petersburg theater-goers thanks to his participation in the Baltic House Festival. He is based in Vilnius, where he heads the OKT Theater.

At the press conference, Korshunovas noted that during rehearsals he felt everyone was having a good time and laughing, which may not be surprising when staging a comedy. And yet, Shakespeares comedy is not as straight forward as it might appear superficially to be. Although everything ends well, and after a number of challenges the main characters find themselves and unite, fundamental questions remain unanswered questions about understanding yourself and your beloved, about what to do to preserve yourself if you have fallen in love, how to remain free if you are in love, and how to grant the same freedom to your beloved.

Korshunovas commented that he is well aware of the challenges and complexity of Shakespeare plays, finding in them reflections of human nature, the limits of freedom and chances for happiness. As he said at the press conference: I see this comedy as a play about the theater. We use improvisations and actors fantasies.

The production employs the best actors of the Alexandrinsky troupe, including Victor Smirnov, who recently celebrated his 65th birthday, and Semyon Sytnik, who this year was awarded the Golden Sofit for best actor. Original music was composed by Gintaras Sodeika.

Two days after the premiere, the Warsaw Teatr Narodowy opens the International Theater Festival at the Alexandrinsky. Polands principal drama theater will present the play Tango by Mrozek in a staging by the well known Polish director Jerzy Jarocki. In a career spanning over 60 years, Jarocki has staged literally hundreds of shows and has received all of Polands main theater prizes.

The modern Polish classic Tango, written in 1964 and shown in London in an adaptation by Tom Stoppard in 1966, discloses the roots of despotism and shows the way an idealist turns into a dictator. In the concluding scene, the actors perform a tango while the corpse of the lead characters murdered rival remains on the stage.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Dec. 26


Celebrate Boxing Day by playing various tabletop games during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening tonight at 5 p.m. Spread the Christmas cheer and goodwill by making other people regret their decision to come and try to match their intellectual prowess against yours.



Saturday, Dec. 27


Indulge cultural and material needs simultaneously during the free classical music concert at the Galeria shopping mall in the heart of the city. Starting at 7 p.m., shoppers and mallwalkers will be able to hear the sounds of Tchaikovsky and Strauss softly lilt over the constant buzz of people bustling from store to store, trying to get their shopping done before New Year.



Sunday, Dec. 28


Prepare for the holidays at the Russian Winter New Years Fair on Moskovskaya Ploshchad, which concludes today after starting on Dec. 22. Games and attractions as well as numerous performances will be on offer for those looking to get into the spirit while numerous vendors will help make sure you have something for everyone on your list.



Monday, Dec. 29


Learn how the Swedes observe Christmas, or Jul, in their land of ice and snow, during aSwedish Christmas celebration at the Lermontov Childrens Library this afternoon at 4 p.m. Activities explaining and demonstrating Swedens cultural traditions will be accompanied by traditional dishes and sweets.



Tuesday, Dec. 30


Today is the final day of the Christmas Market at the Europolis shopping center on Polyustrovsky prospekt. Indulge your holiday sweet tooth by tucking into some gingerbread men, or attend one of the master classes that will teach you about how to make beautiful, festive decorations for your tree using only your hands.



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