A preview of the fall season at one of the city’s premier theaters.
Published: September 10, 2010 (Issue # 1608)
September is set to be a very busy month at the country’s oldest drama theater, according to Artistic Director Valery Fokin, speaking at a recent press conference. Two major events are taking place simultaneously, setting the theater’s autumn marathon on track.
First, there is the opening of the Alexandrinsky’s 265th season with a new production of Shakespeare’s “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 Europe’s 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, Shakespeare’s 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. Poland’s 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 Poland’s 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 character’s murdered rival remains on the stage.Pages:  [2 ]