Theatre: Weeks 4 and 5

Instead of just telling you about the theatre that we have seen recently we thought we would try something new and let you see what our students are saying about what they are seeing. The time we spend at the theatre is very precious and a lot of discoveries are made and interesting conversations started while we are there. Please be sure to click on the show names to link to production photos of the great work that we have seen!


Monday, April 8: Три сестры (Three Sisters) Fomenko Theatre

This traditional staging of Chekhov’s classic takes the audience into a well known story with a few twists and turns.

“For me, this production was about relationships: the relationship of each character with every other character, the relationship between reality and theatrics, and even the relationship between the playwright and his play. I know the story well, but there are some things that the text alone can’t tell you. Fomenko really told the story of these people and their relationships through the pauses which, I believe, is what Chekhov intended.” – Greer Gerni


Thursday, April 11: Моряки и шлюхи (Sailors and Whores) Fomenko Theatre

Oleg Glushkov who has been teaching an acting/movement course to our students directed this dance-theatre production. This is a new show and we put it on the schedule as per the request of our students who became more curious about his work and what it would mean for a whole production. The work that Glushkov is doing is really very interesting and unique and we are so thrilled to offer his class as part of our course. Seeing his new show really enhanced the classroom experience.

“Oleg Glushkov has a REALLY fascinating way of moving and choreographing, and his show was exciting and interesting to watch. He blends awkward with grace, and subtle gestures with dramatic full-body movements. To me it was all about loveless sex and loveless marriage. It was a lot of fun to watch, and made me even more grateful for the opportunity to work with him.” – Eliana Sigel-Epstein


Friday, April 12: Дядя Ваня (Uncle Vanya) Vakhtongov Theatre

This production of Uncle Vanya is a great contrast to the production of Three Sisters that we saw earlier in the week. It is very abstract, and yet, so true to the text.

“I had actually seen this production when I was in Moscow in 2009. It was one of my favorites, so I was very excited to see it again. Watching this production again 3 years later was, of course, interesting. On the one hand, I found the production just as captivating as the first time I saw it. The play operated under an absurdist logic that was evocative and fascinating. The environment and sound design were terrific – creating “atmosphere” far more effectively than chirping birds and realistic lighting. The opening music for each act was, actually, the melody of Kol Nidre, a prayer sung on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the years for Jewish people. So, imagine this haunting melody preceding Astrov’s opening monologue about the drudgery and pain of life – my heart aches in just remembering it. I loved the interpretations of Sonya and Vanya, and there were some incredible moments of love and compassion between them. I guess what bothered me the most was the interpretation of Yelena as cold-hearted and robotic. I have a lot of compassion for Yelena personally and see her more as a woman teetering on the edge, grasping for control, than maniacal. Though, I did enjoy her behavior after her and Astrov’s “interrogation” that lead into her desperation to leave the estate. In all, I thought it was incredibly well done and fascinating, but I ESPECIALLY loved that it made me think — not only about the play, but also in how to convey moments among characters with just enough touch of absurdism to make you feel that you are watching something that transcends daily life.” – Eliana Sigel-Epstein


Saturday, April 13: Чайка (The Seagull) Satyricon Theatre

This production of The Seagull is very popular in Moscow right now and is sure to change anyone’s perspective on what can be done with Chekhov.

“This five hour production, directed by one of my favorite directors in Moscow, Yuri Butusov, was out of this world — it felt beyond what I typically see at the theatre. To be fair, it actually shared a lot of similarities with the Uncle Vanya we saw the night before. The actors’ behavior was never restrained by the need to seem realistic or “believable” but still remained honest and true. Like Yelena in Uncle Vanya at Vakhtangov, Arkadina was nothing but destructive and maniacal. In fact, she had even less humanity than Yelena. But I saw this Arkadina as a symbol rather than a person. That was my least favorite thing about the production. What I did love about it was that it seemed to be a reaction to the play, rather than bringing the play to life. It was about artists understanding creation and themselves, experiencing pain and hurting one another. It was rough, with stagehands frequently entering the space and unceremoniously removing a prop. It was messy and cluttered – a vomit of expression on stage. It was an act of rebellion against the play that started it all. I struggled with this production, both watching it and thinking about it later. What was happening? What was going on? How is this connected to the Чайка I’ve read? Why exactly did I like it? And I’m still struggling a lot with those questions. Which is awesome. It’s a production I could see again and again, extracting more meaning from it each time, and I’m looking forward to seeing it at least once more during my time in Moscow.” – Eliana Sigel-Esptein


Tuesday, April 16: Три выцокие женщины (Three Tall Women) Maloi Bronnoi Theatre

This production is very minimalist allowing the text itself to be the highlighted feature.

“This was the first type of smaller-time theatre that we had gone to in Moscow. The budget was smaller and we were left with only actors on a relatively bare state. I appreciated this opportunity to make for a more well-rounded theatre experience. – Emily Larson


Friday, April 19: Ромео и Джульетта (Romeo and Juliet) Satyricon Theatre 

This is a new production at Satyricon directed by Konstantin Raikin with a cast mainly made up of his fourth-year students at MXAT. This was a perfect way for our students to finish off a week of analyzing Romeo and Juliet in their Acting/Directing class.

“This production of Romeo and Juliet was nothing like the dusty image we often have of how this play should be done. It is fresh, it is young, it is a whirlwind of action and emotion. For once, I was able to justify to myself why every event and choice happens that lead to Romeo and Juliet’s tragedy and I was able to allow myself to get caught up the rush of it all and to feel the rapidly changing mix of emotions that I have always wanted to feel from this play.” – Greer Gerni

“It was the first time I ever felt bad for Romeo and Juliet.” – Daniel Barnes