Outer Space, True Zapad (West), and Blood Wedding: What plays to see this week

Outer Space, True Zapad (West), and Blood Wedding: What plays to see this week
How to combine a play and a rock ballad, why the modern world is like the Wild West, and what A Common Story will be about in the 21st century: mos.ru on this week’s best theatrical plays.

The Cherry Orchard

Date: 14 February

Time: 7pm – 9pm

Venue: The State Academic Maly Theatre, 69 Bolshaya Ordynka Street

Age restriction: 12+

The Maly Theatre will show The Cherry Orchard, a play about the end of an era and the change in worldviews it brings. The generation of Ranevskaya and Guyev, sentimental and impractical people of Old Russian nobility, is on its way out. They had to make way for businessmen like Lopakhin. Staged in 1982 by People’s Artist of the USSR Igor Ilyinsky, the play is relevant to today. The production resumed on 9 February 2013. The audience empathise with problems that seem trifling to an outside observer and yet have life-changing implications for the characters.

Two 20th-century one-act operas

Date: 15 February

Time: 7pm – 9.30pm

Venue: The Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Musical Theatre, 17 Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street

Age restriction: 16+

The theatre will present two 20th century operas, La Favola d’Orfeo by the Italian Alfredo Casella and Ariadne by the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu.

La Favola is a neo-classicist work characteristic of the mood reigning in Europe in the 1930s. Its emotional, explosive score is based on dramatic contrasts.

Bohuslav Martinu referred to Ariadne as neo-baroque, but his musical quest reaches down to more ancient styles and genres, like early Christian chants or Greek folklore. The archaic sound of high flutes and the harp conveys the spirit of Old Hellas, while the percussion instruments reveal the ethnic nature of the music.

Blood Wedding

Date: 16 February

Time: 7pm – 8.30pm

Venue: Soprichastnost Moscow Drama Theatre, 2 Radio Street, Bldg.2

Age restriction: 14+

Blood Wedding is a play by Spanish dramatist Federico Garcia Lorka.

A village wedding is disrupted by the bride’s flight and the arrival of the bridegroom’s rival. The action is focused on the bridegroom’s mother, who embodies the pain and joy of any mother and their hope for the end of enmity between people. People’s Artist of the RSFSR Svetlana Miseri was awarded the Moscow City Hall Literature and Art Prize for this part.


Date: 17 February

Time: 7pm – 9.45pm

Venue: Taganka Theatre (main stage), 76/21 Zemlyanoi Val Street

Age restriction: 18+

The play is based on three literary sources: The horror novella by Nikolai Gogol, The Dead Maiden, a play by Nina Sadur, and rock ballads by Venya D’rkin (Alexander Litvinov).

Songs are intertwined with Gogol’s narrative, revealing new depths in the characters: Khoma Brut, the Maiden, and the Cossacks. The actors are both singers and musicians.

The play is about feelings, love and a great temptation that you shouldn’t yield to and yet can’t resist.

A Common Story

Date: 18 February

Time: 7pm – 10.45pm

Venue: Gogol Centre, 8 Kazakova Street

Age restriction: 16+

A young provincial boy, Alexander Aduyev, comes to St Petersburg to conquer the world. Soon, however, all his ideals are in tatters and he turns into his businesslike and impassionate uncle Pyotr.

What would this story be like in the 21st century? What would Aduyev be today? What changes has Russian life seen over the past 150 years? The performance creators sought to modernise the story that sparked heated debate in the 19th century.

Wind Rustling in the Poplars

Date: 18 February

Time: 7pm – 9.45pm

Venue: Yevgeny Vakhtangov Theatre, 26 Arbat Street

Age restriction: 16+

Directed by Rimas Tuminas, the play focuses on timeless subjects: eternity, pride, love, compassion…

Each day three residents in a home for the aged, played by Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Maxim Sukhanov and Vladimir Simonov, sit together on a veranda, discuss news and make fantastic plans.

Self-irony becomes central for the characters. Each has left something in the past and now that they are no longer young they continue to rejoice in life, knowing that future portends nothing but eternity.

The Real Zapad

Date: 19 February

Time: 6pm – 8.15pm

Venue: Moscow New Drama Theatre, 2 Prokhodchikov Street

Age restriction: 18+

A play by American playwright Sam Shepard, True West, became a bestseller both in America and elsewhere. True Zapad is a Moscow production based on the original text.

This is almost a detective story about two brothers who haven’t seen each other for a long time and finally meet at their mother’s house. The elder brother is a vagabond and thief, who values freedom and independence. The younger brother is a gifted scriptwriter who dreams of money and fame. There are constant clashes between the two. But the end is quite unexpected: the brothers reverse roles.

The characters are recognizable not only in the US but also in Russia. After all, many in this country today are after immediate success, money and enrichment at any cost, just like it was in the Wild West.

Outer Space

Date: 19 February

Time: 6pm – 8.45pm

Venue: Stas Namin Theatre, 9 Krymsky Val Street, Bldg. 33

Age restriction: 16+

The play is based on six short stories by Vasily Shukshin: “Skidding,” “The Bright Souls,” “Outer Space, the Nervous System, and a Piece of Pork,” “Suraz,” “I Do Believe,” and “Gena Proydisvet,” all of them about people looking for their place in the world, the meaning of life, and the immortality of the soul. The characters’ seeming simplicity and ignorance hide the depths of spirit and age-old wisdom.

The action is accompanied by Russian folk songs arranged for rock performances by the band Tsvety. The vivid naïve art sets create a special atmosphere.