HONORE DE BALZAC. NOTES ABOUT BERDICHEVSchool of Dramatic Art, Moscow
Director - Dmitri Krymov
Inspired by Anton Chekhov’s “The Three Sisters”
Set Designer – Vera Martynova
Lighting Designer – Ivan Vinogradov
Make-up Artist – Tatiana Shmykova
Noises, squeaks, fragments of melodies, scratching sounds – Kuzma Bodrov
Performers: Maria Smolnikova, Christina Pisneyeva, Veronika Timofeyeva, Vadim Dubrovin, Alexander Anurov, Mikhail Umanets, Maxim Maminov, Evgeny Startsev, Natalia Gorchakova, Anna Vorkuyeva, Arkadi Kirichenko, Vadim Andreyev, Irena Muskara, Boris Opletnev, Polina Pakhomova, Olga Pyatyshkina
Duration: 120 min
Age restriction: 16+
This is an ironic and nostalgic homage to Chekhov’s characters. The Prozorov sisters, have gotten along in years and quite battered and even mutilated by life, have gathered in the old house to remember their father. Dmitri Krymov and his disciple Vera Martynova have created the world, Gogolesque rather than Chekhovian, out of masks, pads, a living rooster and old photographs showing Masha, Irina, Andrei young, handsome and hopeful. Time flies, a man gets old and poor in health and this makes him very angry. In this next episode of his Chekhoviana Krymov talks about this constant frustration and nervous merrymaking, his starting point being Chebutykin’s line about Honoré de Balzac who allegedly got married in Berdichev. By bringing all the supporting characters to the forefront and by turning the little nooks of Chekhov’s drama into the arterial road Krymov documents the life of the post-Chekhov protagonist through trifle details and fragments of conversations that have long turned into an illegible hubbub of voices.
“How can I explain what we tried to make? Suppose you take your old and much loved glove and turn it inside out. You look at it and you have mixed feelings: on the one hand you see some new and unfamiliar object but when you look at it closer you happily recognize your old glove and even find a penny under the lining. And all the winter you’ve been thinking: “What is pinching my finger?” Well if we assume that the glove is Anton Chekhov’s play “The Three Sisters”, when it’s turned inside out it becomes our play “Honoré de Balzac. Notes about Berdichev”. I hope you know what I mean”.
…The existence is almost illusive, balancing between life and death, reality and memories of the things lost. The father died exactly a year ago – well let’s celebrate and rejoice. Half of the town has burned out – let’s do a charity concert for the fire victims. So they all act accordingly and hastily. The apoplectic doctor walks in with a saw and speaks at length about the operation that ended when the patient died. And Tuzenbach, also carrying a saw, is so eager to do some work that he instantly starts sawing a wooden bar. The impression is further enhanced by the extrasensory abilities the director has endowed the characters with instead of the normal human qualities. For instance they are capable of teleportation and are time and again moving the teacups on the table…
Vyacheslav Shadronov, Chastny Korrespondent
…Dmitri Krymov’s production calls up the image of a magic box with a multitude of bottoms. And each one lets in and out a different emotional reaction, sometimes as intense as tragic sentimentality. Like in the fire scene where paper figures, representing a “brick factory”, “infants” and nostalgic replicas of Moscow architectural structures, are burning in a large bowl. The instant of this almost tragic silence when everyone hushes and is just watching the fire swiftly devour the broken dreams and impossible ambitions…
Irina Alpatova, St. Petersburg Theatre Journal