#SHAKESPEARE'SSONNETSTheatre of Nations, Moscow
Director: Timofei Kulyabin, Yevgeny Kulagin, Ivan Estigneev
Set designer: Oleg Golovko
Refined sophisticated type of theatre that pays dues to the elegance of the Renaissance, to the female and male corporality. The production is slow, long-winded, cold, hieroglyphic, which is an important component of the director’s aesthetics. Shakespeare’s sonnets do not form a linear story-line, yet choreographed scenes combined with vocal piano-accompanied compositions with expressly falling-in keys and broken-off notes allude to the topic of desecrated, violated beauty.
The Small stage of the Theatre of Nations is the platform for searching new cultural ideas and styles, where a young director is given the freedom to try and make mistakes, and the public can make discoveries or, alternatively, take a nap. Nowadays the news is mostly found in the field of manipulation with already existing forms. In #SHAKESPEARE'SSONNETS all components – singing, dance, elements of sculpture and painting in the mise en scenes, a dozen sonnets, the “theatre inside theatre” technique - are skillfully connected into a sophisticated melancholic action without a plot and without dialogues. Timofei Kulyabin, escaping from the old sweet lyrics, chopping off unnecessary lines of a sonnet, with the help of quotes projected on the screen talks about the finiteness of all things. But essentially the message of the 30-year-old director is more intimate: the end of love is the end of life.
The shadow of centuries falls on the three young beautiful maidens (the fourth remains seated on a chair singing Rachmaninoff, Schubert and Purcell in a marvelous, crystal voice). They are admired by two almost ethereal boys who every now and then softly touch the nude girls' hands with their lips. Every gesture and every gaze are precise and adjusted to the extent of the coldness of otherworldliness. When the sophistication of the picture gets to the verge of parody, here comes the irony: two stagehands, who sat on the side, buried in their iPhones, begin to eat with relish some junk food or busily intrude into the action, rearranging the sets or pouring a basin of water into the piano, making the keys begin to sink, fade away, while but the musician continues to play. When the stagehands are gone, the statutory illusion of the beauty of the past is back.
Fear, timidity, easy awe – with these words one can describe the feelings and emotions portrayed by the actors. The episodes come one after another like pictures in a children's book with pull-down volumetric images. You want to remember as much detail as possible, with a single glance grab the complete composition, but it falls apart, leaving only an impression in your memory. The girl moves on the floor, and the young man is trying to keep her, stretching horizontally and clasping her legs. With an easy and smooth motion she takes off her shoes. Is it a wonderful dream escaping the embrace? Or is it an eternal reminder that helps not to forget the pain of separation?......