From “Ta-ra-ra boom-de-boom, I sat upon a stone…”, a seemingly senseless replica of Dr Chebutykin from Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, insightful readers of Chekhov’s plays have long ago deducted something very serious, perhaps a reflection of meaninglessness of existence and indifferent acceptance of the absurdity of the world. Dmitry Krymov heard in the replica also rumblings of a military band and the solemnity of the marching step. He created a show-procession resembling a nightmare of a specialist on Chekhov.
His Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Boom is a gloomy and witty fantasy in which Chekhov is presented as endless obsession, and the world honouring Chekhov as a crazy and cruel carnival. In this carnival one may easily recognize the passages from the writer’s works but Krymov’s idea extends beyond Chekhov’s works: after the classic’s death the process of his honouring begins.
It seems that the performance Ta-Ra-Ra Boom-De-Boom touches the whole century that happened after Chekhov’s death, those ‘merry funeral’. In the jubilee parade on the catwalk there walk party bosses, soloists of the Bolshoi ballet, valiant Soviet submariners, working people, foreign visitors and even the characters of Hamlet – a regard to Chelkhov from Shakespeare, his constant rival for supremacy on the world stage. And a crowd of badly dressed mournful people with suitcases – either evicted owners of cut cherry orchards, or doomed to death the inhabitants of a ghetto: the post-Chekhov century was filled with horrors of real life to the same extent as the joys of life on the stage.
To understand what TARARA BUM-DE-BOOM is all about, that is read the cultural code of the performance correctly the audience shouldn't have a good memory for literary quotations. They should just realize in time that the 150thanniversary of Chekhov we are celebrating now is not just 150 years with Chekhov, but also a century and a half in the history of a very big country. And it is for this reason that in the half an hour carnival procession of TARARA BOOM-DE-BOOM Chekhov's characters walk in orderly columns like at a May day demonstration on a par with Soviet sailors and divers, soloists of the Bolshoi Theatre in deerskin caps and mink berets, the USSR women synchronized swimming team in red calico swimsuits, the writer Furmanov with Chapayev naked sward, Elsinore ambassadors with the skull of poor Yorick, with a combat squadron of world literature with the labels of Feuchtwanger, Solzhenitsyn and Exupéry flying over it. And it doesn't look just a sarcastic touché in connection with the anniversary celebrations. Like the scene with some fifty actors coming out from the smoky wings with travelling bags, pasteboard and hat boxes pressed to their breasts, looking like a crowd of confused Ranevskayas and Gayevs, doesn't look a system error, and the audience is haunted either by Babi Yar, or the Russian GULAG, or the first wave of Russian emigration.
In a seemingly pointless saying of doctor Chebutikin from the "Three sisters": " Tarara boom-de-boom..." insightful readers of Chekhov's plays have long found something very serious, perhaps reflecting the futility of all things existing and indifferent acceptance of the world's absurdity. You bet, Tuzenbach has just been killed at a duel, the Prozorov sisters are hysterical, the officers leave them forever, and the doctor sits and mutters some nonsense. Dmitry Krymov also managed to hear the peals of a military orchestra, solemnity of marching steps in the remark. He invented a procession play, similar to a nightmare of Chekhov's researcher, at the same time, a dark and witty fantasy, with Chekhov's world presented as an endless delusion, and the world celebrating Chekhov's anniversary as a crazy and brutal carnival.
For the Birthday of a person, who lived so modestly and died so "loudly", who hated vulgarity and was brought home in a coffin in a van for oysters, who created this strange world, so unstable and durable, so small and huge, it would be good to gather all his characters and go in a procession, from the left to the left to the right, all together: masters and servants, writers and actors, conjurers and musicians station masters and officers, doctors, young girls in love, eternal students, businessmen - new owners of the Cherry Orchard, all the people, as well as lions, eagles and partridges, horned deer and silent fish. And children! Bobiks and Sofochkas!