A scene from the play “The Petty Bourgeois”. Photo: sovremennik.ru
Tovstonogov’s performance at the Bolshoi Theater in 1966 is still considered the most successful production of this play. After him, for many years, not a single sane director dared to take on the “petty bourgeois.” But over time, the brave appeared.
In Sovremennik, the director Pavel Safonov staged a dramatic fantasy on the theme “Petty Bourgeois”. By the way, “mystical dramas” and “fantasies based on” this or that classic come out every day in Moscow theaters. As if the directors had agreed in May to pour all their creative energy on the heads of the audience.
The Philistines explores a very understandable, almost biblical story of generational conflict. When the old doesn’t mix well with the new. “We are trying to bring contradictions to an extreme in The Philistines, when the disintegrating connection of the times makes people, like Shakespeare’s heroes, rise to the level of great tragedy,” says director Pavel Safonov. Shakespeare is mentioned here for a reason. In Gorky’s play, the characters talk about rehearsals in an amateur theater. In the performance, right inside the action, they act out scenes from Shakespeare’s King Lear as a farce. The ironic director chose this particular tragedy as an illustration of the conflict between parents and children. The same family passions, misunderstandings, resentments that worried people 100 and 1000 years ago, worry us today. Human nature does not change.
The audience showered the actor with flowers in his bun.
Photo: Anastasia PLESHAKOVA
Actor Alexander Baluev plays the role of the head of the Bessemenov family. With helpless irritation, he looks at the children who have grown up and who are incomprehensible to him. The daughter Tatyana sat in the girls, the son Peter was expelled from the institute for “politics”. What kind of people are they? Incomprehensible, although native blood. What do they want from life? Live by your own rules? And the father has no rules other than his own. Mother (Tatyana Koretskaya and Marina Khazova play this role in different compositions) protects children from parental claims, she clumsily tries to smooth out corners and domestic conflicts. What angers her husband even more: “stupid, you’re old.” She even more persistently keeps her orders and rules. And now daughter Tatyana (Victoria Romanenko / Svetlana Ivanova) runs around her parents’ house like an animal in a cage. She tries to poison herself: she only seems to have an unhappy love for Nile, a student of her father. In fact, because of the impossibility of fluttering out of the cage of her father’s house. She wants to live her life, but they won’t let her. A recognizable image for many. As a scenography element, there is a piano on the stage, of course, out of tune.
Nothing updates a classic like understandable stories played honestly. In addition, in the new Sovremennik performance, the artists create vivid images. The broken tenant Elena Nikolaevna (Marina Lebedeva) lures the eternal student Pyotr Bessemenov (Vladislav Prokhorov) with stories about his life with prisoners. The local philosopher Teterev (Oleg Feoktistov) captivates with protest truths: “If you ask for bread, and a person gives you a stone, bring down a mountain on him.” And only the depot driver Neil (Ivan Stebunov / Daniil Popov), standing firmly on his feet, is the only one in this family who is satisfied with life, and therefore has the right to show character. And here
“Whoever does not follow the rhythm of life, becomes lonely.” Such is the fate of the elderly Bessemenov, powerfully played by Alexander Baluev. No matter how hard he tries, his children will definitely flutter out of the nest, like birds from the cages of the bird catcher Perchikhin (Sergey Girin) and live their own lives. The final chord of the performance gives hope: in this family, not all bridges have been burned, the misunderstanding of relatives (it is not only in the family, but also among like-minded people) is still not fatal. The old man Bessemenov is planting a tree, carefully and stubbornly raking the earth to the roots. At that moment, his family members approach him and gently hug him.
“When”: May 29, June 3, 17 and 26.
Entrance fee: 800 – 5000 rubles.