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16 April 14
The Golden Mask Festival is a boon for us sit-at-homes. You can't travel to Kazan or Ryazan to see the latest work from those cities? The Golden Mask brings them to you.
13 April 14
I've seen this before. Not in my lifetime, no. I saw it unfold before my astonished eyes in crumbling, yellowing newspaper clippings from the late 1920s and early 1930s. I saw it in stack after stack of microfiche materials. I saw it in the letters, poems, stories, plays and memoirs of those who lived through the nightmare of a culture collapsing on itself and its citizens.
10 April 14
The Russian Culture Ministry raised eyebrows this week by replacing several respected figures in two departments involving the fine arts and theater.
10 April 14
This may not end up being my best column, but it will be one of my personal favorites. It has no real plot and very little dramatic line. It does, however, have a couple of heroes and don't we all love a hero?
09 April 14
It sounds like one of the worst cliches you can imagine: "one of a kind," meaning the only one like it. Anywhere. Anytime. Yeah, right.
06 April 14
What follows is similar to a column (they were called blogs back then) that I wrote just before the beginning of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
03 April 14
Director Vladimir Pankov has finally unveiled his first new show, an ambitious and crowd pleasing play, on Gogol Center's large stage.
31 March 14
There's an old Russian anecdote about a stolen coat that reminds me of the Taganka Theater. "Someone stole a coat," the joke goes, "or had it stolen from them."
27 March 14
A packed house will gather at the Vakhtangov Theater on Thursday night to celebrate and honor an annual event that has become an institution in Russian culture. I’m talking about the Golden Mask Festival, which marks its 20th anniversary this year.
26 March 14
I don't think it really had anything to do with World Poetry Day, which fell on Friday, March 21, this year. I don't think it had all that much to do with the fact that Alexei Politov and Marina Belova's "Fragments" exhibit was preparing to close today, Sunday, at Krokin Gallery.
26 March 14
Ah, Moscow! The city where you never call an acquaintance before 11 a.m. or a friend before noon! It’s no wonder that projects like Night in the Museum and, now, Night in the Theater have become so popular.
20 March 14
It has been awhile since Ivan Vyrypayev opened a new play in Moscow, but now we have had two premieres of new works at two different theaters. "Summer Wasps Bite Us Even in November" was recently unveiled at the Fomenko Studio and now, with Vyrypayev directing and acting at his own Praktika Theater, we have a piece called "UFO."
17 March 14
In the final hours before Sunday's referendum in Crimea, Russia's cultural community experienced a schism it has not known since the run-up to the presidential election in 2012. At that time 30 or 40 major Russian entertainers and artists caused a firestorm by agreeing to make short videos supporting the candidacy of then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
13 March 14
Nicole Kontolefa is a New Yorker born and bred. One might say, however, that at least part of her heart lies in Moscow. She was a resident of Moscow for four years while she studied at the Moscow Art Theater School and she is a member of the Art Theater's Studio Six, which is based in New York.
13 March 14
"Masquerade Masquerade" is not quite a play so nice it had to be named twice. Actually, playwright and director Mikhail Ugarov has made it abundantly clear in the media that he re-read Mikhail Lermontov's play "The Masquerade" and wasn't impressed. As a result he wrote his own version in order to make sense of it.
06 March 14
There is a lot to Nikita Kobelev's production of Fridrikh Gorenshtein's "Berdichev." It takes nearly four hours to perform. It covers a span of 30 years and involves 23 characters of family, friends, acquaintances and enemies.
05 March 14
Leo Tolstoy wrote famously about his experiences in the Crimean War in the mid-1850s. His book, "The Sevastopol Stories," has been a source of great cultural pride for some Russians over the last century and a half.
26 February 14
The title is a bit clumsy and it takes a good while before it begins making sense. One character in the play on the old stage at the Fomenko Studio uses the phrase over and over again — "Summer wasps bite us even in November" — until even he admits he doesn't know what it means.
20 February 14
It sounded like an interesting pairing — Maxim Kurochkin, the wildly imaginative playwright, and Talgat Batalov, a director with a fine sense of deadpan humor.
12 February 14
Kirill Serebrennikov's production of "Dead Souls" at Gogol Center starts with a prolonged slap in the face of Russian mores. From there it cranks up the vitriolic satire for nearly three hours without a break.
10 February 14
I once wrote most of what I planned to be a book about Russia. I got as far as sending chapters out to publishers. One of the few editors who was kind enough to reject me personally explained why my proposal was not of interest. It was "too worshipful" of Russia, she wrote.
06 February 14
"Hamlet/Collage" at the Theater of Nations is, without question, one of the biggest events — though not achievements — of this theater season.
05 February 14
Let's admit it. Ever since the Dozhd television station appeared in early 2010, many of us have wondered how long it could last. We now may know.
29 January 14
Lyudmila Roshkovan's Chelovek, or Human, Theater has always stood apart from the rest of Moscow's theaters. That is true geographically — though centrally located, it stands on a side street no more than a stone's throw from thoroughfares and metro stations.
28 January 14
When the going gets tough, as we have seen repeatedly in recent years, the tough take to Facebook. At least that's what they do in this part of the world.
23 January 14
Theater is a world unto itself. Sure, there's Russian theater and American theater and theater from England, France and and Bali, and they're all different.
23 January 14
Donald L. Coburn's "The Gin Game" became an instant classic in the 1970s because of its extreme simplicity and, I would wager, its honesty.
19 January 14
When Igor Popov died on Jan. 1 at the age of 76, we lost one of the great Russian theater artists of the last half-century.
16 January 14
Let's get this out of the way for the scandal-mongers. I attended the first performance of "Presence" at the Taganka Theater, the third event in the 50th anniversary project being conducted by a group of young artists, critics and theater managers on hire from the Moscow Culture Committee.
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27 December 13
A new production of Pavel Pryazhko's play will open after the holidays, when Muscovites are well-rested and ready to watch.