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29 October 14
In "Boris Godunov" at the Lenkom Theater, director Konstantin Bogomolov somehow found a way to do what probably should have been impossible. He combined his trademark penchant for kitschy excess with a sense of deep and considered understatement.
28 October 14
Mark your calendar: Jan. 26, 2015. Something big is brewing. On that date the theater we have long called the Stanislavsky Drama Theater, just up Tverskaya Ulitsa from Pushkin Square, will be rechristened the Stanislavsky Electrotheater.
22 October 14
Isaac Babel is one of the most enigmatic writers not only of the early Soviet era, but in all of Russian literature. He wrote plenty to be included among the greats, but the truth is that most of his important works fit into two volumes. There is a very complete four-volume collection available.
19 October 14
Yelena Gremina, having just informed the world that her mighty little Teatr.doc was in danger of being evicted from its famous basement in the center of Moscow, added a second post on her Facebook timeline.
15 October 14
It sounds more like a play that would suit the United States these days, with its story of radical, fundamentalist Christianity pulling a school apart.
12 October 14
Yury Lyubimov once told me about meeting the great director Vsevolod Meyerhold. This happened in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1987. I paid Lyubimov a visit to talk about his old friend, the playwright Nikolai Erdman, but the conversation, naturally and fortunately, took plenty of detours.
08 October 14
It's a wonderful idea for reopening a renovated old building, to work out some of the demons and explore some of the angels still lingering in the dark corners.
05 October 14
Yury Lyubimov, who died late Sunday morning at the age of 97, was a man of and for his times.
01 October 14
The Gogol Center has done a fascinating thing over the last two seasons. It delved into some of Russia's shared cultural codes and came up with new views of old ideas.
28 September 14
A Literaturnaya Gazeta critic's attack on Alexander Solzhenitsyn causes a war of words as Solzhenitsyn's widow comes to his defense.
24 September 14
Love as death, death as love. No, Timofei Kulyabin's production of "#shakespearessonnets" at the Theater of Nations is not a satire. Although some of the humor is so dry it puckers.
21 September 14
I swear it's not my fault. I just went for a walk and happened to see a nice image come into my camera's viewfinder. I took the picture of a woman in a park reading a book next to an outdoor library and I got to thinking: books, literature, Russia.
17 September 14
A rough play for rough times. Dmitry Krymov staged Alexander Ostrovsky's old "Late Love" at the School of Dramatic Art and turned it into a bitter, devastating exposé of the world around him.
10 September 14
Well, there's one good thing. A check of shows opening in the first weeks of the coming theater season reveals not a single old Anton Chekhov play. But if you think that means Moscow's theaters have set their sights on contemporary topics, think again.
03 September 14
It's not quite true that the Lyubimovka play festival is the first real event of each theater season in Moscow. This year, for example, some 10 top venues, including the Moscow Art Theater, the Mayakovsky and the Gogol Center, are already up and running.
06 August 14
What a year. Drama. Histrionics. Villainy. Hubris. Intrigue. Tragedy. And I haven't even begun considering the 2013-2014 theater season.
31 July 14
It has been an astonishing run. But doesn't every run come to an end?
28 July 14
Foreigners working in the cultural community speak to Moscow Times theater critic John Freedman about life in the city today.
24 July 14
It struck me as a sign from above. I was waiting for Dmitry Volkostrelov in a Moscow coffee shop and a television was showing a story about the Spanish painter Antonio Lopez Garcia, whom a crawler text identified as "one of the greatest realists" of the 20th century.
20 July 14
"I don't know what to do about it, John. It is a nightmare and it is hell. And something in me has been broken irreparably."
16 July 14
Arnold Wesker’s “The Kitchen,” written in 1957, is something of a poetic cry of the soul. It fairly seems to scream, “Why can’t people get along?!” And that is precisely the message that Konstantin Raikin hammers on at length in his sparkling, swift-moving production of the play at the Satirikon Theater.
13 July 14
Imagine a world in which law enforcement agencies have direct access to the data you store in social media, you are subject to arrest and prison if on social media you repost or retweet anything that the government disapproves of, you are banned from casting doubt on the government's official version of the history of World War II, and no one, but no one, publicly curses about these or any other issues.
09 July 14
“Plus ca change,” the French say, “plus c’est la meme chose.” The more things change, the more they stay the same.
It’s a great phrase. I love it. It’s French. It sounds cool. And sometimes it’s true. But it’s not always true.
06 July 14
As a law took effect last week banning obscenities in works of art, and as Russian parliamentarian Yelena Mizulina — the author of the so-called anti-Magnitsky law banning adoption of Russian children by U.S. citizens — pushed creating a law that would require individuals to use their passport to gain access to the Internet, we continued to see signs that the turmoil lately engulfing Russian culture and media is not about to let up.
02 July 14
It's not enough for a revival, we'd need a third for that. But we had two major productions of plays by the highly respected Soviet playwright Alexander Volodin this season — Genrietta Yanovskaya's moving rendition of "Don't Part With Those You Love" at the Theater Yunogo Zritelya, and now Vladimir Skvortsov's "The Elder Sister" at the Et Cetera Theater.
29 June 14
If you have walked anywhere in Moscow you have seen them, the blue squares with the qr codes in the middle and the white writing on them. If you have a smart phone you may have even tried accessing the information those codes provide access to.
25 June 14
It has been quite a season for Mikhail Durnenkov. It began in September when the playwright took over the running of the Lyubimovka festival and breathed new life into this institution of Russian play development.
22 June 14
As we approach July 1, the day after which obscenities will officially be banned in Russian art, the Russian creative community is doing what it can to make sense of a concerted push on the part of the government to regulate the arts and artistic expression.
18 June 14
Yaroslava Pulinovich has been a leading Russian playwright for half a decade yet her 27th birthday arrives only next month.
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15 June 14
There's going to be rain this week, but for the most part it should be what Russian calls "little" rain. Just enough occasional drops to keep that lovely fresh smell in the air and to keep the plants and trees and flowers perky and healthy.