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21 January 15
Cabarets and war are more similar than you might think. One raises serious issues by way of mirth, the other is just deadly serious.
14 January 15
Who are we? And why are we what we are? These are questions people ask not only after Russia's marathon New Year and Christmas holidays, a time when any unsuspecting individual might believe that he or she has stepped into the Twilight Zone and will never, ever get out again.
17 December 14
Goodbye, Teatr.doc. Hello, Teatr.doc. Both statements are true. Which one suits your purposes at any given moment depends on what you are talking about.
10 December 14
A little over 13 years ago an often violent and seemingly coarse play called "Plasticine" — written by Vasily Sigarev — burst onto the scene and gave contemporary drama a huge shot in the arm. Suddenly everyone was talking about the "uncouth" Sigarev and his young, soon-to-be streetwise anti-heroes.
03 December 14
There is good reason to flaunt the capabilities of the company at the Satirikon Theater, one of the most powerful, agile, accomplished groups of actors anywhere.
26 November 14
More than any large, established theater in Moscow, the National Youth Theater has accepted the challenge in recent years of taking stock of history.
19 November 14
Chances are if you know the art of Kama Ginkas you would not automatically think about Edward Albee. Just as you might be excused for not thinking about Ginkas when hearing the title "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
12 November 14
As much as one might have wished, Olga Mukhina's long-awaited return to the Fomenko Studio with her new play "Olympia" is not quite the stuff of fairy tales.
05 November 14
To be or not to be, that is the question these days for Teatr.doc.
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."
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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.