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Theatre at the Ring Road: It is a delusion that the art only live in the center

Autor: Georgy Pankratov
Source: TASS-PRESS, Vestnik Rossiyskoy Pressy

On the theatrical map of Moscow, which mostly comprises the center of the city, there is a peculiar enclave, The New Drama Theatre, situated within walking distance from the Ring Road. The inevitable associations with amateur or “underground” art don’t have any connection with reality here.

The typical apartment houses and grocery stores in the outskirts of the big city stay side by side with the building of former recreation center of Moscow subway tunnellers, where classical plays are staged now. Some of the actors are well known among the occupants of nearby residential buildings due to their roles in the popular TV shows. This is a special charm, that the ordinary people may cross the road and watch the plays. Some plays are about their feelings and their destinies.

The keystone of almost any theatre is Chekhov. You can define the style of a theatre basing on how they stage Chekhov, and this production becomes a kind of a business card of the theatre. The New Drama Theatre has been approaching Chekhov for more than 30 years, and decided to start not with his full-weight plays, but the period of his “Motley stories”. Many critics called those vivid sketches “small plays” for their acute conflicts, profound drama and masterful dialogues. The New Drama Theatre combined them as “12 Stories of Love”.

The theatre succeeded in reconstructing them as if they were made today; but it was not a “modernization”, but an attempt to address audience speaking of the things that matters beyond time. The people of the “motley stories” are the same painfully familiar characters that inhabit our modern life. They are funny sometimes, but the more you see the action on the stage, the more clear is idea that they are tragedies concerning anything but love. Nobody loves anyone, everyone deals with their own seemingly important problems using others as tools only. By doing so they often declare their love to others.

The characters are familiar and easy to understand. “If you can understand then you may excuse”, as one of them says.

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