Yuri Butusov started his theatre career with the production of “Waiting for Godot” precisely at Lensovet Theatre. Made with the expressive means of the grotesque, with circus eccentricity and a fine psychological study, this show brought into the spotlight new Russian theatre talents who instantly became stars – Konstantin Khabensky, Mikhail Trukhin etc… There had never before been such a Beckett on the Russian stage, told in a feat of eccentric self-abandonment, in a tragic-comic spasm of pain and unrestrained joyfulness; there had never been such a Beckett anywhere.
“Uncle Vanya” takes us back to the times of his young theatre. As the chaos of Butusov’s other Chekhov productions recoils, a formal and rigorous analysis comes to the fore, where all of Chekhov’s characters emerge as fierce and concentrated tragic-comic marionettes.
Alexander Shishkin, his co-author in creating space and time, has built on the stage a white wall with narrow doorways, above which the names of characters are inscribed. In the space behind the door, each of them could perhaps become different, but old junk that blocks everything allows no free play. So the action is limited to the narrow proscenium, where absurd, grotesque communication can take place only through the audience, with no intimacy. Yet this audacious Guignol looks more like a mechanical marionette dance, and marionettes – however much you scream – are always strung by somebody. A marvelous ensemble with an outstanding performance of the protagonists – Alexander Novikov (Voinitsky) and Sergei Migitsko (Serebryakov) – is stylistically united and makes us remember again the fireworks of the acting performances in “Waiting for Godot”.
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2018
Director: Jury Butusov