The big master of thorough “reading” of classical texts, including prose, Sergei Zhenovach has this time focused on Bulgakov – the key author for Russian culture, who is at the same time difficult to “update” or to stage. Zhenovach has been working on the show for a few years. “The Master and Margarita” has become an important creation of Theatre Art Studio which is now a rare example of the “theatre-home” model and which has recently been transformed from a private theatre into a federal one.
According to the director, action in the novel takes place in a mental health institution: Voland’s cortege turns into hospital attendants, who adroitly put patients into beds and make sedative injections, while stage design with huge white sheets, as wide as the proscenium opening, reminds us of depressing hospital interiors. The story of Muscovites’ trials and tribulations in the 1930s, echoing in Russian people’s memory with gloomy recognition and joy at the same time, is played out with student-like attention to detail and with pleasure. The production is essentially a chain of scenes interpreted by a live and open mind. Whether for the sake of a joke or for the sake of special effects, a black magic specialist has been invited to take part in the show, emphasizing the playful and yet serious attitude of the creators to the novel.

Kristina Matvienko
Mikhail Bulgakov

The Master and Margarita

Theatre Art Studio, Moscow
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2018
Director: Sergei Zhenovach
Set designer: Alexander Borovsky