Nikolai Gogol


Alexander Kuznetsov`s project
Presented in the frame of Russian Case
Участник программы «Russian Case» Фестиваля 2016 года

Director: Alexander Kuznetsov

Set designer: Alexandra Dashevskaya

White shirts, bow ties, an empty stage, clouds of smoke and an ocean of energy – all this is present in the production of THE GAMBLERS performed at the On Strastnoi Theatre Centre. THE GAMBLERS is based on Gogol’s comedy, where three gamblers are trying to beat the fourth in cards. In Alexander Kuznetsov’s production seven young people come together to deceive the audience as they expect to see the classical story. Through Gogol’s story, the players share with us their views on life and their incredible drive.
THE GAMBLERS was created at the directing department of the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts (GITIS) by the graduate students of Yevgeny Kamenkovich, Dmitry Krymov and Leonid Kheifets. The show premiered in June 2015 in a small venue of the Academy, and already in autumn it gathered full houses.

Alexander Kuznetsov, the director and lead actor, dealt with the classical text boldly and stylishly. The action is powered by his energy, and he sets his own rules of the game, creating an ideal combination of light, music and movement. In the absence of historical costumes, scenery and props the audience attention is focused entirely on the actors. The production is rich with interesting directorial discoveries, while the flaws in acting are compensated by the young actors’ boldness and enthusiasm.

The show is energetic and relevant for today; it changes each time it is performed, so every time it is a new game. It combines a classical story, McDonagh’s black humor, the blood-and-guts style of "Fight Club" and "Big Jackpot", while being concise and well-rounded. Gogol’s picaresque novel has been turned into a story about friendship and about the game as a way of thinking and living.