Marius Ivaškevičius

Russian romance

Mayakovsky Theatre, Moscow
Presented in the frame of Russian Case
Director: Mindaugas Karbauskis

Age category 16+

The play by Lithuanian playwright Marius Ivaškevičius about Leo Tolstoy and his close circle, about the “Russian myth” and the man rightfully considered to be the conscience of the nation, is staged by Mindaugas Karbauskis with the strong ensemble of the Mayakovsky Theatre and with the stage design by the maître Sergei Barkhin. It is actor-centered theatre and psychological theatre at the same time, based mainly on the method of etudes and supported by high-level acting: for instance, Tolstoy’s unhappy wife is played by Evgenia Simonova, who has been nominated for the Golden Mask Award this year. The story of Tolstoy’s spiritual quest is told alongside comically presented episodes of Russian history and quarrels within the Yasnaya Polyana family, unable to find peace and happiness in life, despite all efforts. Tolstoy himself does not play a part in the story: we see him reflected in conversations and in fragments of “Anna Karenina”, intruding into the story as one of Levin/Tolstoy’s life lines. Ivaškevičius’s creative method allows the audience to be both inside and outside the story about the great Russian writer, which in the end – through yearning for utopia, pacifism and equality for all the living – moves into the present, where Tolstoy’s ideas have never materialised.

Kristina Matvienko