Moscow Art Theatre
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2020
Dmitry Krymov based on Leo Tolstoi`s novel “Anna Karenina”

Director: Dmitry Krymov
Set designer: Maria Tregubova
As always, Dmitry Krymov succeeds in talking between the lines and above them about things that have no name. About human weaknesses, about the non-front-end face of a human being. He is interested in cultural codes living in time, accumulating clichés, new interpretations and even memory lapses. In “Seryozha” Krymov turns to Tolstoy’s novel “Anna Karenina” (Seryozha is Karenins’ son), but still Anna stays in the middle of action – sad clowness performed by Maria Smolnikova. The actress follows Krymov from one production into the other, she is the embodiment of fragility, innocence and infantilism. “Seryozha” is the one and only Krymov’s production at Moscow Art Theatre so far, and the fact itself of working at this legendary theatre is a starting point for him. Creaky voices of actors who played “Anna Karenina” here in the 1930s come from the speakers. The whole stage is covered with wavy parquet and if one falls he will be sucked in by the prompter’s box at the front of the stage. Everything explodes, flies, shoots and breaks as the stage turns into a circus arena. Until the moment we discover that next to the XIX century novel there is one from the XX century. An unbearable extract about the mother who is looking for her son’s grave from Vasily Grossman’s “Life and Fate” is read out, not acted out. And right after that Lev Rubinstein, poet-conceptualist, our contemporary, finishes the show, and we can finally admit: we might not remember what the book we read long ago was about, but why we need it now is worth thinking of.

Elizaveta Spivakovskaya

“Seryozha” is based on “Anna Karenina” plus an excerpt from “Life and Fate” by Grossman and “Questions” by Lev Rubinstein. Little Anna comes to the waxed stage from the auditorium, then slips, falls, gets up, smiles very childishly, hurries to the train that appears before our eyes. The performance literally bursts onto the stage, like the very train, like a whirlwind - literally everything flies here: suitcases, flowers, Vronsky, even music.


It turned out something surprisingly wonderful from a series of new artistic dreams by Dmitry Krymov. The life drives Anna Karenina crazy, not love. “We have a summer house near St. Petersburg - closer to Finland,” she tells the audience. Along the way, she complains about the clinical pedantry of Karenin: “He is a wonderful husband. Our house is in perfect order. He never rests. And he never strains. He has a day without haste and without rest ...” “Oh,” the actress exclaims, recollecting herself. - I have a Tolstoyan phrase, and now I’ll say it: “Is Sergey healthy?” And before that I was telling my side... ”


The performance is about the inviolability of the world, on the one hand, and its fragility, on the other. Three compositions are arranged on the stage - from plates, an armchair with a sword and toys. If you blow on any of them - it will be smashed to pieces. And being taken with Vronsky, Karenina is about to destroy this fragile world of her home, husband, child ...


A character named Seryozha is one of the greatest intrigues of Dmitry Krymov. His second most important discovery is the ending of the play, when you think, but what is all this about? “Slamming” Tolstoy’s novel 10 minutes from the finale, Krymov turns to another work - Vasily Grossman’s novel Life and Fate. The mother of lieutenant Toli Shaposhnikov, having arrived at the hospital with his wounded son, does not find him alive, goes to the grave and talks with him for a long time. In the last minutes of the play, the actress reads from the sheet the text “Questions” written by Lev Rubinstein specifically for this production: “What was mixed in the house? If mixed, then what? Who has everything mixed up in the house? How happy are all happy families? ”Etc.

Zond Novosti

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