WITHOUT A DOWRYPyotr Fomenko Theatre, Moscow
Director Pyotr Fomenko
Pyotr Fomenko once discovered a new Ostrovsky. He showed the genetic link of his plays with vaudeville, commedia dell’arte, and the well-made play – with everything that had, for centuries, fed low arts. And he did not just poeticize this theatrical low world, but he made it the corner stone of his directing. In his new production there is no Fomenko-style game with theatricality or gala performance. Instead there is an intelligence of style that is almost indescribable. The actors of the “Workshop” try to play Ostrovsky as if they were playing Chekhov or Gorky; as if their heroes were not merchants, but university-educated summer residents. The set hints at this approach: a Levitan-style curtain, light wooden steps, and costumes for the heroes that (especially the robes of the Russian femme fatal Kharita Ignatievna) unambiguously refer to the epoch of art nouveau. The fragile and gentle Larissa in the performance of Polina Agureeva also is a sensitive woman of the modern era. Even the gypsies are refined, educated and sing songs on the verses of the poet Osip Mandelstam. Actually, the director’s efforts were all directed at transforming Ostrovsky's picturesque characters into reflexive figures of a new drama.
Without a Dowry looks like a turning point in the Fomenko Theatre (Ostrovsky also thought of the work in this way). It does not allow you to discuss the psychological lacework and light breath, wonderful acting, eternal femininity and other passionate aspects that fly on the heels of the Fomenko Theatre and gradually turn into hackneyed phrases. Pyotr Fomenko created an extremely strict and bitter production about human cruelty and lies, derision, perverted values like morality, reputation or the merchant’s word of honour. A world where the human “price” depends on an individual’s financial position and not the spiritual cost. As a result of Eldar Ryazanov’s popular screen adaptation the story of the beautiful woman without a dowry has become rooted in mass consciousness like a hymn to love’s madness, which is more important than life. As if with a polishing stone Fomenko cleanses the romantic gilding from the play.
14 m x 20 m
Height - 8 m
FOR AUDIENCE OF
Photo © Viktor Bazhenov, Larisa Gerasimchuk, Olga Lopach