The legendary Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg - described by Peter Brook as ‘the finest ensemble theatre in Europe’ - returns to London this spring for a strictly limited engagement for the first time in over a decade.
They present the UK première of Vasily Grossman’s epic novel Life and Fate and their celebrated production of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.
Under the artistic directorship of Lev Dodin - one of the most celebrated theatre practitioners working today - the Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg has become one of the greatest theatres in the world. During his 35 year tenure many of Dodin’s shows have won international awards including state prizes of Russian and the USSR, Golden Mask Awards and a Lawrence Olivier Award (becoming the first international company to do so for Stars in the Morning Sky, 1989). In 2000 he received the European Theatre Award.
It’s early 1943. Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia are in a bitter struggle for their very survival. Life and Fate is a sweeping panorama of Soviet Society, an epic tale of a country told through the fate of a single Jewish family, the Shtrums.
Vasily Grossman’s celebrated novel, adapted for the stage for the first time, was banned because of the parallels it drew between Nazism and Soviet Communism. From Nazi concentration camps to the Gulags of Siberia and the Soviet nuclear programme, the battle of Stalingrad looms large as the characters work out their destinies in a world torn by ideological tyranny and war.
This critically acclaimed production, winner of the Golden Mask for best play, has toured around the world to great acclaim since 2007.
Vanya, together with his niece Sonya, has sacrificed his life managing the estate of Professor Serebryakov, his former brother-in-law and Sonya’s father. But when the Professor returns from the city with his glamorous young wife Yelena, tensions spiral as their world is thrown upside down.
Chekhov’s tragicomic masterpiece of dashed dreams and thwarted and eternal love returns to the West End in Lev Dodin’s definitive interpretation of this classic play.
From Molière’s Tartuffe in 1664 to Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s Behtzi in 2004, governments and theatres alike have prevented the performance of play texts for political, social and cultural reasons. Directors and playwrights alike also frequently adapt banned and censored books for the stage – Lev Dodin’s adaptation of Vasily Grossman’s Life & Fate, being one such example.
Actors will read excerpts from a selection of canonical plays, and books adapted for the stage, that have been banned and censored in a variety of countries and time periods. The evening will be interspersed with live music and followed by a panel discussion.
In an era of endless social media feeds and encroaching government control, the written word creates a new truth and collapses an old one every second. This event explores banned texts, giving voice to silenced words and harnessing the power of language. This event is presented by Belka Productions and the Maly Drama Theatre in collaboration with JW3.
Both productions will be performed in Russian with English surtitles.
Theatre Royal Haymarket, 18 Suffolk
Street, London SW1Y 4HT