New Russian Drama Week by Xameleon Theatre

Plays from the Russian speaking world. Series of rehearsed readings.

Directed by London based Russian directors–Dmitry Turchaninnov and Alice Terekhof.

September 13Tanya Tanya by Olga Mukhina. In English with Russian surtitles. Translated by John Freedman. Directed by Dmitry Turchaninov.
September 14Tomorrow by Natalia Vorozhbyt. In English with Russian surtitles. Translated by Sasha Dugdale. Directed by Alice Terekhof
September 15Somnambulism by Yaroslava Pulinovich. In Russian. Directed by Dmitry Turchaninov
September 16The Locked Door by Pavel Pryazhko. In Russian. Directed by Dmitry Turchaninov

Including readings of work by Russian playwrights Olga Mukhina and Yaroslava Pulinovich, Belarus author Pavel Pryazhko and Ukrainian playwright Natalia Vorozhbiy–New Russian Drama Week is going to showcase some of the most important Russian speaking drama of the last 25 years. Plays that will be presented through a series of rehearsed readings previously won various international competitions and were staged in theatres across Europe and the US. Three out of the four plays being part of the New Russian Drama Week have never been performed in the UK.

Plays are performed as rehearsed readings in English (with Russian surtitles) or in Russian (check listings for details). Rehearsed readings will be followed by Q&A and conversations with the director and the cast after each performance.

Tanya Tanya by Olga Mukhina–September 13

Written in 1996, Tanya Tanya is probably one of the best-known plays of the last decade in Russia. Famous Fomenko theatre in Moscow performed it to a great success and Olga Mukhina was praised for her unique style and called “new Chekhov.” The play is considered the starting point of New Drama movement in Russia. According to the critic and translator John Freedman,

“This is the play that broke the vicious circle, that proved to large numbers of people with disparate backgrounds, styles, and tastes, that a contemporary play could look, sound, and feel good when performed on the stage.”

Sensitive, light, atmospheric, and funny–Tanya Tanya was staged in countries across Europe and in the US, but never previously in the UK. Rehearsed reading of Tanya Tanya is directed by Dmitry Turchaninov, performed in English with Russian surtitles by Xameleon Theatre.

Tomorrow by Natalia Vorozhbyt–September 14

You live your life the best you can and then a War breaks out in your country. The War influences you and everyone you know and there is no way anyone can ignore it. Whoever you are–a man or a woman, a child or a housewife, an artist or an elephant, alive or dead–you have to respond the way you can.

Will tomorrow ever come? Is tomorrow at all possible? Isn’t any tomorrow truly impossible during the course of today?

Xameleon Theatre presents a rehearsed reading of Tomorrow (2015), Natalia Vorozhbyt’s play, translated by Sasha Dugdale, directed by Alice Terekhof.

Natalia Vorozhbyt is one of Ukraine’s most established playwrights. She was born in Kiev and studied at the Moscow Literary Institute. Natalia has been a member of the International Writers Program at the University of Iowa (USA) and International Playwright Residence at Royal Court Theatre (UK).

Vorozhbyt is an author of more than 20 plays, which were performed in Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Poland, Germany, the US, and the UK. In the UK her plays were performed at The Royal Court, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Exchange and the National Theatre in Scotland.

Somnambulism, by Yaroslava Pulinovich–September 15

One of the most influential playwrights in Russia today, Yaroslava Pulinovich, was born in Omsk, Russia in 1987, into a family of journalists. In 2009 she graduated from the Yekaterinburg Theatre Institute, where she trained under Nikolai Koliada. Her plays have been performed in the UK, the US, Poland, Estonia, Ukraine, and in over forty theatres across Russia: in Moscow, St Petersburg, Omsk, Krasnoyarsk, and many other cities.

Yaroslava’s plays won various international contests including the Voice of a Generation Prize, the Debut Prize, the Eurasia Prize, the Best New Play award at the Golden Mask Festival, and the Harlequin Prize. Her play Untitled was previously presented at the Royal Court, London. Moscow Times named her play, Natasha’s Dream as one of the top ten Russian plays of the 21st century.

Sommambulism, one of her most recent plays, is a serious and honest discussion about life and relationship. Somnambulism is a drama of new wave, but the basis of the play brings us back to the eternal question–are we alive or are we deeply asleep? The main character of the play has decided to speak the truth after one tragic event in his life…And the truth is not going to be nice…

The Locked Door, by Pavel Pryazhko–September 16

Pavel Pryazhko’s highly distinctive plays have won him several major Russian language theatre awards and have been presented all over Europe.

Andrew Dickson from The Guardian called Pryazhko “a writer to watch” as “he knows how to leave the most profound things unsaid.”

However, Pavel Pryazhko is fairly unknown in the UK: apart from one rehearsed reading at the Royal Court in 2011 and production of Harvest at Theatre Royal Bath and Soho Theatre in 2015 his plays haven’t reached the UK yet.

One of the most important traits of Pavel Pryazhko–is the ability to hear his time. For us, his contemporaries, to watch his plays–is an excellent opportunity to look at ourselves and the kind of society we live in. Locked Door is a play about the emptiness of the soul and mind. This kind of emptiness has to be covered from friends and family, and one has to lock the door and pretend that “Everything is going fine…”

Thursday, September 13th to Saturday, September 15th–7:30pm
Sunday, September 16th–2:30pm

This article first appeared in Ceel on August 29, 2018, and has been reposted with permission.

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.

This post was written by Julia Secklehner.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.