MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
Director Nikita Kobelev and the leading actors tell about the production.
At the Vladimir Mayakovsky Moscow Academic Theater, the new season opens with the premiere of a play based on the novel by Ivan Goncharov. “An Ordinary History” is a diploma production by graduates of the workshop of the artistic director of the theater Mindaugas Karbauskis at the Russian Institute of Theater Arts – GITIS, which they decided to include in the repertoire. Director Nikita Kobelev transferred the action from the 19th century to our days and changed the cast of characters, practically without touching the original text of Goncharov. Read about how The Ordinary Story came into being and why the main character is played by several actors at once – in this mos.ru article.
From the 19th century to the present
The main character, Alexander Aduev, who has lived all his life in the village of Grachi, is 20 years old. He is kind, smart, educated, passionate about literature and really wants to live in Petersburg. His mother Anna Pavlovna asks a relative – a successful Petersburg businessman Peter Ivanovich – to accept Sasha and look after him.
Aduev Jr. finds himself in his uncle’s modern, tastefully furnished apartment: everything is simple, laconic, nothing superfluous. The whole action takes place against the background of this single decoration. The apartment reflects the character of its owner: Peter Ivanovich, who does not recognize sentimentality, laughs at the lofty ideals of his nephew – he fervently believes in friendship, love and creativity.
In St. Petersburg, Sasha is gradually disappointed in everything he believed in: his beloved Nadya prefers another to him, childhood friend Pospelov, who also happened to be in the city, cannot find time for a meeting, and a well-known magazine refuses to publish his story.
At different stages of the formation of the hero – from a naive romantic young man to a cynical business man – he is played by five different performers: Ivan Kovalyunas, Ivan Sapfirov, Stanislav Kardashev, Maxim Naumov, Semyon Aleshin.
In the second year of GITIS, the actors had a semester, during which special attention was paid to the work of Ivan Goncharov. Mindaugas Karbauskis invited Nikita Kobelev, one of the teachers, to turn to “An Ordinary History”. Together with the students, the director staged several excerpts, giving everyone to try themselves in the role of Aduev. Two years later, they decided to return to these sketches in order to prepare a graduation performance. Then Kobelev realized that several people should play the hero.
“I watched them during my studies and had a rough idea of what their psychotypes were,” explains the director. – Therefore, it was not difficult to determine who will get which segment of the protagonist’s life. True, in the process I rearranged several people. But in general, the majority are in the places that I chose for them initially. “
Semyon Aleshin plays Aduev in a period of complete disappointment. His hero has a sloppy appearance, he tries to drown out longing by playing basketball. The actor is sure: everyone passed through this black strip. “We were looking for this inner strain together with Nikita, we talked about the innermost. Working on the role helped me discover things about myself that I didn’t know about. Going out with all this to the viewer is like confession for me, ”shared Semyon Aleshin.
His colleague Ivan Kovalyunas had an even more difficult task: to play Aduev twice – at the beginning and at the end of the performance. There is nothing in common between a simple guy who dreams of becoming his own in the big city, and a cynical young man in an expensive suit, with hair slicked with gel, who laughs out loud at arguments about love.
“The first image is the perfect hit for me,” says the actor. – I remember what I was like when I arrived in Moscow four years ago. I felt the same as Aduev. But the way he became in the end, I hope I will never be. “
Former romantic, old maid and others
Kirill Kuskov, who played Pyotr Ivanovich, also had a hard time – at first he did not understand his character at all. But over time, my uncle found some pretty traits: an excellent sense of humor and the ability to subtly feel people. “When we just started to stage the play, I didn’t like the principles by which Pyotr Ivanovich lived, I didn’t like his attitude to his nephew, ridicule. But over time, my attitude towards him changed, ”says the actor.
Despite all the jokes that Pyotr Ivanovich lets go, he was as much a romantic as his nephew. Once upon a time, he climbed knee-deep into the lake to pick a yellow flower for a distant relative of Maria Gorbatova, with whom he was in love.
Yulia Marycheva plays the old maid Gorbatova, who still kept a pretty dry gift, in the play. She also plays Nadya Lyubetskaya, who broke the heart of Aduev Jr. The actress admits that the strangely funny Gorbatova, who still has tender feelings for Peter, is more interesting to play. The audience greeted every playful remark of this heroine with applause. “It is very pleasant when there is an opportunity to play pranks on stage,” the actress admits.
Alexander’s mother, Anna Adueva, is played by Alina Vakaeva, the rich widow Yulia Tafayeva is played by Arina Zharkova, the blonde beauty Elizaveta dressed in the latest fashion, the wife of Peter Ivanovich, is Asya Fomenko. But for the valet Yevsey, who in Goncharov’s novel went with Alexander to St. Petersburg, there was no place on the stage – today young people travel without servants.
Ivan Goncharov created The Ordinary History in 1846. The novel first appeared in the Sovremennik magazine, and only in 1848 was it released as a separate edition. The “Ordinary Story” was greeted very warmly.
The novel became part of the trilogy along with Oblomov and The Cliff. They are united by a common conflict – between conservative foundations and new trends in Russia. Alexander and Peter Aduyevs personify two countries – patriarchal and Europeanized.
An Ordinary Story is often staged on the contemporary Russian stage. One of the most famous productions of the 20th century based on this work was created by Galina Volchek in Sovremennik. Alexander Aduev was played by Oleg Tabakov, his uncle – Mikhail Kozakov. All three received the USSR State Prize for this work.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.