One of Moscow’s most popular theatres, the Et Cetera Theatre was founded in the 1990s. Whilst it is loved by many, some spectators are not impressed with the theatre’s unusual design. Many spectators come here to see Alexander Kalyagin, one of the most brilliant Russian actors of the last several decades. He is the founder and the director of the Et Cetera Theatre and both stages and performs in many plays. The theatre actively cooperates with well-known directors and actors, such as R. Sturua, V. Verzhbitsky, M. Leonidov, E. Steblov, D. Strakhov and many others. The stylistic extravagance of the theatre’s interior generates much interest among theatregoers.
Historical background of the theatre and its building
Alexander Kalyagin decided to create a theatre in 1990, when a group of his students graduated from the Moscow Art Theatre SchoolRussian: Shkola-studiya MKhAT or Школа-студия МХАТ. They were talented actors who refused to separate and instead created their own troupe, while continuing to seek counsel from their former teacher and mentor. Initially, the team did not have a permanent stage, and in 2002, after working in scarcely suitable facilities, Kalyagin persuaded the Moscow authorities to authorise the construction of a theatre with the unusual name Et Cetera, on Clean PondsRussian: Chistye prudy or Чистые пруды.
Constructing the building turned out to be an arduous task. Kalyagin did not like any templates of similar structures, and so he proposed his own layout. Several architects were in charge of the project because the first architect left in protest due to constant interference and corrections. The theatre was built in 2005, and the resulting building looked so unusual that many professionals called it absurd kitsch. The half rectangular, half rounded beige and orange structure certainly attract attention with the constructivist tower adorning one of its corners and windows of various configurations and styles, including, oddly enough, a Venetian window.
The theatre’s interior does not have much in common with other theatres either, with its giant hall featuring a plethora of decorations, staircases with wrought irons rails and picturesque corridors rendered in various designs and colours. The theatre has a 525-seat auditorium and a smaller, 150-seat one, a spacious bar and a cozy tearoom. The lounges in the Big Auditorium have interesting names: Ariel LoungeRussian: Lozha Ariel or Ложа Ариэль, Falstaff LoungeRussian: Lozha Falstafa or Ложа Фальстафа, Godot LoungeRussian: Lozha Godo or Ложа Годо, Arlequin LoungeRussian: Lozha Arlekina or Ложа Арлекина, etc. All the lounges feature different designs. The soft and comfortable chairs in the auditorium are of various styles and colours, but all are made and upholstered in brocade in Italy. The intricate interiors are worth visiting for their own sake. The lavish central chandelier which disappears into the ceiling just before the start of the performance is particularly impressive.
Special care has been taken to ensure that everything happening on the stage is audible and visible from any position in the theatre. The main auditorium has a moveable stage and state-of-the-art equipment and acoustics are used in all performances. Situated on the upper floor, the Small Auditorium, or the Efros AuditoriumRussian: zal Efrosa or зал Эфроса, is just as comfortable as the larger and is very intimate as actors are able to perform very close to the audience.
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Et Cetera’s creative activities
The theatre’s team is very solid; its highly varied repertoire includes the classics and modern plays by Russian and foreign authors. Even the shows’ titles are intriguing and original – All Those Who Are Drifting ByRussian: Vse proplyvayuschie or Все проплывающие; The Dark Lady of the SonnetsRussian: Smuglaya ledi sonetov or Смуглая леди сонетов; The Manual for Those Who Wish to MarryRussian: Rukovodstvo dlya zhelayuschikh zhenit'sya or Руководство для желающих жениться; Hope, Faith and Love. The Music of VictoryRussian: Nadezhda, Vera i lyubov. Muzyka pobedy or Надежда, Вера и любовь. Музыка победы; Your ChekhovRussian: Vash Chekhov or Ваш Чехов; To Suppress and to ExciteRussian: Podavlyat' i vozbuzhdat' or Подавлять и возбуждать, and so on. No wonder viewers come in crowds to see these performances, hoping for unusual interpretations and unconventional acting. Stage sets and special effects are also varied and spectacular; characters fly over the stage, walk into water and appear from nowhere. As well as Alexander Kalyagin, performances are staged by ambitious young directors such as Robert Sturua, Alexander Morfov, Oskar Korshunovas and Vladimir Pankov, to name just a few. Actors coming here from other theatres inject new blood into the troupe’s long-established traditions.
Children get tremendously excited at the theatre’s special atmosphere. They find the interior to be truly magical and abandon themselves completely in what is happening onstage. Children are engaged by the staff at this theatre and it is not uncommon that an actor welcomes them with an interactive programme before the performance starts. Parents with babies and toddlers can make use of the “theatre nanny”, who will look after their little ones during the show.© 2016-2022 moscovery.com