The Moscow Puppet TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy teatr kukol or Московский театр кукол is the oldest state puppet theatre in the Russian capital, located 15 minutes from the city centre by metro and just a few steps from BaumanskayaRussian: Бауманская Metro Station. Shows for kids under 12 years of age adapted from classical children’s literature (CipollinoRussian: Чиполлино, Golden KeyRussian: Zolotoy klyuchik or Золотой ключик, ThumbelinaRussian: Dyuymovochka or Дюймовочка, etc.) form the basis of the theatre’s repertoire, however they are novel enough in their approach to theatre that these ancient stories are given new life. The theatre puts on some experimental performances, such as May NightRussian: Mayskaya noch or Майская ночь and Hedgehog in the FogRussian: Yozhik v tumane or Ёжик в тумане, where spectators are suggested to “watch” with their eyes closed and just absorb odours, sounds and even tastes. The theatre is open to children of different ages and offers shows for toddlers aged 1 to 3, children aged over 4 years old and also teenagers over 12 years old.
The THEATRE’S BUILDING AND INFRASTRUCTURE
The theatre is located in a building dating back to the 19th century. It is steeped in history; it is the place where Konstantin Stanislavski had his historic meeting with Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko in 1898, which eventually led to the foundation of the Moscow Art TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy Hudozhestvennyi teatr or Московский Художественный театр. The two legendary directors met in a restaurant, Slavyansky BazarRussian: Славянский базар, which was then situated in this building.
Puppets on display in the windows of this old mansion never fail to attract the attention of passers-by, and the first thing visitors see in the theatre’s lobby is an exhibition of theatre and custom-made puppets. As is the case with all puppet theatres, the Moscow Puppet Theatre is done in the chamber style. Its Big and Small hallsRussian: Bolshoy i Malyi zaly or Большой и Малый залы seat up to 243 and 81 viewers, respectively; both feature transforming seats which allow children to enjoy performances from the height of an adult. There is also a Playground HallRussian: Igrovoy zal or Игровой зал, a special space intended for staging the “Palm-Sized TheatreRussian: Teatr na ladoshke or Театр на ладошке” shows for the youngest visitors from 1 to 3 years old. Children and their parents are seated on the soft carpet and lean on pillows, there is no stage, and actors performs close to the spectators, on the same level as them. During shows, children move around, communicate with each other and with parents, actors talk to them and allow the little ones to touch the puppets performing for them. The Big and Small stages give performances for children over 5 years of age and for teenagers. The Gallery HallRussian: Galereynyi zal or Галерейный зал (with a separate entrance) houses the permanent exhibition, Japan: Puppets, Tales and LegendsRussian: Yaponiya: kukly, skazki, legendy or Япония: куклы, сказки, легенды. Visitors are offered walk-throughs and master classes, but make sure you check the time and location of these at the theatre in advance.
The Wonder TheatreRussian: Teatr chudes or Театр чудес, a young puppeteer school for children from 4 to 12 years of age, operates free of charge at the theatre. Visitors can also tour the theatre’s backstage.
THE REPERTOIRE AND CONCEPT OF THE THEATRE
The Moscow Puppet Theatre was initially called the Children’s Book TheatreRussian: Teatr detskoy knigi or Театр детской книги. One of its primary objectives was to instill a love of reading and literature in children, and hence the theatre’s repertoire was based on classical children’s books. This tradition continues today. Artistic director Boris Goldovsky believes that nothing makes better theatre for children than classical literary tales. “Just ask your child,” he says, “what he would like to see in a puppet theatre. And he will answer: BuratinoRussian: Буратино, Cipollino, Sister Alyonushka and Brother IvanushkaRussian: o sestritse Alenushke i brattse Ivanushke or о сестрице Аленушке и братце Иванушке.” This is why the theatre puts on performances using children’s favourite characters: Thumbelina, the NutcrackerRussian: Schelkunchik or Щелкунчик, Cipollino, Buratino, MoydodyrRussian: Мойдодыр and fantastic Russian folk tales. There are classical shows, where children see actors perform on stage, as well as interactive ones, when spectators become active participants in the show. Visitors will enjoy carnival-like performances (The Nutcracker, The TinderboxRussian: Ognivo or Огниво), especially popular during New Year celebrations. Every year, the theatre opens its season with a premiere that, depending on how it is received, may join the repertoire. All performances feature modern and exciting stage sets, music and songs and involve young actors.
The theatre often invites renowned directors to help in performances, including Golden Mask awarda Russian theatre festival and the National Theatre Award established in 1994 by the Theatre Union of Russia winners. Most puppet presentations allow the puppets to be seen alongside those who control them. Puppets act as equals, so to speak. Marionette shows, quite rare these days, are also on the performance list.
Some performances – for instance, Hedgehog in the Fog (6+) or May Night (12+) – assume that spectators will have their eyes closed and will just listen, feel and have just a few quick glances at the stage during the performance. Visitors and actors share the stage during the presentation, and it is up to the actors to create sound again and again, representing the passing of the wind with the movement of strips of fabric and depicting the world through tactile senses. Such shows are particularly popular with visually impaired persons.
The theatre also hosts the annual Moscow International Puppet FestivalRussian: Moskovskiy mezhdunarodnyi festival teatrov kukol or Московский международный фестиваль театров кукол.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com