Among the attractions which cater to children, the S.V. Obraztsov Puppet TheatreRussian: teatr kukol Obraztsova or театр кукол Образцова is a must- visit. It is the largest puppet theatre in the world. Many of its performances have become benchmarks for spectators and professional puppeteers. The famous clock on its facade with figurines looking out of small houses every hour is itself a good reason for a visit. At noon and at midnight, all the doors open and every resident of the clock houses turns up at once! The theatre is located in the centre of Moscow in a building constructed especially for it in 1971. It has frequently been repaired and renovated since that time. Its ground floor is occupied by the Puppet MuseumRussian: Музей кукол which is also one of the largest in the world. You can visit the museum only if you have a ticket to a performance. Once every two years, in autumn, the International Puppet Festival is held at the theatre. It brings together puppeteers from all over the world.
This unique theatre was founded in 1931 by Sergei Vladimirovich Obraztsov, an outstanding theatre personality, actor, director, playwright, and writer. He directed the theatre performances until his death. Performances staged by him are regarded as masterpieces of world theatre and are still on the theatre productions list. They include: “As If by Magic” (1936), “Aladdin’s Magic Lamp” (1940), “An Unusual Concert” (1946), “The Divine Comedy” (1961). In the centre of Moscow, at 5/7 Glinishchevsky side streetRussian: Glinischevskiy pereulok or Глинищевский переулок Sergei Obraztsov’s memorial apartment is situated.
The theatre offers performances for both children and those who consider themselves to be adults. Its repertoire is aimed at 4 age groups: 1) children over 3, 2) children over 5, 3) children over 7, 4) children over 12 and adults. Theatre posters always specify any age restrictions. The theatre is open on weekdays as well as at weekends.
One of the theatre’s most famous performances is called, “The Unusual ConcertRussian: #Необыкновенный концерт#” Every theatre season opens with this performance. It is considered to be the most famous puppet performance of the 20th century and is registered in the Guinness Book of Records as a performance which has been played more than 10 thousand times in all corners of our country. This performance is a parody of artists of different genres. It is aimed at “adults” (for children over 12) and lasts for 2 hours with an interval.
Another hit of the Puppet Theatre is a performance for the youngest ones called “As If by MagicRussian: #По щучьему велению#”. It involves a sled, which, as if by magic, runs by itself. The wood is also cut by magic and not by an axe; the laughter of the featured tsarevna and all of the magic featured in the show have amused spectators for decades. A uniquely constructed round folding screen invented by Obraztsov is used in this performance.
“Aladdin’s Magic LampRussian: #Волшебная лампа Алладина#” is themed on the Arabic fairy tales, “One Thousand and One Nights” is considered to be the most colourful performance of all, dating back to 1940. Oriental palaces and gracious puppets enchant spectators at first sight.
If a child aged under 3 years old goes to the Theatre for the first time, a perfect choice will be “The Cunning HedgehogRussian: #Хитрый Ежик#”. During the performance, young spectators are encouraged to move around, answer some questions, and shout at fever pitch because the Fox steals a goose from little Alyonka and she has to be woken up! Every year new performances are added to the theatre repertoire. Among the latest ones is “Snowman” (the Golden Mask awarda Russian theatre festival and the National Theatre Award established in 1994 winner for Best Actor and Best Design) and “The Old Seignior and…” (the Golden Mask award winner for Best Actor) are particularly interesting. In recent years, the children’s repertoire has been extended with “The Blue Bird”, “All Others and a Dog”, “The Scarlet Flower”, “Three Piglets”, “The Hedgehog’s Summer”, “Ali-Baba and the Forty Thieves”. Some very beautiful performances for adults have been added, including “The Marriage of Figaro”, “The Old Seignior and…”, “Mr. Nose”, “Don Quixote”.
The theatre has three halls: the Big Hall, the Small Hall, and the Third Stage. Compared to the regular drama theatres, the halls contain chambers; 21 rows in the Big Hall, 10 rows in the Small Hall, and just 4 rows on the Third Stage. Bear in mind that the Third Stage is located in a separate building, so you will not be able to see the Puppet Museum if you visit it. Small cushions are provided for children’s comfort, so that a child can sit up higher. There are also seats which can be lifted to make watching comfortable for a child.
The Puppet Museum is particularly interesting. You can see its display before the performance (spectators are allowed to enter the theatre 45 minutes prior to the performance) and during the interval if you go the see a play in the main building. It is one of the largest museums of its kind in the world; puppets with different manipulating systems from different countries and epochs are displayed in its window cases. Sergei Obraztsov’s first puppets – Him and Her – are on display here as well. They are globe-heads, which Obraztsov put on his fingers. They are the symbol of the theatre and are depicted in all the tickets, theatre posters, and programs. The exhibition also hosts Spejbl and Hurvinek, the most popular puppets of the Czech Republic. The theatre is located in the Garden RingRussian: Sadovoye koltso or Садовое кольцо however there is no parking beside it. If you come by car, make sure you leave yourself an extra 15 minutes to find a place to park. The theatre is closed from August to mid-September.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com