Located in the centre of Moscow (at the Chistye PrudyRussian: Чистые пруды Metro Station), the renowned Sovremennik TheatreRussian: teatr «Sovremennik» or театр «Современник» was founded in 1956, in the midst of Krushchev’s Thawthe period from the early 1950s to the early 1960s when repression and censorship in the Soviet Union were relaxed, a period where the people could glimpse their future freedom after Stalin’s death. The theatre’s young team focused on representing everyday life in their performances, complete with its turmoils, problems and hopes. The performances’ emphasis on psychological interpretations, use of modern language and situations enabled spectators to view the protagonists as ordinary people. Despite numerous difficulties that the theatre encountered in the 1970s, it never deviated from its chosen path and is still loved today for its incredibly vibrant contribution to the theatre scene.
What to see in Moscow in the Sovremennik Theatre? The theatre has an extensive repertoire. On one hand, it treats with respect classical pieces that are always played to a full house. Love, friendship and treachery are always recurring themes, so Three SistersRussian: Tri sestry or Три сестры and The Cherry OrchardRussian: Vishnyovyi sad or Вишневый сад by Anton Chekhov, PygmalionRussian: Пигмалион by Bernard Shaw and The DecameronRussian: Декамерон by Giovanni Boccaccio are always well received by the audience. On the other hand, Galina Volchek, the artistic director of the Sovremennik Theatre, is always on the lookout for modern playwrights, whose works reflect present-day social events. For example, in 2011, the well-known rock musician Garik Sukachov directed the production of AnarchyRussian: Анархия, the play about ex-punks trying to fit into consumer society. The theatre stages AmsterdamRussian: Амстердам based on a play by Alexander Galin, Tell me, folks, where this train is going to…Russian: Skazhite, lyudi, kuda idyot etot poezd… or Скажите, люди, куда идёт этот поезд… by Anna Baturina, a young playwright from Yekaterinburgthe fourth-largest city in Russia, located on the east of the Ural Mountains, The Hare. A Love StoryRussian: Zayats. Love story or Заяц. Love story and Murlin MurloRussian: Мурлин Мурло by N. Kolyada. Plays from the 20th century are regularly staged, including Five EveningsRussian: Pyat' vecherov or Пять вечеров by A. Volodin and Journey into the WhirlwindRussian: Krutoy marshrut or Крутой маршрут by E. Ginzburg. The latter can justly be called a cult play of the Soviet Perestroikaa political movement for reformation within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during the 1980s until 1991 (‘reconstruction’) period; it is a dramatic story about the victims of Stalin’s repressions and about the importance of staying human amid inhuman conditions. First staged in 1989, it still holds great appeal for audiences.
Another important play is Three ComradesRussian: Tri tovarischa or Три товарища by Erich Maria Remarque. This story is about the friendship between three friends and the love of one of them for the charming Patricia Holman. The story unfolds in the Germany of the 1920s, against the background of postwar disruption and crisis. Remarque’s works were published in the Soviet Union during the ‘Thaw’ and made this German writer more popular here in Russia than he had ever been in Germany. Sixteen years after the premiere, it is still hard to get tickets Moscow theatre to see this play, since the themes of true friendship and love are never out of fashion.
At the origin of the Sovremennik Theatre was a group of young actors and directors who had just graduated from the Moscow Art Theatre SchoolRussian: shkola-studiya MKhAT or школа-студия МХАТ. Many of them became well-known and popular (Yevgeni Yevstigneyev, Igor Kvasha and Oleg Tabakov). Today, both the actors of the ‘old school’ (Valentin Gaft, Liya Akhedzhakova and Marina Neyolova) and young actors (Nikita Yefremov, Ilya Drevnov and Svetlana Ivanova) star in the plays staged here. For a long time, the troupe did not have its own stage and therefore played all over the city. In 1974, the theatre was given the building of ColiseumRussian: Kolizey or Колизей cinema at 19a, Chistoprudny (‘Clean Ponds’) BoulevardRussian: Chistoprudnyi bulvar or Чистопрудный бульвар, which now houses its main stage. The Coliseum was built in 1914 by Moscow architect Roman Klein in the neo-classical and Art Nouveau styles. In 1970, the building underwent complete refurbishment and an overhead crossing linked it to the adjacent five-storey building, which now accommodates rehearsal rooms, workshops and technical premises. An eight-storey cultural and business centre was added to it in 2003, with the theatre’s Another StageRussian: Drugaya stsena or Другая сцена situated on its lower two floors. Since 2014, the Sovremennik Theatre has been using a new venue (the Palace on the Yauza RiverRussian: Dvorets na Yauze or Дворец на Яузе), which now stages all main performances, while the stage on Chistoprudny Boulevard is closed for renovations.© 2016-2019 moscovery.com