A couple of days ago I have seen an absolutely wonderful play at Pushkin Drama Theatre (I write a lot about theatre in Russian). But for now I want to share some pictures taken between the first and second acts. The theatre is quite simple and minimalistic on the outside, but… well, you will see everything in a minute!

But first, a bit of history.

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1914. A young actor and director Alexander Tairov is looking for place for his future theater – and he finds it, a “mysterious mansion with a beautiful door of ebony” on Tverskoy Boulevard. Brilliant actress, Tairov’s wife and muse Alisa Koonen is performing on stage. The new theatre becomes incredibly popular, its repertoire includes: Shakuntala and Salome, Optimistic Tragedy and Madame Bovary. In 1929 Tairov travels to Germany to meet Bertolt Brecht. He comes back with a text of The Threepenny Opera, given to him by the author.

Alexander Tairov created an emotional, elegant, “synthetic” theater of a brand new style, he brought up a whole generation ofthe most versatile and expressive actors. Tairov was constantly experimenting with staging, acting, scene movements, decorations and costume designs to find his own theatrical language and his audience, “unsatisfied and looking for someting” as himself.

Алиса Коонен и Александр ТаировAlisa Koonen and Aleksander Tairov

In 1936, after the release of a comic opera Heroes, mocking the events of ancient Russian history, the Soviet press starts attacking the theater and its creator. After the war a campaign against cosmopolitanism gets started. The government needed ideologically correct, conflict-free plays which were the opposite to those of Tairov. In 1949 the Chamber Theatre was closed by the government for “aestheticism and formalism”. A year later it reopens as the Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre. In that same year Alexander Tairov dies. Alisa Koonen finds strength to continue her theatre career.

Since 1950 the Pushkin theater was led by several Honored Artists, a whole era (2001 – 2010) is associated with the name of Roman Kozak, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation. He was inviting actors (Fomenko, Panin, Raikin, Mysina, Feklistov) and directors of the highest level. During these years, the Pushkin Theatre became one of the most popular theaters of Moscow. After the death of Roman Kozak in 2010, Yevgeny Pisarev becomes the artistic director of the theatre, a lot of brilliant and well-loved actors are playing on its stage: Vera Alentova, Victor Wierzbicki, Igor Bochkin, Tamara Lyakina, Maria Aronova, Sergey Lazarev and many others.

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