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Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre presents season of Chekhov, Brecht and Aitmatov at the Barbican

One person dressed up as a man

Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre

Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre, under its Artistic Director, Evgeny Pisarev, present The Cherry Orchard and The Good Person of Szechwan in the Barbican Theatre during the week of 4 – 9 February 2019 plus a new performance without words, Mother’s Field, based on a story by Chingiz Aitmatov, in The Pit.

The Pushkin Theatre would like to acknowledge the generous support of Roman Abramovich

Russian screen and stage star, Victoria Isakova, plays Lyubov Ranevskaya in Vladimir Mirzoyev's enigmatic, soulful production of Chekhov’s prophetic masterpiece, The Cherry Orchard. The epitome of measured elegance, Ranevskaya, returns to her estate when she learns her beloved orchard is to be sold off to repay debts. Beautiful, romantic, sensual and irresponsible, Ranevskaya is haunted by the ghost of her drowned son, Misha, who is given a physical presence on stage. He haunts the drama as the impending sale and destruction of the cherry orchard become inevitable. Ranevskaya and her family entourage fail to recognise their plight, living in denial, while the world they know succumbs to the tide of transformation led by the upwardly mobile Lopakhin, played by screen and stage star, Alexander Petrov. The Cherry Orchard embodies the spirit of Russia at the turn of the 20th century and Vladimir Mirzoyev's ghostly, contemporary version conveys societal collapse recognisable in more recent events.

Yuriy Butusov directs a bold, vigorous production of Brecht’s parable, The Good Person of Szechwan. The gods come to Earth in search of a good person and find Shen Te, a sex worker, who puts them up for the night. The gods reward her good deed, enabling her to buy a tobacco shop and try to turn her life around. But being good and poor is not easy and soon various freeloaders take advantage of her generosity leading Shen Te to invent a non-existent cousin, Shui Ta, who is ruthless and pragmatic enough to thwart everyone’s exploitative schemes.

Alexandra Ursulyak gives a bold, compelling performance of the opposing cousins, painting a vivid picture of an individual trapped by circumstance and the unfairness of humans and gods alike. The problem of how to remain good and survive in a cruel world remains unsolved. Ursulyak's performance won her a Golden Mask Theatre Award in Russia and she heads an ensemble of actors and musicians who perform Paul Dessau's songs in the original German. With its focus on the duality of human nature and the odds of survival in unstable circumstances this production is uncompromising and politically potent.

Mother’s Field is based on an enduring story by Soviet-Kyrgyz writer, Chingiz Aitmatov.  Revered as a giant of 20th century Russian literature, Aitmatov published his story eighteen years after the Second World War, ushering in mythical folklorish elements to his realistic fiction.

Tolgani, a strong Kyrgyz woman, has a special connection with Mother Earth, a companion in whom she confides and seeks commiseration. Granted a healthy family, her bounty is lost to misfortune when war intervenes. Back in her beloved fields, her heart is torn apart by grief.

Striking physicality and gesture convey the narrative in this potent performance without words – a brave plea for peace and humanity directed and choreographed by Sergei Zemlyansky. Set to a haunting musical score characterised by the sounds of the cello, the young artists of the Pushkin Company convey thoughts and emotions via movement rather than speech in this expressive performance.  Mother's Field explores timeless themes of family relationships, nationhood, war and survival.

Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre has been under the artistic direction of Evgeny Pisarev since 2010. His bold, energetic leadership has produced thought-provoking work from across the repertoire including The Marriage of Figaro, Drums in the Night, The Good Person of Szechwan, Tartuffe and The Cherry Orchard. Pisarev has worked with Declan Donnellan during the Chekhov International Theatre Festival since 2001 and in 2013 invited Donnellan and Cheek by Jowl to co-produce Measure for Measure with the Pushkin Theatre. Premiered in Moscow 2013, the production was subsequently staged at the Barbican in London (2015), Paris, Madrid, Chicago, Sydney and at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2016. Measure for Measure continues to tour internationally.

ENDS

Press information

For further information, images or to arrange interviews contact:
Bridget Thornborrow, bridget.thornborrow@barbican.org.uk or 07802 166594

Journalists please note that there will be an opportunity to visit Moscow to see all three productions in November 2018.

Listings information

The Cherry Orchard
by Anton Chekhov
Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre
Russia
Directed by Vladimir Mirzoev
Set Design by Alexander Lisyansky
Costumes by Alla Kozhenkova
Performed by Victoria Isakova, Alexander Petrov, Natalia Reva-Ryadinskaya, Taisiya Vilkova, Andrey Sukhov, Vera Voronkova, Mikhail Zhigalov, Sergey Miller, Anastasia Mitrazhik, Artem Yeshkin, Alexander Dmitriev and Oleg Pishnenko
Tue 5 & Wed 6 Feb 2019 (2 performances)
Barbican Theatre
7pm
2 hours 50 mins/including interval
£16-£85 plus booking fee
Premium Seats: £125 (£150 Premium Package)
The Premium Package seats also include a complimentary glass of champagne and a programme
Age Guidance: 14+
Press night: Tue 5 Feb 2019, 7pm

Presented by the Barbican

Tour produced by Oksana Nemchuk in association with ArtsBridge

The Pushkin Theatre would like to acknowledge the generous support of Roman Abramovich

The Good Person of Szechwan
by Bertolt Brecht
Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre
Russia
Directed by Yuriy Butusov
Set Design by Alexander Shishkin
Lighting Design by Alexander Sivaev
Music by Paul Dessau
Music Direction by Igor Gorsky
Performed by Alexandra Ursulyak, Alexander Matrosov, Anastasia Lebedeva, Alexander Arsentiev, Vera Voronkova, Andrey Sukhov, Irina Petrova, Anna Begunova, Aleksey Rahmanov, Natalia Reva-Ryadinskaya, Alexander Dmitriev, Ivan Litvinenko
Fri 8 & Sat 9 Feb 2019 (3 performances)
Barbican Theatre
7pm; also 1pm on Sat 9 Feb 2019
3 hours 20 mins/including interval
£16-£85 plus booking fee
Premium Seats: £125 (£150 Premium Package)
The Premium Package seats also include a complimentary glass of champagne and a programme
Age Guidance: 16+
Press night: Fri 8 Feb 2019, 7pm

Presented by the Barbican

Tour produced by Oksana Nemchuk in association with ArtsBridge

The Pushkin Theatre would like to acknowledge the generous support of Roman Abramovich

Mother’s Field
based on a story by Chingiz Aitmatov
Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre
Russia
Directed by Sergei Zemlyansky
Set Design by Maxim Obrezkov
Music by Pavel Akimkin
Performed by Natalia Reva-Ryadinskaya, Sergey Miller, Vladimir Motashnev, Evgeniy Plitkin, Rodion Dolguirev, Anastasia Panina, Olga Demina
Sat 9 Feb 2019
The Pit
2.30pm and 7.45pm
1 hour 10 mins/no interval
Age Guidance: 14+
£35–45 plus booking fee
Press performances: Sat 9 Feb 2019, 2.30pm and 7.45pm

Presented by the Barbican

Tour produced by Oksana Nemchuk in association with ArtsBridge

The Pushkin Theatre would like to acknowledge the generous support of Roman Abramovich

Events

The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
Barbican Theatre

Tuesday 5–Wednesday 6 February 2019
Press night: Tuesday 5 February, 7pm

The Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht
Barbican Theatre

Friday 8–Saturday 9 February 2019
Press night: Friday 8 February, 7pm

Mother’s Field – Based on a story by Chingiz Aitmatov
The Pit

Saturday 9 February 2019
Press performances: 2.30pm & 7.45pm