Love Drama That Left Everybody Silent
Chulpan Khamatova, Andrei Merkuriev, 4 projection screens and 24 black chairs – this is all that Alla Sigalova needed to change the Russian theatre history for good. On 21 November the Theatre of Nations staged its famous “Poor Liza” play which was built upon Leonid Desyatnikov’s “Poor Liza” chamber opera. Desyatnikov, born in 1955, was inspired by the classic sentimental tale by Nikolai Karamzin (1766-1826) when was a student at the conservatoire in the 1970-s.
In 2008 the choreographer and director Alla Sigalova has resolved to return “Poor Liza” to the stage by transforming the chamber opera for two voices into a choreographic duet by actress Chulpan Khamatova and Andrei Merkuryev, a soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre.
In Sigalova’s version the action begins in a contemporary movie theatre. Two people — a he and a she — have come to a midnight showing and they are the last ones left in the house. Strange and unexpected things begin to happen when Desyatnikov’s music begins to play — reality is distorted, images begin to come to life on screen and, before we know it, we have lost track of where film gives way to theatre, and where music arises out of dance.
In this creative, boldly experimental “Poor Liza”, Karamzin’s sentimentality and Desyatnikov’s delicate neo-romanticism come together with Sigalova’s brash, contemporary choreography and the unbridled energy of the famous, young performers.
Chulpan Khamatova, who hasn’t had much formal dance training, danced amazingly fluently and it was her, who really pitched the tragedy theme into the play. The perfection of Merkuriev’s moves were just a shoulder for her to lean on. Seduced and left alone, Khamatova’s Liza is so deep in love that life is unbearable for her without it. This sad story is a warning for everyone who has an intention of playing with love. But it is also a clear sign of that love is not going to stop playing with us.
The Kazan public was a bit shocked by that actors do not say a word during the entire play, a couple of spectators even left. One of them explained me later that he was not ready for such a dramatic change of Khamatova’s image in theatre. He was expecting her to speak out. As for the majority of viewers, they were so much consumed by the silent duet that after the ovation they left the theatre’s hall without saying a word.
A beautiful girl dies, a playboy lives. No fair trade.
Photos courtesy of http://en.allasigalova.ru/