International Theater Day celebrated at the Gulag Museum and the Hermitage

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The Moscow Art Theater named after Chekhov is presenting the Art Theater Prize for the first time. One of its laureates was the oldest artist Stanislav Lyubshin. April 6, he will be 90 years old. It premieres in April. Director Kirill Vytoptov is staging a performance based on one of Alexander Kuprin’s stories, which Lyubshin chose himself.

Winner of the Art Theater Prize Stanislav Lyubshin in the play “Mephisto”. Photo: Ekaterina Tsvetkova

On the stage of the Hermitage Theater in St. Petersburg, built by the architect Giacomo Quarenghi on the order of Catherine II, where the auditorium resembles an ancient amphitheater, the premiere of the play “Petersburg Arlekino” directed by Sergei Kargin took place. It is based on the literary works “A Poem Without a Hero” by Anna Akhmatova, “The Puppet Show” by Alexander Blok, “Venetian Madmen” by Mikhail Kuzmin, the poetry of Nikolai Agnivtsev, the play “The Most Important” by Nikolai Evreinov.

Actress Anna Aleksakhina and students of the St. Petersburg Film and Television Institute are involved in the performance. Artist Nikoy Vylegzhaninova created costumes based on sketches by artists of the early 20th century Leon Bakst, Alexander Golovin, Mikhail Larionov, Sergei Sudeikin.

The action in the Gulag Museum made a strong impression on the audience. There, almost all day long, a whole series of documentaries by Maria Guskova and her colleagues were shown, the heroes of which were composer Vladimir Dashkevich, actress Tatyana Piletskaya, former manager of the Natalia Sats Musical Theater Roxana Sats. They remember their parents, their arrest, talk about the day of Stalin’s funeral. These are stunning testimonies of time and very sincere monologues.

Vladimir Dashkevich was five years old when his father was first arrested, but he remembered in detail how it happened and how he met him years later.

The father of Tatyana Piletskaya was sent to the camps only because he was German, and it was decided to send all representatives of this nationality away from the capitals.

Roxana Sats recalled her mother, an outstanding figure in the children’s theater, who also ended up in the camps. And Roxana herself managed to get housing only thanks to the intercession of the leadership of the Art Theater, which, in memory of her great father Ilya Sats, the author of the music for The Blue Bird, secured a room for her in a communal apartment. And she had nowhere to live. Neighbors constantly denounced her in order to get the room she occupied.

The story of Roxana Sats makes an incredible emotional impression. She honestly talks about her doubts, about how she was a supporter of Stalin, and only her husband and mother saved her from mistakes. Her husband did not let her go outside on the day of the funeral of the leader of all nations, and perhaps thereby saved her life. He just locked her in a room. On that day, due to the stampede in Moscow, there were hundreds of deaths.

But Vladimir Dashkevich bypassed the pandemonium by detour and entered the hall of farewell, where the coffin with the leader was exposed. I well remember, as he says, the pockmarked face of Stalin.

They also showed a film with the participation of choir conductor and teacher Vladimir Minin, who spoke about his childhood, the early death of his mother, who, being a swimmer, drowned. Her beautiful long hair got tangled, caught on a snag, and she could not swim out.

He recalls his grandmother, who was involved in his upbringing, many people who influenced his life, partly determined his professional choice.

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