The Vakhtangov stage
floor is delightfully empty and covered with white snow, on the back of which a
sculpture distinguishes oneself gently – a lovely Aphrodite in the winter
Summer Garden (set designer – Adomas Yacovskis). Love of Tuminas and Yacovskis
to monuments and gravestones became somehow evident in this exact space:
remember, we have been admiring recently a wonderful garden lion crowning the
deathly solemnity of the estate in “Uncle Vanya”?
Another monument to a culture gone by, limited by either a cemetery bar, or
the Summer Garden bars, has come up in snowy St. Petersburg
“Masquerade.” As if listening attentively through the howling of
terrible winds over Neva to the rhythms and meanings of Meyerhold’s
“Masquerade”, Tuminas puts his performance on as a funeral. And this
approach has its own iron logic: “Masquerade” has acquired its
exclusive and fatal significance in the Russian culture. Conceived by Meyerhold
in 1910, the performance for various reasons was released only in 1917, the
very day of the February Revolution and has become a prophecy of the
destruction of imperial Russia. In Theater. In the Vakhtangov theatre the
premiere was lounged the day before the war stareted, in June, 21, 1941. If we
continue this mystical line, Tuminas along with his collaborator, composer
Faustas Latenas, includes a Waltz by Aram Khachaturian, written especially for
the play in 1941.
To the strains of
the familiar sounds of the waltz by A.Khatchaturian, the snowy Summer Garden is
quickly turning into the cemetery, and its famous bar – into a tomb wall. The
Master of a mystical realism Tuminas writes a horrible scene: in a moment,
after having drown in Neva their dead comrade, the cemetery aphid, headed by
Unknown and Kazarin (Alexander Ryschenkov), climb up somewhere – without any
support, merging with a snow wall and hinting to the public that the whole
thing may not even be happening in the public gardens, but in hell.
However, the deadness is at times not just a concept of
“Masquerade”, but a characteristic of the play itself, still
surprisingly monotonous and impetuous, revealing the secrets with no plot.