Troilus and Cressida (2008)

The performance “Troilus and Cressida” was the first performance put up by Rimas Tuminas in the Vakhtangov Theatre which he took the lead of in 2007. The first night of this performance took place on November 6, 2008.

History and art have eternal plots which are retold, updated and stop being a reality turning into myths. Among such plots is abduction of the Greek beauty Helen, Menelaus’s wife, by the Trojan prince Paris. It all could end as an especial case if the Greek did not start the war against Troy to return Helen, wipe out the disgrace of marital infidelity and redeem honor and dignity. The first one to tell this story was Homer even though he wasn’t a witness of those events, and neither was Middle Ages poet Chaucer nor Renaissant Boccaccio… Each of the authors rethought the source in their own way. Neither did William Shakespeare avoid this fate. “Troilus and Cressida” holds a special position in Shakespeare’s works both by time of creation and attractive mysteriousness. The history of the theatre cannot boast of variety of performances, and seems like Shakespeare’s contemporaries did not notice “Troilus and Cressida”. The history-ries and the best comedies had been written, the question “To be or not to be?” had already been asked. And the genius’s imagination focused on the fates of King Lear, Othello, Macbeth… And yet among these masterpieces — “Troilus and Cressida” as a search for a new dramaturgic form breaking the narrative line of the long-standing mastery and trying to look behind the horizon into an unknown time. 300 years later Bernard Shaw advanced a paradoxical idea about this play: “Shakespeare and ready to and wanted to start the twentieth century if only the seventeenth century could let him do that”.

Rimas Tuminas, a stage director of the XXI century saw eternal and contemporary issues in “Troilus and Cressida”. The brittle dramaturgic composition of “Troilus and Cressida” turned out not so far from the modern drama. Centuries which passed from the date of creation did not manage to level down the metaphors, the sophistication of dialogues dressed by the bitter pepper of scandal and sometimes even by plain indecency.

It’s been seven years that the Greeks lay siege to Troy? The battle place lacks heroic signs, it rather resembles a scrap-heap, an ugly landscape after a battle which lost sense long ago. A continuous anemic war steeped in negotiations, squabbles, minor scuffles, but it’s still a war. It’s still a catastrophe, whether or not it is launched because of statesmen’s ambitions, an accidental trouble, a blind passion. A war which turns harmony into chaos, beauty into molder, dignity into slavery. In Rimas Tuminas’s performance, a grotesque absurd world reigns where robbery and debauchery prevail. Where Troilus and Cressida are heroes and victims of this folly. The Greek-Trojan war, like any other, is not so much terrible by destructions of the material world, privations, diseases and famine. Its main danger lies in the deformation of soul, loss of dignity, conscience and mercy. Shakespeare could write a morality on this topic (fortunately, this theatre still existed). But the great dramatist chose another genre— a marketplace genre — farce. The genre neither limited by artistic taboo, nor by moral taboo, where heroism is akin to roguery, dexterity — to disingenuity, wisdom — to vulpinism, where false flattery replaces respectable praise, and rough satire replaces delicate irony.

So, seems like the author of the 17th century, Shakespeare, and the stage director of the 21st century, Tuminas, agreed. Their “Troilus and Cressida” is a satiric farce. Dear spectators, when you come to the Vakhtangov Theatre to see the performance “Troilus and Cressida” please check your knowledge of the Greek-Trojan war at the door. Do not try to test fit it on what you see on the stage. Don’t be irritated and treat the discordance of your erudition and the artist’s work of imagination peacefully. “Troilus and Cressida” is the stage director’s fantasy. There is always a special world of theatre, game, unpredictability in the performances of R. Tuminas. Images and metaphors are not read off immediately, they sometimes corner, cause rejection, aggression. Don’t jump to conclusions. These contingencies have their pattern and odd parts of the mosaic will gradually form a picture and reveal another sense which you didn’t even suspect. 

Main Stage

Premiere was on 6 November 2008

Characters & Cast:

tsar of Troya
Alexander Pavlov
Priam’s sons
TroilusLeonid Bichevin
HectorArtur Ivanov
ParisOleg Lopuhov
Troyan commanders
Eney Vladimir Beldiyan
AnteanorVasily Simonov
Dmitriy Kuznetsov
Cresside’s uncle
Vladimir Simonov
Greek commander
Anatoliy Menshchikov
his brother
Andrei Zaretskiy
Greek commanders:
AkhillVictor Dobronravov
AyaksEvgeny Kosyrev
HectorAlexander Grave
Eugeny Fedorov
Alexei Kuznetsov
UlissesOleg Makarov
DiomedAlexander Ryshchenkov
PatroklSergey Epishev
Tercit Yury Kraskov
Cresside’s servant
Valery Ushakov
Menelay’s wife
Maria Aronova
Hector’s wife
Marina Esipenko
Ekaterina Simonova
Priam’s daughter
Anna Antonova
Cresside Eugenia Kregzhde
Myrmydon birds Anastasia Vasilieva
Alexander Soldatkin
Dmitry Solomykin
Alexandra Platonova
Rodion Vyushkin
Aleksandra Prokofyeva


Production Rimas Tuminas
Scenography Yulian Tabakov
Composer Faustas Latenas