Vladimir Martynov – The Old Man and the Sea

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The Old Man and the Sea’, based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway and on music by Vladimir Martynov, is a music theater performance by the famous Russian stage director Anatoly Vasilyev, which is dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of a legend stage director Yuri Lyubimov. It will be showed at the Diaghilev Festival in Perm (Russia) which is artistically led by Teodor Currentzis…   

“The Old Man and the Sea” is the first Russian performance by director Anatoly Vasilyev after a long silence. A performance about theater as fate, life and as a miracle. It is dedicated to director Yury Lyubimov, whose name is associated with the era of theatrical and civil liberty in Russia in the second half of the twentieth century. There are two lines in the production: dramatic – by the legendary actress Alla Demidova, who played leading roles in Lyubov’s performances at the Taganka Theater in Moscow, and musical – by cult composer Vladimir Martynov. Music has been performed and recorded by ensemble Opus Post under Tatiana Grindenko.

The world premiere of the production took place on July 19, 2017 at the International Tchekhov Theater Festival in Moscow.

(Alena Karas:)

In the rays of the light curtain, the famous curtain of Lyubimov, we lose sight of the actress, her voice is separated from the body and enters the embossed acoustic sparring with the music of Vladimir Martynov. An old man’s fight with sharks — his last, hopeless and flawless battle for beauty and life — is like a mechanical ballet: the tentacles hidden under the blue cloth for a while suddenly wake up and start chasing the boat. Sea spray crystal beads, awakened by this secret mechanics, take off above the surface of the stage, and at some point it seems that it has receded, has become the sea. So, after a lot of mechanical efforts of the tongue and the sky, suddenly an image is born, a living life. Vasiliev knows the price of these contrasts. He himself is like a fisherman – he has long learned to wait patiently for the bait to work. Together with the space caster Igor Popov, they invented so many “baits”, so many delightful mechanisms and objects that one could make up a whole museum.

If you are engaged in theater as life, then you find yourself at the end of the line, next to the creation itself. They swum too far. This disastrous delight of art, it seems, has always been the theme of Vasiliev. In the parable of the old man and the sea, you can read his whole life in art as one scroll, like the quiet touch of cloth, wind, waves, fate.

(Alla Shenderova:)

Vasiliev dedicates this requiem to all the great theatrical quests. There is also a bow to the Chinese opera – a “real” lion coming onto the stage, an old man manages to fall asleep by tying a fishing line to his leg, and special effects worthy of the New Circus, which is so often brought to Chekhovsky; the boat drawn on the curtain resembles a hieroglyph – this is about the passion of Russian directors.

East, and Demidova, frozen in a ghostly light as a tragic statue, is an obvious homage to Robert Wilson’s performances. There is in the performance and much more. From Lyubimov. From Demidova. From Vasiliev. From our own life, which is meaningless, but to live, as this performance proves, it is as if its meaning exists.

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