The internationally acclaimed Maly Drama Theatre of St. Petersburg return to London for the first time in over a decade to play a highly anticipated ten-show engagement, opening at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket on May 8th. Described by Peter Brook as ‘the finest ensemble theatre in Europe’, casting is today announced for their forthcoming UK premiere of Vasily Grossman’s magnum opus, Life and Fate, and their critically acclaimed production of Anton Chekov’s Uncle Vanya.
The 28-strong cast sees Peoples’ Artist of Russia, Stanislavsky and Golden Soffit Award-winner Sergey Kuryshev, who has been a part of the company since 1989, lead both Life and Fate as Viktor Shtrum and Uncle Vanya in the titular role.
Banned because of the parallels it drew between Nazism and Soviet Communism, Life and Fate, is a sweeping panorama of Soviet Society and an epic tale of a country told through the fate of a single Jewish family, the Shtrum’s. From Nazi concentration camps to the Gulags of Siberia and the Soviet nuclear programme, as the battle of Stalingrad looms large the characters must work out their destinies in a world torn by ideological tyranny and war.
Kuryshev is joined in Lev Dodin’s epic adaptation of Grossman’s masterpiece, by Tatiana Shestakova (as Anna Shtrum, Viktor’s mother). Shestakova has acted with the Maly Drama Theatre since 1984 and her credits with the company include the role of Anna in Stars in the Morning Sky – the production which saw the company become the first international company to win an Olivier Award in 1989. Elena Solomonova appears as Victor’s wife, Lyudmila. Nadia, the Shtrum’s daughter, is played by Daria Rumyantseva.
Elizaveta Boyarskaya plays Lyudmila’s sister, Genia. Spotted by Dodin at the age of 16, she was cast in the production shortly thereafter and has played the part ever since, growing with the role over the past 15 years. Boyarskaya is known for her extensive work in Russian and international movies.
This critically acclaimed production, winner of the Golden Mask for best play, has toured around the world since its première in 2007, shining a light on the heart of 20th century darkness.
Vanya (Sergey Kuryshev), together with his niece Sonya (Ekatirina Tarasova), has sacrificed his life managing the estate of Professor Serebryakov (celebrated Russian film actor, Igor Ivanov), his former brother-in-law and Sonya’s father. But when the Professor returns from the city with his glamorous young wife Yelena (multi award-winning stage and screen actress Ksenia Rappoport) tensions spiral as their world is thrown upside down.
Chekhov’s tragicomic masterpiece of dashed dreams and thwarted and eternal love returns to London in Lev Dodin’s definitive interpretation of this classic play.