The younger generation of theater actors and directors is strongly attracted to various experiments. For instance, some are no longer interested in participating in traditionally written plays. So, they have ventured to write their own scripts, based on plays, novels or simply well-known narratives or true stories. Recently, I had the chance to see one such experiment: Young actors from several Moscow theaters, led by actor/director Andrei Riklin, created and performed a musical "Duel" at the Russian Youth Theater.
The structure of this performance unites scenes from such famous plays as "Cyrano de Bergerac" by Edmond Rostand; "Richard III," "Hamlet" and "The Taming of the Shrew" by William Shakespeare; and "La dame de Monsoreau" by Alexandre Dumas, among others. Steel rapier blades become a uniting symbol for these scenes. In short, every scene is a duel.
Here a duel represents a system of interpersonal relationships among the characters. It could be done for the sake of defending one¨Vs honor as well as fighting for the lives of one¨Vs friends, or it could be a sort of ritual, a bloody form of entertainment, or perhaps even a way of expressing love. Two love scenes are the most illustrative: the famous scene where Richard III seduces Anne and the first encounter between Petruchio and Katherine in "The Taming of the Shrew."
In the first duel, it is a tragic clash without a winner or a loser - both duelists receive similar wounds to the heart, following Shakespeare¨Vs intention for this scene. In the second duel, it is a delightful and sensual game, a form of entertainment that grows into a rather serious romantic affair. Physical movements play a big role in this scene. Guiseppe Arena, who works all over the world and, more specifically, in Milan's La Scala Theater, choreographed the scene, creating true miracles with the young actors. Thanks to the choreographer¨Vs skill, the movement in the scene becomes primary, moving the text aside and becoming the primary indicator of the relationship between the two characters.
Overall, "Duel" is an interesting experiment in theatrical art, bringing us closer to the ideal of a synthesis play - a combination of such equally important elements as music, lighting, movement and text - which, perhaps, represents the future of theater.
The next performance is Dec. 11.
Russian Youth Theater.
2 Teatralnaya Ploshchad.
Metro: Okhotny Ryad.