The artistic director of the Malaya Bronnaya Theater, Andrei Zhitinkin, is successfully going ahead with a program to make his company one of the most popular in town. In pursuing this goal, he picks up drama pieces with exciting plots and invites popular actors to participate. His latest production, Frank Vedekind's "Lulu," which has never been staged in Russia before, is no exception.
The plot revolves around the life story of a young woman, Lulu (played by one of Moscow's most beautiful actresses, Alyona Yakovleva). She first appears as a 17-year-old blooming and fresh-faced girl who is married to an old, rich man, Doctor Golle (Gennady Saifullin). He soon dies, becoming the first in the long line of Lulu's lovers who come to an untimely end. Her second husband, artist Walter Schwartz (Alexander Tereshko), commits suicide, having realized that Lulu does not really love him. The third man in her life, aristocrat Ludwig Schoen (Oleg Vavilov), the only one Lulu really loves, she kills. Overcome with passion and his endless suspicions, Ludwig is partly responsible for pushing Lulu into taking the horrible step that will ruin her whole life. There is no end to the chain of her calamities: prison, escape, blackmail and the need to live in permanent hiding and poverty leaving her nowhere else to go except to a whorehouse, where she meets her death at the hands of Jack the Ripper.
Played by Alyona Yakovleva, Lulu is simultaneously a femme fatale and a helpless woman. All the men she meets lose their heads at the first sight of her. She charms everyone effortlessly but she is apparently horrified by her own powers all the more so because they bring her only misfortune.
With all her sensitivity and her great love for life, the beautiful Lulu gradually withers away. Her eyes become sunken with grief; her resonant, childish voice grows low and husky and her movements lose their former grace and resemble those of a captured animal. Finally she accepts death almost with resignation, as if acknowledging that there is nothing left to live for.
In choosing a story where heated passions and overwhelming emotions go hand in hand with their horrible downsides, Andrei Zhitinsky, as usual, has created a production filled with bright colors and invention. In so doing, he has provided further validation for his reputation as a director who deftly combines a focus on the box office and keeping an eye on the quality of the show.
The next performances are Dec. 1, 2.
Malaya Bronnaya Theater.
4 Malaya Bronnaya Ul.