It has become a habit for plays written by the popular dramatist, Nadezhda Ptushkina, to be staged in a rather mundane way, with unoriginal stage decor and monotonous intonations that often makes them simplistic and boring. But the senior director at the Yugo-Zapad Theater, Valery Belyakovich, as a recognized master of invention and spectacle, has categorically rejected this approach. His "Makarena," an adaptation of Ptushkina's "While she was dying," throws the audience into the frenetic atmosphere of a carnival with its deafening Latin American rhythms, bright colors and violent passions. At the same time, it is a poignant melodrama about an old woman, Sofia Ivanovna (the well-known movie actress, Rimma Markova), trying to arrange her grown-up daughter's private life (Natalia Sivilkayeva); about the sloppy Igoryok, who becomes part of the household by mistake (Valery Afanasyev); and about a sprightly saleswoman, Dina, from the nearby vegetable store (Galina Galkina).
The effect is further enhanced by the director's unusual approach to the play itself. As if rising above the script, he makes it sound almost a parody of itself. And although his direction of the play is tightly controlled, it nevertheless still leaves the actors with enough space for improvisation.
Without doubt, the central figure in the play is Sofia Ivanovna. Naive and touching like a child, the wheelchair-bound old lady, more than anyone else in the world, wants everybody around her to be happy. She ingeniously believes all the incredible stories dreamt up by her daughter, and falls for all the traps set for her because she thinks that it is all done out of love. It is precisely Sofia Ivanovna's credulity and charm that encourages the casual visitor to stay on as a member of the household: Igoryok, who went to the wrong house, and Dina, who has seemingly appeared from nowhere.
It is the sort of thing that can probably happen in real life. Not having enough warmth from their own circle, people suddenly find it from complete strangers. Miraculously, they come together on Christmas Eve (the play's second name is "Christmas Dreams"), at a time when the unbelievable can happen.
The nearest dates to see the play are Nov. 11 and 12
125 Prospekt Vernadskogo