The Arty Semite

Manipulating Shostakovich

By Gwen Orel

Courtesy Dmitry Krimov

A wall comes to life. Arms appear in what had seemed like empty black suits hanging on them. The seven actors in the company, in evening dress, whom we’ve seen singing, playing with pieces of paper, join hands with the arms. Together the actors and the limbs on the wall do a kind of Hora. Later, a 17-foot high puppet of a babushka embraces, and menaces, a little clown. The clown is composer Dmitry Shostakovich. It’s like something from Dr. Seuss. It’s like a dream.

Though there are words in Dmitry Krymov’s “Opus No. 7,” both in the first part, titled “Genealogy,” and in the second act titled “Shostakovich,” much of the work’s punch lands through other kinds of theatrical language. Even the title evokes a piece of classical music, and the abstraction of painting.

The number 7 also refers to the seven members of the cast: Maxim Maminov, Mikhail Umanets, Sergey Melkonyan, Arkady Krichenko, Natalia Gorchakova, Maria Gulik and Varvara Voetskova. Krymov said in an email that it is also his favorite number. It is also Krymov’s seventh work. Another notable 7 is that Shostakovich’s seventh symphony was about war, Krymove pointed out.

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Mikhail Baryshnikov in Tel Aviv

By Michael Handelzalts

Crossposted from Haaretz

There are two excuses to see the play “In Paris,” which is playing this week at Tel Aviv’s Suzanne Dellal Center as part of a world tour. The first is a lovely story by Ivan Bunin about a missed opportunity. A “white” general who is living out his disappointment with life in Paris while writing the history of his wars meets a young Russian waitress, a fellow-emigre, experiences a late-in-life love affair, and dies a mundane death. A subject for a short story, as Trigorin noted to himself in Anton Chekhov’s “The Seagull.”

Alon Ron
Mikhail Baryshnikov taking photos.

The second is Mikhail Baryshnikov, a great dancer and charismatic man, who at this stage in his career and his life, when he has danced it all and won all due praise, can do anything.

For both of these excuses the play has a single justification: the creative imagination of Dmitry Krymov. His theater opens on an exposed stage, revealing all the tricks of the trade. By means of large cardboard cutouts on which sophisticated and precise projections are displayed, a revolving stage, and a group of five actors — singers and one Baryshnikov, aided by music, movement, and lighting, he creates a world full of imagination, in which even the translated subtitles constitute an aesthetic element.

Read more at Haaretz.com

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