Spotlight on St. Petersburg Theaters: Maly Drama
Katya Boyarskaya is a long-time MIR tour manager, guide, and director of MIR’s affiliate St. Petersburg, Russia office. She was born into a theatrical family in St. Petersburg, graduating as a drama theater critic and historian from the College of Theatrical Arts. In a series on St. Petersburg’s famous theaters, Katya shares one of her favorites, Maly Drama.
Next time take in a play at the Maly Drama Theater in St. Petersburg, where most shows are sub-titled in English. The company tours the world, performing in many U.S. cities with its most popular productions: Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, and most recently the beloved Cherry Orchard. So now the Maly has all three classic Chekhov plays in its repertoire.
Think how tempting and satisfying it would be to spend an evening listening to Chekhov in Russian – performed by Russia’s best actors – and checking your cheat sheet (a.k.a. sub-titles) from time to time.
Even today, the Maly is one of the few theaters that continues to stage plays from the Soviet era, such as Fyodor Abramov’s Brothers and Sisters, as well as many others from Soviet-era authors who wrote about the realities of life under the Soviet regime.
Besides the artistic value of the productions, Dodin’s achievements also were in preserving the type of theater-home which brought world fame to Russian theater in general, beginning with Konstantin Stanislavsky, best known for inventing method acting (originally called the Stanislavsky Method). His was “repertory theater” with a permanent troupe of actors devoted to the director’s ideas, complemented with ideas from his pupils – a kind of home-like atmosphere of give and take. (This contrasts with Broadway-type productions, where a group of actors are put together for one single show.)
- Advance planning: This isn’t the place for a last-minute outing: The Maly Drama Theater typically plays to a packed house, so it’s best to buy tickets well in advance.
- Read first: To truly enjoy a performance at Maly Drama Theater, read the play before you go.
(Top photo credit: Katya Boyarskaya. The entrance of MDT – Maly Drama Theater)
PUBLISHED: January 12, 2015