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The Warsaw Voice » Stage & Screen » March 1, 2013
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Marriage, Russian-Style
March 1, 2013   
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A new and inventive production of Marriage, a comedy by Russian playwright Nikolai Gogol, is being staged by the Studio Theater in Warsaw. The production is directed by Ivan Vyrypaev, one of the most acclaimed contemporary Russian playwrights in Poland.

Marriage is the first time Vyrypaev has directed a play he did not write himself. A satire on the morals of 19th-century Russia, the play remains Gogol’s most famous work. The protagonist, Agafya Tikhonovna, wants to get married, driven by the desire to improve her social and financial standing. Her suitors, too, see marriage in terms of potential gains.

The superb Polish translation by writer and poet Julian Tuwim (1894-1953) sounds surprisingly fresh. The new production shows how universal Gogol’s story remains to this day. The actors’ stage presence is full of energy, overstated and mannerist, showing how Vyrypaev was inspired by comedia dell’arte as he reinvented Gogol’s characters.

Vyrypaev wanted to present Marriage to Polish viewers the way Russians see the play. Vyrypaev regards Gogol as an astute observer of human behavior and one of the first writers to notice the absurdity, travails and futility of human existence and then capture it in his dramas. Marriage can be also seen as a mystery play inspired by Russian Orthodox spirituality. In Warsaw, the air of mysticism is highlighted by a score of Orthodox Church songs which stand in contrast with the plot, but at the same time serve as a commentary on it. Similarly, the costumes, designed by Katarzyna Lewińska, seem like regular period outfits, but their excessively Eastern design calls to mind Russian animated films, especially when coupled with the way the actors move.

The cast include acclaimed Polish actors Karolina Gruszka, Monika Pikuła and Marcin Bosak.

Marzena Robinson

Studio Theater; Palace of Culture and Science, 1 Defilad Sq.

tel. 22 620-21-02, www.teatrstudio.pl

Upcoming performances: March 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22, 7 p.m.
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