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Artists of the Moscow Art Theater named after Gorky complain about the lack of work

In November, the Gorky Moscow Art Theater should open after repairs.  Photo: Alexander Avilov/AGN "Moscow"

In November, the Gorky Moscow Art Theater should open after repairs. Photo: Alexander Avilov/AGN “Moscow”

In November Gorky Moscow Art Theater should open after repair. Now the theater is rehearsing a play based on the story of Valentin Rasputin “Suddenly and unexpectedly” and rehearsals of “Cinderella” by Yevgeny Schwartz. Both premieres should be released before the New Year. But these are plans.

From the nearest events – a tour in St. Petersburg with the play “Yesenin’s Women” (directed by Galina Polishchuk) based on the book by Zakhar Prilepin. The performance will be shown on October 18 and 19 on the stage of the theater-festival “Baltic House”. It seems that life has not stopped completely, despite the large-scale renovation. However, they write on social networks that the actors of the Moscow Art Theater are dissatisfied with director Vladimir Kekhman. In the year that he is at the helm (he was appointed General Director of the Gorky Moscow Art Theater on October 27, 2021), not a single premiere has been released. “Yesenin’s Women” does not count – they were planned by the former artistic director Eduard Boyakov, who left the theater immediately after Kekhman’s appointment.

“Kehman has not fulfilled almost any of his promises made to him immediately after his appointment. Nothing new is rehearsed (except for “Unexpectedly” by the Baltic director Galina Polishchuk with the same “own” actors from Yesenin’s Women). Nothing is being restored from the old repertoire,” theater fans recently wrote in a group on VKontakte. They say that these critical posts are written by the same person, “a great patriot of the Gorky Moscow Art Theater,” who fought with Boyakov two years ago. Now his main enemy is Kekhman.

Another object for scathing criticism (not only from the “patriots of the Moscow Art Theater”) is the new press secretary (“director of communications”) Daria Vasilyeva. “My goal is the theater’s first place in the Moscow entertainment that came to your mind,” Daria wrote ingenuously on the Telegram channel of the academic theater. She sees her main task – to make the Moscow Art Theater “a popular vacation spot.” Quotes about “a popular holiday destination” and about “the first Moscow entertainment that came to mind” scattered across all social networks.

There are dissatisfied in the theater, there are artists who are completely unemployed, there are attempts, not very successful, to find directors for new productions. Plus a protracted repair in the visual area. At the first stage, it is a foyer, an auditorium, where the orchestra pit is enlarged, audio and video equipment is changed. On the one hand, the difficulties are objective. It was no longer possible to leave everything as it was: for 50 years of existence Moscow Art Theater on Tverskoy Boulevard, everything in it is morally obsolete. We had to change equipment. Given the sanctions, we had to look for new suppliers, etc. On the other hand, for some reason, the theater management did not rent stationary venues so that the theater would continue to work and play performances. Now everyone is waiting for the results of the repair and the first premieres, which will be released under the new director.

And in the meantime Kekhman reduced vacation for artists from 56 to 28 days. Of course, it is ridiculous to read about claims for double vacation, when the artists do not play for half a year (even more), but receive a salary.

But the 56-day vacation privilege exists legally. It appeared in the late 1940s at the leading federal theaters (Bolshoi and Maly, Mariinsky and Alexandrinka, Vakhtangov, Moscow Art Theater). But this is when the theater works …

– Yes, we are shortening our holidays. We have already agreed with this reluctantly, although we are required by law to take a long vacation, ”confirmed the Honored Artist of the Russian Federation Lydia Matasova. But it’s not about vacation. It’s terrible that we don’t play performances. All artists want to work, play. Other theaters were also closed for repairs, but at the same time they played their repertoire at stationary venues. For some reason, they can’t rent a stage for us, it doesn’t work out with tours either. So far, only Yesenin’s Women are playing. But we get paid, and that’s good.

– Tatyana Vasilievna Doronina knows about what is happening, what does she say? She is the president of the theatre.

– Tatyana Vasilievna is still being treated after covid. Recently, the theater congratulated her on her birthday. She had it on September 12th. Several people, the closest ones, visited her. Tatyana Vasilievna is in a good mood. At first she wanted to communicate with everyone via video link, but then she changed her mind. Thanks for the congratulations.

– What is happening now behind closed doors of the theater?

– There are rehearsals of the play “Unexpectedly, unexpectedly.” Cinderella is being rehearsed. The inputs go to “Three Sisters”. I am not involved in these performances. The auditorium is under renovation. Artists work in rep halls. But far from the entire troupe, in which there are almost 90 people

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