Russia’s Maly Drama Theatre brings German poet and playwright Friedrich Schiller’s 1787 tragedy of class warfare and courtly intrigue to BAM. Performed in Russian with English titles.
Ferdinand, played by Danila Kozlovsky is the son of a high-ranking courtier, forced to marry Lady Milford in order to cement his family’s position at court. Instead, he falls for Louise, the daughter of a middle-class musician, and the resulting stream of insidious plots, legal injustices, and deadly misunderstandings exposes all the horrors wrought by politics in the name of idealism.
“An 18th century German masterpiece that couldn’t be more timely to revive...Dark tale of love and power...It all ends badly. But it’s spectacular to watch, thanks to Dodin’s distinctive directorial hand...Dodin understands the farcical elements embedded in tragedy. By infusing Schiller’s tragic tale with moments of ironic humor and stylized movement, Dodin underscores the dark theme of the abuse of power and how it reduces people to puppets and pawns." Full Review
“Visually arresting...The simple, elegant, and structured staging by Dodin can’t be ignored...Most excellent group of actors. The words fly hard and strong at each other...Even without the subtitles, the raw power of love, status, and sex would be hard to miss...The German drama never quite rises to the rapturous lyrical beauty of a Shakespearian romantic tragedy, but it does rest quite robustly in the solid Russian landscape and expanse of the stage." Full Review
“It's hard to imagine a more cunningly erotic start...Eye-pleasing spectacle...Dodin's direction dispenses with subtlety...The intricate political machinations of Schiller's plot are intact, but this production's sensuality throbs louder than the creaking of the play's dramatic gears...This is a production in which passion of one kind or another is always in evidence...The members of the Maly troupe operate at an emotional pitch that may vary to some extent but is always fevered.” Full Review
“Dodin’s spare and subdued adaptation of ‘Love and Intrigue’...The intermissionless production takes its time, building to a chilling climax over 135 sometimes soporific minutes...A production that demands patience and doesn’t reward it richly enough...Dodin has tossed out Lady Milford’s growing moral horror at the source of the duke’s wealth...It’s a vital dimension, without which the play feels diminished...Design is ultimately the most striking thing about this production.” Full Review
“It's such a letdown that Dodin's droopy Russian-language adaptation...is neither lovely nor intriguing...Unfortunately, the tightness Dodin achieves early in the play quickly goes limp. We should feel the tension of belts on gears, the oppressive grind of a machine that tolerates no slack. But the only thing oppressive...is the lethargy of a production that doesn't really get exciting until the last 10 minutes...This is despite some revelatory performances.” Full Review
See it if You want to experience Russian theater in all of its quirk and glory. Serious acting chops bring a tragic story to life.
Don't see it if You are afraid of doing any lifting. Lots to be interpreted in this supertitled play. Classic German playwright + Russian company = quirky
See it if For the actors and acting, to experience the director’s vision, Because you’ll want to/need to talk about it after
Don't see it if You can’t read super titles, need lots of scenery or want a happy ending.
See it if you enjoy extremely well-acted, "classic" theatre. It is a liberal/new version of Schiller's "Kabale und Liebe" that was visually lovely.
Don't see it if you hate supertitles, any changes to classic plays, minimal sets, or cannot sit for long periods of time. 2.25 hours. It was rough.
See it if You’d like to brush up on the modern Russian theater and see some of the current Russian theater and film stars.
Don't see it if Long, dated plays with a true but obvious message bore you
See it if Never seen this Schiller play and really need to see it. If one has not seen the Maly Theatre from St Petersburg, guess that's a reason too
Don't see it if Terrible direction, so dragged out, not much happens. Probably a good play there but not this production.
See it if You are a fan of the Maly Drama Theatre. Otherwise, I found it very slow and dated. The actors seemed to be trying their best though.
Don't see it if You want a play that has an engaging script. Something seemed to be missing. However, I did appreciate the set and the lighting.
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