This is not Nikolay Roshchin’s first attempt to stage a play by Gozzi. Back in 2011 he staged The Raven at the A.R.T.O. theatre, turning down the festive design characteristic of commedia dell’arte purposefully. In 2001 Nikolay Roshchin put on the play The Stag King (Russian Academic Youth Theatre, Moscow, 2001) which was recognized as one of the best Gozzi’s performances on the Russian stage. This rendering brought the director the Smoktunovsky Award and the Moscow Critics’ Association Award.
“Having rejected the notion of carnival-ness, improvisation and the rest of pseudo-Italian mush in my renderings of Gozzi, I focus on the schematic structure of his plays, in which, when they have been purged of all kinds of peripheral frillings, one can discern among other things the absurdist nature of his creativity. Count Gozzi’s fiabas are impressively multi-faceted and free, I regard him as the drama’s absolute radical. Considering this, I evolve my dialogue with my previous renderings including the play on the New Stage. It is being evolved continuously, it is an ever-going transformation of the nature of the absurdist theatre, for which I cherish a special fondness, even if in this case it is dressed in a strict storyline replete with fantastic events and burning passions.
Carlo Gozzi’s dramas were initially composed athwart to Goldoni’s social plays, which in the modern language would be termed as “neodramatic.” Such attempts at leaving behind superficial and transitory significance in renderings and at creating “pure theatre,” divorced from modern routine-life, political and ideological motifs, come very close to my understanding of the nature of stage truth and quality of its artistic content.”
Premiered on September 12, 2015
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Having sidestepped the socially-critical, documentary-minded theatre, Roshchin also turned his back on the Vakhtangovsky-style, Italian-carnival-style Gozzi, bringing back the German romanticists’ love for the 18th-century Venetian as well as his links to Calderon’s ecstatically baroque poetry.
Alyona Karas. Much blood from nowhere
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, October 2015
As fantastic as it sounds, modern St. Petersburg is honoured to be the next venue of the endless rivalry between Gozzi and Goldoni.
The autumn cry of the raven
Saint Petersburg’s Vedomosty, September 2015
At the Alexandrinsky, they succeeded in extracting from the unembraceable bole of Italian classics a light, modern performance which in-between magic adventures seeks to resolve the everlasting moral dilemma of the choice between death and reputation, between self-preservation and integrity.
Marina Tokareva. To kill the dragon in the bedroom
Novaya Gazeta, September 2015
There are mechanical wonders galore - huge monsters, gaping wide and flapping their wings, talking heads, horses, ships, a multifunctional cement-mixer. The false wonders’ spurious origins are purposefully revealed for all to see.
Tatiana Dzhurova, Welcome to the desert of wonders
Petersburg Theatrical Journal, September 2015