This is not Nikolai 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 Nikolai 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.”