The New Riga Theatre, Riga, Latvia, 2003
Author: Nikolay Vasilievich Gogol
Directed by Alvis Hermanis
about the production
The New Riga Theatre has produced a really excellent comic performance, which embodies the words of the classic “laughing, they happily waved farewell to the past”. It is evident, that this theatre event will become a popular hit as well as the subject for reflections on theatre and the perspective of the development of the aesthetic text, not only in Latvia, but also in European and world context.
Normunds Naumanis, Diena
Small heads on big bodies – like hens. This mutant – a poor little creature – was born from a favourable social milieu in which a primitive instinct of survival has mixed with permanent fear. Speaking theatre language – a tragicomic, unlucky being. (...) We can foretell the direction of Alvis Hermanis and the acting of some of his actors their immortal place in the reading books of theatre history, where the master of hyperbole – Vsevolod Meyerchold, will welcome them.
Liliya Dzene, Diena
When creating the aesthetic expression of the production, the director was inspired by the social reality of the snack bars in the sixties and seventies of the 20th century – with their smell of burnt fried onion, dirty toilets and, certainly, people – good-hearted, narrow-minded fatties. Their strong ambition to create their own tutors and lords arouses rather sympathy than hatred.
Valda Chakare, Diena
The setting of the story – a canteen in a little provincial Soviet town. (...) The period – the seventies, what we can guess from the costumes and the strongly obtrusive tunes of the “Seventeen Standstills in Spring“. All the rest is pure Gogol – the characters, the text. All the actors play masterly, they are relieved, and enjoy their roles. While laughing, you start to understand – this is not a satire, it is poetry. For example, Alvis Hermanis – laughing, without any anger, even tenderly he makes farewell to the past, indulging in the Gogol’s stylistic excellence.
Katerina Borsheva, Diena
set, directed by: Alvis Hermanis
costumes: Kristine Jurjane
characters and cast:
Anton Antonovič Skvoznik-Dmuchanovskij: Gundars Āboliņš, Anna Andrejevna: Guna Zariņa, Mária Antonovna: Baiba Broka, Ivan Alexandrovič Chlestakov: Vilis Daudziņš, Osip: Andris Keišs, Pjotr Ivanovič Bobčinskij: Kaspars Znotiņš, Pjotr Ivanovič Dobčinskij: Ģirts Ēcis, Luka Lukič Chlopov: Māris Liniņš, Amos Fjodorovič Lapkin-Ťapkin: Vigo Roga, Ivan Kuzmič Špekin: Andis Strods, Artemij Filipovič Zemľanika: Ģirts Krūmiņš, Christian Ivanovič Gibner: Armands Reinfelds, Barmaid: Maija Apine, Cook: Sandra Zvīgule, Cleaner: Regīna Razuma
Alvis Hermanis (1965)
Educated as an actor at the Theatre Department of Latvian State Conservatoire, graduated in 1988. Brought into Latvian Theatre a unique form, undisguised histrionic elements and post-modern viewpoint, staging well-known and often scandalous works like Y. Mishima’s Marquise de Sade, O. Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray. The performances are very different aesthetically, but all of them are characterised by perfect sense of form, style, and period. His productions seek new ways of expression, and explore the limits of reality, involving audio and visual media – using video projections, slides, and phonographs. He is also a playwright, stage designer, and actor. His productions participated in international theatre festivals in Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, and Russia.
His productions have won every year the most important prizes in Latvia. In recent years his production Maidens from Wilka by J. Iwaszkiewicz was awarded the title The best production of the season (2000/2001) and the productions The City by J. Grishkovec (2000/2001), My Poor Marat by A. Arbuzov (1997) and The Seagull by A. P. Chekhov (1996) was nominated for the best direction and for the best production of the season. The production The Inspector General was awarded the title The Best Production of the season 2001/2002 and at the International Festival the Baltic House in St. Petersburg in Russia it won the journalists prize of Leonid Popov.
In 1997 – 1999 was Hermanis the director and artistic director of the New Riga Theatre. At present, he is its artistic director. Latvia is at the Divadelná Nitra Festival at the first time.
Video of the production: no
Scripts of the production: SK, LV
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