Classics with modern twist

These days, we are spoilt for choice, with as many shows performed as there are varieties of sausage!
Just like the Ancient Romans ‘bread’ and ‘entertainment’ are what keep us contented. These days, we are spoilt for choice, with as many shows performed as there are varieties of sausage! Accordingly, artistes are obliged to come up with new innovations to surprise us. One such is the new staging of Peer Gynt.

Peer Gynt performance in original improvisation

Peer Gynt exists both as Henrik Ibsen’s play and as Edvard Grieg’s music, in the form of two suites. The new version is performed by the choir and orchestra of Sonorus Capella, joined by actors and operatic singers: a rare occurrence for our country. Moreover, the creators tried to make an intriguing set for the performance, involving a VJ instead of a traditional set decorator. Visual effects provided a change of background scenery and some characters existed only virtually.

The chief conductor of Sonorus, Alexander Khumala, explains that the move is rather experimental, saying, “Jointly with Natalia Baranovskaya, we wanted to create ‘interactive’ sets, so that our show is visually interesting. We lack funds to make good costumes and high quality sets, but have been fortunate in finding a wonderful man in Denis Astashev. He specialises in VJ and club music, making for a beguiling experiment. Every night sold out before it opened, showing the degree of public interest.”

Finding an appropriate venue was another challenge, with the Minsk Planetarium considered, for its dome, upon which you can screen spherical films. Eventually, the National Beauty School’s hall was chosen, being modest in size but with perfect acoustics and other important parameters. Additional chairs were brought in, to accommodate the great many spectators who wished to enjoy the performances.

Ibsen’s story, being long, was cut for the staging. Even Lenkom Theatre stages this play in a short variant, as its posters declare. The resulting show was amazing: especially the music and sets. Such performances always win audiences’ hearts. Of course, you can’t help but wonder if modern ‘technical tricks’ are really needed but, as Mr. Khumala comments, “People are used to being offered something new and unique, rather than attending simply a show performed well. They want to be dazzled. It’s a global trend.”

Most theatre-goers are eager to enjoy new tricks and shows, and are always impressed on receiving what they wish. Served under this sauce, even long-forgotten classics can be revived. It’s a great trend. On the other hand, some may lament that even the most serious of shows now comes served with an extra portion of spice.

By Irina Yevseeva
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