Equal of the best

On the day Yakub Kolas’ “Symon-Muzyka” play directed by Nikolai Pinigin was staged, Yanka Kupala National Academic Drama Theatre was overcrowded: the sophisticated public came to see “Pinigin’s”
In a sense he is a cult director. He gained fame and close attention thanks to an original interpretation of Belarusian literature. His plays “Tuteyshiya”, “Idyliya” are proudly placed among the best performances staged at Yanka Kupala theatre. It is almost history now, a history, which witnessed the success of the plays to bring pleasure of remembrance. Minsk would have forgotten the name of the theatre stage maestro, if Pinigin (who now works for the Grand Drama Theatre in St Petersburg) hadn’t come to Minsk to refresh his apprehension of national literature classics.

It seems the youth, who frequent the theatre, could not care less about problems of a redneck, though he is a brilliant amateur musician (as poetically interpreted by actor Alexander Molchanov). He fell out of his parents’ nest, so what? It was his fault. His problems, they say.

An uncomplicated plot telling spectators about peasant son Symon leaving his parents’ home to embrace new grown-up life, his meeting with love and fate, is the canvas Pinigin weaves his stage version of the poem on. As always he does it like a master he is. All mise en scene are verified and fit well. The richest language of Kolas’ play when filled with sense shaped by the director along with individual mastership of the actors (Garbuk, Pomazan, Podobed, Manayev, Kirichenko, Sidorova) makes the play a pleasure for the ear and give birth to associations of its own.

Hardships a person with a creative and artistic soul has to face to fit into this world, how it is important to choose one’s priorities in life not to feel sorry for lost prospects, the Pinigin play dwells on that as well. Of course, “Symon-Muzyka” also tells us about love. The lifetime love that saves souls. Its personification in Ganna by actress Svetlana Anikey is touching. On the whole, the duet Anikey-Molchanov looks harmonious throughout the play: from the moment the characters meet each other to the scene of ascension in a wedding boat.

By the way, with the play’s scenes filled by images, which elements are easily transformed to create environment of a jew’s tavern, prince chambers, or free forest, the actors can easily lead their parts to the soul tune by composer Andrei Zubrich. By the way, wearing post-modern style unbleached linen costumes, they can move freely and resolve their characters’ problems (designer — Alesya Snopok-Sorokina). The stage managers are believed to have creatively re-formed the best traditions of theatrical performances.

There is also a choir in Pinigin’s play. It accentuates sense points in the play’s stream. Some of them sound like well-made publicism.
I believe, with time theatre historians will remember “Symon-Muzyka” play among the best performances on the stage of Yanka Kupala theatre.

by Valentina Zhdanovich
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