The Old Man and the Sea
Chekhov International Theatre Festival
in cooperation with Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre
Director – Anatoly Vasiliev
The world premiere took place on July 19, 2017, at the Chekhov International Theatre Festival
Adaptation of the novel – Anatoly Vasiliev
From the Author – Alla Demidova
Music – Vladimir Martynov
Designer – Petr Popov
Lighting designer – Taras Mikhalevskiy
Costumes – Vadim Andreev
The music is performed by the Ensemble Opus Posth under the conduction of Tatiana Grindenko
“The Old Man and the Sea” is the first Russian performance after a long break of the legendary director Anatoly Vasiliev, which he staged to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Yuri Lyubimov. The only character in the play is performed by the People's Artist of Russia Alla Demidova, an outstanding theatre and film actress who has worked at the Taganka Theatre for over 30 years and acted leading parts in Lyubimov's performances.
The Russian Theatre Critics Association nominated “The Old Man and the Sea” as the best performance of 2017.
“In Vasiliev’s hands, Hemingway’s plot has become the story of Lyubimov’s fate, of Demidov’s fate, of his own, Vasiliev’s, fate. It has become the story of the fate of anyone who is catching fish and drawing fishing line when their hands are wounded, and sharks are striving to gobble up everything that is so dear to you. <…>
Vasiliev devotes this requiem to all the great theatrical searches”
Alla Shenderova, “Kommersant”
“The persistent old man of Hemingway and adamant Lyubimov are equally worthy of memory, gratitude, and love. That’s why they got rhymed. A man cannot be called defeated if he fought to the finish”
Svetlana Naborshchikova, “Izvestia”
Anatoly Vasiliev became known for his performances at the Stanislavsky Theatre Moscow “Vassa Zheleznova – The First Draft” by Maxim Gorky and “An Adult Daughter of a Young Man” by Viktor Slavkin. In the beginning of the 1980s, he was invited by Yuri Lyubimov to work at the Taganka Theatre, where he restaged the play by Gorky and put on stage the performance “Serso” based on Viktor Slavkin’s play which was recognized as the best production of the season.
In 1987 Mr. Vasiliev founded the Moscow Theatre “School of Dramatic Art”. The first performance was the “Six Characters in Search of an Author” by Luigi Pirandello, and critics called it “the best novel about theatre”. Under the artistic direction of Vladimir Vasiliev the following productions were staged at the “School of Dramatic Art”: “Dumas” – chapters from Alexandre Dumas’ novels, “Vis-a-vis” – chapters from Fyodor Dostoevsky and Alexandre Dumas’ novels, “The Possessed” by Fyodor Dostoevsky, “Fiorenza” and “Joseph and His Brothers” by Thomas Mann, “Amphitryon” by Moliere, “Lamentations of Jeremiah” by composer Vladimir Martynov, “Don Juan, Or The Stone Guest”, And Other Poems”, “Medea as Material” based on Heiner Müller’s play, “From Onegin’s Journey”, “The Iliad: Book XXIII”, and others.
In 2001 the Moscow Theatre “School of Dramatic Art” was accepted to the Union des Théâtres de l'Europe. The same year, a new theatre building was opened, on Sretenka Street in Moscow. The theatre was built according to the project of architect and stage designer Igor Popov with the participation of Anatoly Vasiliev. After a conflict with the Moscow authorities in 2006, Mr. Vasiliev was dismissed from the post of the artistic director of the theatre. In 2007 he turned in a resignation of collaboration with the “School of Dramatic Art” Theatre and left Moscow. Since that time the director has been working abroad.
Anatoly Vasiliev is the first Russian director (the second foreign, after Robert Wilson) who was invited to stage at the Comédie-Française. He has also staged at The Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar, Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe, Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, Théâtre National de Strasbourg, and others.
Among his honours are Stanislavsky State Prize of the RSFSR (1988), Europe Theatre Prize “New Theatrical Realities” (1990), Stanislavsky Award “For contribution to the development of the theatrical pedagogy” (1995), “The Golden Mask” (1997), State Prize of the Russian Federation (1999), Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, France (2007).
The Chekhov International Theatre Festival is one of the largest and most significant festivals in Russia, was established by the International Confederation of Theatre Associations in 1992. A long-standing creative partner of the Platonov Arts Festival.
The Chekhov Festival traditionally takes place every other year. Its main purpose is to acquaint Russian audience and professionals with the best productions of foreign theatres and the most interesting contemporary trends of world dramatic art.
More than 500 works of directors, choreographers, musical directors from more than 50 countries all over the world have been presented at the festival in different years. Among them are Peter Brook, Giorgio Strehler, Peter Stein, Ariane Mnoushkine, Robert Wilson, Christoph Marthaler, Heiner Goebbels, Krystian Lupa, Pina Bausch, Philippe Genty, Decklan Donnellan, Frank Castorf, Robert Lepage, Daniele Finzi Pasca, and many others.
For the years of its existence, the Chekhov Festival has produced 33 new productions with the participation of leading theatres and directors from Russia and abroad.
General Director of the festival – Valery Shadrin.