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Festival Of Ukrainian Culture From Kiev’s National Academic Theatre Of Russian Drama Lesya Ukrainka

Kiev’s National Academic Theatre of Russian Drama Lesya Ukrainka brings a festival of events celebrating Ukrainian culture to the St. James Theatre from 8th to 19th September 2015, curated by Mikhail Reznikovich, Artistic Director of the National Academic Theatre of Russian Drama Lesya Ukrainka. The festival, comprising four plays, two free film screenings and a photography exhibition, will give British audiences a rare opportunity to acquaint themselves with some of Ukraine’s cultural masterpieces as well as its developing modern arts scene.

The cycle of four plays, Ward of the Manor, My Mocking Happiness, Life’s Little Nothings and Don Juan, will be performed in Russian and live dubbed into English by a translator who will be present in the auditorium.

To celebrate 50 years since its release, Serguei Paradzhanov’s The Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors will be screened on Saturday 12th September and will be introduced by one of the films’ stars, Larisa Kadochnikova, who will also play the role of Olga Knipper-Checkhov in My Mocking Happiness. Earth, directed by Alexander Dovzhenko, will be screened on Tuesday 15th September, 2015

A free photography exhibition, Ukrainian Culture Today, will be on display in the bar and front of house area of the theatre, showing beautiful images of the sites, architecture and people of Kiev and the Ukraine.

Ward of The ManorWARD OF THE MANOR
A new translation of Ivan Turgenev’s comedic drama Fortune’s Fool
Director Mikhail Reznikovich | Associate Director Leonid Ostropolsky
8th to 10th September 2015
Performed in memory of Russian theatre director Georgy Tovstonogov, who was a teacher of Mikhail Reznikovich. Olga Korina left her family’s country estate as a young girl, returning seven years later with her new husband State official Pavel Yeletsky.
Among those there to greet Lady Olga Yeletskaya, is Vitalii Kuzovkin, an old man born to nobility but now penniless. The good-natured Kuzovkin has long served the family and is de facto ward of the estate; he is also the family’s longest running joke. During a celebration for the newlyweds, dark secrets are revealed and the lives of Lady Olga, Yeletsky, and the devoted Kuzovkin are changed forever. True nobility does not reside in mere titles.

By Leonid Malyugin, based on the letters of Anton Chekhov
Director Mikhail Reznikovich | Associate Directors Irina Barkovskaya and Leonid Ostropolskiy | Designer David Borovsky
11th – 12th September 2015
My Mocking Happiness is drawn from Anton Chekhov’s personal correspondence with his wife, Olga Knipper-Chekhova, and close friend, Lika Mizinova. Alive with intimate and personal detail, the letters reveal the writer’s complex inner life and his musings on theatre, art, 20th century psychology, society and power. He also discusses his timeless dramas Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard.
Structurally similar to Jerome Kilty’s 1960 play Dear Liar, My Mocking Happiness has been staged at the National Academic Theatre of Russian Drama Lesya Ukrainka for more than fifty years.

Based on the short stories of Anton Chekhov
Director Mikhail Reznikovich | Associate Director Kirill Kashliskov
13th to 15th September 2015
The human condition is examined in this original handling of Chekhov’s short stories A Daughter of Albion, A Tripping Tongue, Difficult People, A Happy Man and The Wallet. Each of the five episodes is separated by brief interludes of authentic, classic Russian romance tunes.
Life’s Little Nothings offers a vivid, provocative and often hilarious take on those personal thoughts and feelings one might hope would forever remain undiscovered.

By Tirso de Molin, adapted by Lesya Ukrainka and directed by Mikhail Reznikovich
17th to 19th September 2015
Noted early 20th century Ukrainian poet Lesya Ukrainka offers an original, authentically Ukrainian take on this timeless story of conflict between freedom and authority. In a departure from the original story by Tirso de Molina, the Ukrainian Don Juan introduces us to Dolores, Lesya Ukrainka’s semi-autobiographical depiction of a young woman selflessly devoted to the Don.

In Ukrainian with English subtitles
12th September at 2pm
The Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a 1965 film by the legendary filmmaker Sergei Parajanov, based on the classic book by Ukrainian writer Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky. The storyline revolves around two separated lovers caught in a family feud and also features a detailed portrayal of Ukrainian Hutsul culture, showing Carpathian environment, family rituals, the beauty of Hutsul traditions, music, costumes, and dialect.

Silent film
15th September at 2pm
Earth is a 1930 Soviet film by Ukrainian director Alexander Dovzhenko, concerning the process of collectivisation and the hostility of Kulak landowners

In 1958 the film was named as one of the best twelve films of all time at the World Exhibition in Brussels. Charlie Chaplin called Dovzhenko “the one and only artist, thinker and poet, given as a present by Slavs to the world”.
For further information please contact Julia Peach julia@stjamestheatre.co.uk / 020 7654 9908.

St. James Theatre
12 Palace Street, London SW1E 5JA
All plays will be performed in Russian and will be live-dubbed in English to be enjoyed in either language.
Box Office: 0844 264 2140
Dates: Tuesday 8 – Friday 19 September 2015
Theatre Tickets: £10, £15, £25, £35 (premium)
Film Tickets: Free, reservation required
Photography Exhibition: Free
Concessions: £5 off band A tickets for OAPs, students and Victoria Privilege Card holders
Groups: £5 off band A tickets for groups of 8+


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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