Genre: an absolutely incredible incident in two acts.
Author: Nikolay Gogol
Staging: Sergey Artsibashev
civil servant, a court counselor
retired infantry officer
This show is like a dish in an expensive restaurant, where bitter art is balanced by sweet one and the sourness is softened by spices. Constantly intelligent (equal what he thinks of, and here he does not think of anything special) scenography of Oleg Sheintsis brings the loud choir of housemaids and boy servants to reason. It seems that this choir does not stop for a moment. Openly variety acts performed by unlucky suitors are combined with mystical play of the mirrors, where now the very same suitors look out of and frighten the bride, now Kochkaryov masterfully performed by Mikhail Filippov tumbles out of. The artistic eclecticism of the performance reminds one of the fashionable fusion style that combines the incompatible, which makes it an important constituent of the theatrical rather than society life.
The director has not only confined in actors, but also let them frolic to their heart’s content.
It is Igor Kostolevsky that prevents the performance from finally becoming a vaudeville. It is him who unstoppably shows something Gogol-like, mysterious, complicated and even tragic through all the hubbub of the performance: his Podkolyosin not just runs away from the wedding, he personifies the eternal indecisiveness and inability “of a Russian person” to be happy “at a rendezvous”, the indecisiveness that concerns not only the matrimonial circumstances of his life. The eternal persona Kostolevsky shows absolutely unexpected facets of his talent. One wants to observe his character, to listen to him and it is even a pity that Podkolyosin gets pushed off the stage by the other suitors. And the final scenes of the actor together with Evgenia Simonova are truly touching.
N. Agisheva, Moskovskie Novosti, 17 September 2002.
In this production awkward, unhappy and as a matter of fact nice people, each of them in their own manner, are looking for a soul mate and cannot find them. The tormenting hopes as well as the last despair are appropriate words here as it is these feelings that the characters live by in the critical moments of the performance. Artsibashev extracted powerful energy from Gogol’s text; the actors picked it up and vented it on the grateful audience. I have not heard such final applause for a long time. What about the powerful energy? Something similar has often been said about this scene. One can also mention fine intensity of the form and triumphant theatricality. Absolutely original Marriage of Artsybashev calls to Goncharov’s productions.
K. Shcherbakov, Kultura, 12 September 2002.
The premiere performance took place on 5 September 2002.
Running time: 3 hours