Nikołaj Kolada @en
Kolyada’s “The Cherry Orchard” does not resemble traditional adaptations of Chekhov’s play. It lacks the gloomy contemplations, lazy conversations, undertones and secret yearnings. There are no samovars, tablecloths or decorative lampshades. Instead of the wind rustling in the trees in bloom, we can hear the rattling of plastic glasses. Here even Peter, an eternal student turns into a degenerate alcoholic, who gets optimistic about the future only in his drunken hallucinations. The Russian province presented in the performance is disturbing for many viewers, because Kolyada talks about it in an brusque and stern way. The grotesque way of portraying it as a country full of joy and unjustified freedom, where people are messy and irresponsible, where blood and tears are shed, can only evoke anger and repulsion. And most importantly, it makes us realize that the director doesn’t talk about the past.
Kolyada suggests that the Cherry Orchard which used to be associated with conscience, honour, love for the country is long gone. It was sold. What we have coming instead is the “new Russky” – Lopakhin, Chekhov’s businessman.
Kolyada believes that to make theatre one needs neither special forms, costumes, lights nor new technologies. In theatre everything should come from the air the actors breathe onstage. The place he chose for his theatre is quite significant then. It is a wooden house on Turgeneva street in Yekaterinburg, the city where the last tsar was killed and Boris Yeltsin was born. In this house, which seems to be taken straight out of an old novel, Kolyada arranged a room for 50 people with a 6 on 6 meters stage, with doors in the middle and on the sides of it instead of scaffoldings. That is where 10 performances a week are played, with expensive tickets sold out long in advance. The viewers come to see what they cannot get from the classic theatre.