Moscow’s historic Moccobeta Theatre is bringing Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters to Wyndhams Theatre in London this April and I can’t wait. Directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, it will be in Russian with subtitles. There have been some great English productions of Chekhov in London during the past few years, but it’s never going to be the same as feeling and hearing the full-blooded Russian version. In the past Russian Theatre Companies have refreshed British theatre and inspired others such as Theatre Complicite and Shared Experience.
The Moscow Arts Theatre Academies have had such fantastic productions because of the long time the creative team, including the actors stayed together. With our own theatre companies we can see how actors thrive over a long period of time working together on different productions.
The Moccobeta productions are part of the UK – Russia Year of Culture, as launched by our Chairman of the Media and Sports Select Committee, John Whittingdale, the former Political Secretary to Margaret Thatcher. The timing – at the end of the Sochi Winter Olympics – seemed favourable and then came the Ukraine crisis. We are in the middle of the crisis many feel was caused by the decision Ukraine was forced to make between Europe and Russia. It is heartbreaking that there is this dichotomy for the people of Ukraine. My Ukrainian clients all speak Ukrainian and Russian, however there’s a marked difference from primary Russian speakers in their voices, that has transferred itself into the way they speak English.
The last words goes to the hopes of the Russian Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko:
The UK- Russia Year of Culture
“Organised by the Russian Ministry of Foreign affairs and the British Council, the scope of the festival is ambitious; more than 50 major events will take place across the UK alone. But what does this blaze of culture mean for the 2 countries? Relations between our 2 great countries do not always run smoothly and we would be mistaken to think that a cultural festival such as this is the answer to all challenges we face. I do, however, believe that it signals a way in which relations can be reinvigorated, refreshed and revived.”