Stage Russia: Eugene Onegin

Friday, April 7, 2017 - 5:00pm - 8:30pm
University of Pennsylvania, Stiteler Hall, Room B21, 208 South 37th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

A special screening under the Upenn Slavic Department Stage Russia series:

Eugene Onegin

Stage Russia HD opens it’s inaugural season with its live filmed production of the Vakhtangov Theatre's magical Eugene Onegin, a newly reimagined version of the Alexander Pushkin poem created and directed by renowned director, Rimas Tuminas.

Eugene Onegin has often been referred to as an encyclopedia of 19th century Russian life. Tuminas’ production unfolds in the memory and imagination of Pushkin’s characters. The images are split between past and present, between reality and imagination.

There are two Onegins on stage: The mature one recalling the events of a quarter century earlier, and the second, younger one who takes part in them. There are two Lenskys on stage as well: The young Lensky as he was during the events which led to his death in a duel, and the second an imaginary white-haired companion of Onegin, the one whom Lensky could have become had he not been killed.

​The scale of the production constantly changes; from noisy celebrations to secluded contemplation, from crowd scenes to lonely recollections, all of which are drawn together from the past just like the fragments of Tatyana’s love letter, framed and hung on the wall, looming next to and above Onegin’s arm-chair.

“I did not aim at a full scenic adaptation of the novel,” Tuminas explains. “I chose Tatyana’s love for Onegin as the central theme. It allowed me to reach out beyond the main plot and reveal this longing as well as the existential ‘Russian melancholy’, the subject of deep reflection for many poets and philosophers who perceive it as an expression of a sad, deeply nostalgic and purely Russian state of mind.”

The main plot is accompanied by side story lines; There is a Chorus created out of characters of the Pushkin epoch, the inhabitants of the capital, the countryside and even the forest.

During the depicted exhausting journey to Moscow, a white hare crosses the path of Tatyana’s carriage. According to legend, a hare like this one ran across the road in front of Pushkin himself when he was going by carriage to St Petersburg in December of 1825 to take part in the uprising against the tsar. Pushkin turned back, and by doing so avoided exile or even a death sentence. In memory of this event, a road post was erected with the depiction of a hare on it and a sign reading “416 miles to the Senate Square”…

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