#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. – The production of the Polar Kolchak play was carried out by the theater in partnership with the Norilsk Development Agency with the support of the Dignity charity foundation (Moscow) and the Nornickel company.
Playwright Mikhail Durnenkov, who wrote the play for Norilsk Zapolyarny theater, noted that the performance, as expected, is more than what he has written:
“And I am happy about it. It is valuable for me that the artists did not just play according to the text, but studied the epoch, the historical characters. As a result, there is artistic truth in the play, and everything that happens can be explained from the point of view of not only history, but also human psychology”.
Mikhail Durnenkov admits that while working on the play he made a lot of discoveries for himself:
“Dramaturgy appears where not everything is clear. I was interested in the complexity of this historical figure, I wanted to examine Kolchak’s personality from all sides and give this opportunity to the theatrical audience”.
Both the play and the performance are not about the admiral of the Russian fleet, not about the hero of the First World War and not about the Supreme Ruler. Polar Kolchak was written and staged about the explorer of the Arctic, a scientist, whose name was for a long time erased from books, sailing charts and nautical charts.
The author of the play also took part in an Arctic expedition on a schooner ten years ago. But, according to him, it is difficult for us today to imagine what incredible hardships were suffered by Baron Toll and his associates on the First Russian Polar Expedition in 1900.
Anna Babanova, the main director of the Norilsk drama, director of Polar Kolchak, is sure that she was not mistaken in choosing a theme, a playwright and a production team:
“Kolchak was interesting for me in connection with Norilsk. It turns out that today we live and work on this land to some extent due to the fact that his government sent the Sotnikov-Urvantsev expedition to the Norilsk mountains at the beginning of the last century. In my opinion, the time has come to look at such global historical figures from the perspective of what they have done for Russia”.
Honored Artist of Russia Sergey Rebriy plays in the play by Alexander Kolchak. His hero in a cell, in anticipation of the predictable execution, composes a letter to his son, in which he tells about the most important events of his short life (at the beginning of 1920 he was only 46 years old).
The story of the mysterious Sannikov land search on the Zarya yacht is interrupted by episodes of interrogation conducted by one of the investigation commission members Samuil Chudnovsky. Another Honored Artist of Russia, Yakov Allenov, made his debut (and very successfully) in this role on the Norilsk stage. The confrontation between the admiral and the chekist in the play, as in life, ends with a shooting scene. Though not commissar Chudnovsky commands it, but Admiral Kolchak.
The invited set designer Oleg Golovko structured the space in such a way that the cell in the scenes of the protagonist’s memories, according to the artist’s formulation, increases to the size of space, turning into the Zarya wardroom or Bennett Island, where the expedition hydrographer Kolchak went in search of Toll.
The production employs only eight artists. Inessa Talashkevich plays the only female role of Kolchak’s civil wife Anna Timireva. The episodes with Anna are the most poignant in the performance. Transforming the prison background for a while, they immerse the audience in the story of the admiral’s great love.
Ivan Rozinkin is organic in the role of boatswain Begichev, as if it was created for him, as well as Sergey Nazimov, who plays Baron Toll. The head of the Russian Polar Expedition, who remained forever in the Arctic, often comes to the fore in the play, slightly pushing both Kolchak and Chudnovsky away.
The body mobility director Nikolay Reutov, the author of the dance with the piano and other interesting plastic solutions in the play, knows the material well. In 2008, Reutov played the role of Chudnovsky in the famous film by Andrey Kravchuk – Admiral. According to him, this figure is also ambiguous:
“I played him like that. And in the play Yakov Allenov’s character is very difficult. In my opinion, all revolutionaries were confused people who went in the wrong direction”.
It is known that the real Chudnovsky, ten days after the shooting of the brave polar explorer, the brilliant admiral who cleared the Black sea of enemy ships, was appointed head of the Irkutsk Provincial Cheka, and in 1937 he was shot as the chairman of the Leningrad Regional Court. Subsequently rehabilitated. In contrast to “one of the main organizers of the counter-revolutionary insurrection in the Civil War,” as it is written about Kolchak in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia.
It seems that thanks to the theater, the Norilsk spectator will know more about the Russian admiral than the encyclopedia.
Text: Valentina Vachaeva, Photo: Alexander Haritonov