All images by Julia Tregub
Nose the Dwarf
music by Lora Kvint, lyrics by Nikolay Denisov, directed by Boris Milgram
What I Saw
The first production we’ve seen - the new Russian musical NOSE THE DWARF (music by Lora Kvint, lyrics by Nikolay Denisov, directed by Boris Milgram), based on the famous Wilhelm Hauff’s fairy-tail, - was announced as the world premiere and bore all signs of the one: huge marketing campaign; accessible for over 5 million online viewers live streaming of both the production and of the pre- and post-show discussions and interviews; impressive lobby-displays with live geese, and expensively done print media.
The show reworks Broadway stylistics for the purposes of both the Russian spectator and the Russian actor, and manages to build quite an impressive “montage of attractions” (Vs. Meyerhold) with dramatic tension growing gradually from scene to scene, specifically through Act 2.
It is always interesting to compare how actors with Russian schooling and mentality perform in a musical piece to how their American colleagues do it. Our theater professionals used to have this weird dual attitude to musicals – always attracted by this genre, and yet always feeling guarded about it. Overly straightforward and naïve? Yes, but how fun! Not psychological-true? Sure, but how emotionally involving! We used to not know how to perform in musicals or how to direct them; after two decades of trying now we know how. The Russian version of musical feels more dramatic, while yes, somewhat heavier than American; acting, actually, – better justified, more concentrated and thought-through, while there still are moments of sudden disbelief striking actors for just a second in the middle of the scene, like: “why should I really be singing this particular part? I could just say it normal voice as well”.
But regardless, let me say again, musical is working on Russian stage, audiences are happy, and “Nose the Dwarf” will probably keep attracting people to this theater for the next decade at minimum.