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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Review: ...the itsy bitsy spider...

by  Estelle Rosen

I have a confession to make. I have been a long time admirer of the avant garde, edgy, creativity of Alexandre Marine. I’m happy to say, judging by his current presentation of an adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s Demons, his creativity is intact.

To tell the full story here would take away from its impact. Suffice it to say it’s set amid political chaos in 19th century Russia. 

Nikolai Stavrogin, a charismatic rootless young man, returns to his provincial town and brings the various sundry affairs with local women and hangers on of political radicals with him.

The play revolves around a missing controversial chapter from Demons that had been censored for decades in Russia. The events of this repressed chapter permeate the action and events of this production.

In an interview with Alexandre Marine, CKUT Upstage contributor Alison Louder, asked Marine why this chapter, the crux of the novel, was censored. Marine replied “Without this chapter we would never understand the core of Stavrogin’s bizarre behaviour.” 

Bizarre behaviour would be a gross understatement.

Using what Marine calls a “total theatre approach” incorporating dance, stage silence, immobility, not to mention flashlights, lasers, rhythmic circle walking, stomping chairs, and balloons, heightens the creativity. 

Amazing performances by Studio Six of the Moscow Art Theater Company ensemble and original music by Dmitri Marine fit the piece perfectly.

…the itsy bitsy spider…  directed by Alexandre Marine, based on Dostoyevsky’s Demons, is part of the Wildside Festival

Running time: 2 hours

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