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  Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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The renowned Taganka Theatre will celebrate its 40th establishment anniversary with a premiere of Friday next, April 23
The renowned Taganka Theatre will celebrate its 40th establishment anniversary with a premiere of Friday next, April 23, Yuri Lubimov, company art director, said to a news conference. The company premiered its first endeavour, a sensational "The Good Person of Sezuan", after Bertolt Brecht, April 23, 1964. Yuri Lubimov was director. Now, he has produced for the jubilee "Go Stop Progress", a profoundly original stage version of absurd verse. The Taganka has taken up poetry of the OBERIU, a literary guild established in Leningrad in the late 1920s to invent a new literary idiom and propagate a pioneer world-view. Its leaders fell victim to Stalinist reprisals. "Our play is about what the nation failed to duly appraise in due time. This country destroyed a cultural layer by killing poets who had done so much for it. Alexander Vvedensky's and Daniel Harms' was a tragic and sublime destiny. We are not bewailing them now. We have been overlooking them, and are now repentant," said Yuri Lubimov. Many of his stage productions were poetry recitals to music. They are getting more numerous in his work now. "Poetry is akin to music-and is there anything more sublime than music, verse, and love of them?" says the world-renowned stage director. He made an abrupt U-turn at the age of 45, when an established actor switched to production. That was more than a change of profession-he was taking up a new destiny, he now says. "I have a stage director's mentality. That's what I realised at the time, and I don't now think I was wrong." When asked whether the Taganka was set up from the start as a politically-minded company, Mr. Lubimov said that was not so. "My actors and I were merely saying out loud what deeply concerned not only ourselves but the entire nation." The Taganka was an oasis of freethinking in the Soviet years. "Civil indignation ran as an undercurrent in our entire repertory," Veniamin Smekhov, one of the Taganka leading men, who has been with the company since its inception, said in a recent interview. The theatre was unique under a totalitarian regime. As for censorship, "you're not to beware of censors-you merely ought to live a life of freedom. That's surely easier said than done, but one must try," says Yuri Lubimov.
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