Orpheus by Chulpan Khamatova

John Bassett Theatre, Toronto (09.12.2022).

Musical Performance
Cast: Chulpan Khamatova and Alexander Boldachev (harp)

A small woman with a big heart, strong character and bright talent speaks from the stage about the unconditional goodness and the need for freedom, about the value of life and mercy, about peace and hope. A performance-confession, a performance-revelation, "Orpheus" is a duet in which the music complements the word, and the word complements the music. Khamatova’s partner in this performance was Alexander Boldachev, one of the leading harp players, a composer with an individual style, the founder of the Zurich Harp Festival and the initiator of the World Harp Day.

At a time when one can find consolation, hope, freedom only in the melody of words and the sounds of music, the performance “Orpheus” arose. The actress and musician chose the poems and music for their production with their hearts. This is a performance-monologue, a performance-soul: quiet, subtle, full of awe, music and poetry. In Orpheus, the actress will talk to everyone, but everyone will hear their own – the main thing that is necessary. For some, the performance will become an outlet, for others a manifesto. And someone will give hope for a world in which the harmony of words and music is more important than battles and struggle, and art is above any boundaries.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHBqjAjbnx

The written in blood trilogy

Immersive and site-specific “The Written in Blood Trilogy” (based on Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”)
Talk Is Free Theatre (Barrie, ON), October 20-21, 2022

Each part of the trilogy is presented in sequence at three different locations in Downtown Barrie: Part 1 -“The Guest”; Part 2 – “The Others”; Part 3 – “The Host”.

Per Michael Torontow: “I still can’t be certain how we pulled of the technical challenge of using the entire Five Points building as a playing space, splitting the audience in 4 to take in performances happening simultaneously in a stairwell, a cloak room, the green room and the theatre itself.”

CAST: Helen – Maja Ardal; Drake Boyar – Aidan deSalaiz; Raconteur – Courtenay Stevens; Vagrant – Kathleen Black; Old Salt – Jeff Braunstein; Emma – Sydney Cochrane; Lucas – Nick Dolan; Vagrant – Taylor Garwood; Portrait Artist – Linda Laforge; Jake – Chris Mejaki; Zookeeper/Bartender – Justan Myers; Vagrant – Danielle Page; Sam – Clea McCaffrey; Fisherman – Aaron Ryder.

CREATIVES: Co-Writer/Director – Griffin Jeffrey Hewitt; Co-Writer/Director – Michael Anthony Torontow; Choreographer – David Ball; Costume Designer – Kathleen Black; Lighting Designer – Christopher Dean; Sound Designer – Matt Dawson; Stage Manager – Robin Clipsham; Properties Designer – Terri Elvald.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHBqjAcmTZ

Sweeney Todd

Preview at Glen Rhodes Campus, Toronto (June 5, 2022)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
By Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler.

Directed by Mitchell Cushman, Choreography and associate direction by Cameron Carver,
Music direction by Dan Rutzen, Set design by Kathleen Black, Costume design by Laura Delchiaro,
Lighting design by Nick Blais, Fight direction by Nate Bitton. Produced by Talk Is Free Theatre.

Cast: Michael Torontow as Sweeney Todd, Glynis Ranney as Mrs. Lovett, Noah Beemer as Tobias, Tess Benger as Johanna,
Gabi Epstein as The Beggar Woman, Griffin Hewitt as Anthony, Cyrus Lane as The Judge, Jeff Lillico as Pirelli,
Andrew Prashad as The Beadle, and Joel Cumber as Ensemble.

Sweeney Todd, whose real name is Benjamin Barker, uses his new alias to resume work in his barber shop above Mrs. Lovett’s struggling pie shop
after being wrongfully sentenced to life imprisonment by the corrupt Judge Turpin. After swearing vengeance against the judge that tore his family apart,
Todd and Lovett plot a unique plan that helps them both and leads them down a dangerous, thrilling path with deadly consequences.
This is a promenade style, immersive performance that require the audience to follow the story by actively exploring different parts of the building.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHBqjzTdxM

Into the Woods

Winter Garden Theatre, Toronto (October 28 – 30, 2021)

Book by James Lapine
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Directed by Michael Torontow. Orchestral Adaptation by Wayne Gwillim. Music Director Chris Tsujiuchi.
Original Choreography by Lori Watson. New Choreography by David Andrew Reid. Assistant Director Jennifer Walls.
Set and Lighting Designer Joe Pagnan. Assistant Set and Lighting Designer Echo Zhou.
Costume Designer Laura Delchiaro. Sound Designer Matt Dawson.
Artistic Producer Arkady Spivak (Talk Is Free Theatre). Photos by Roman Boldyrev.

Noah Beemer, Tess Benger, Aidan deSalaiz, Griffin Hewitt, Germaine Konji, Derek Kwan, Richard Lam, Jamie McRoberts, Tracy Michailidis and Glynis Ranney

Into the Woods intertwines the stories of beloved Brothers Grimm’s characters as they search for their ‘happily ever after’.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHsmX3bnju

Konstantin Raikin

August 25, 2018 (Toronto Centre for the Arts)
Solo performance “Above the sky farce…”

Konstantin Raikin, a distinguished actor, Director, artistic Director of the State theater “Satyricon”.

The program name was not chosen randomly. The same name is a collection of works by one of the best Russian poets of second half of XX century David Samoilov. It includes poems dedicated to the theatre, where important words and thoughts, not momentary, but eternal. All this close to Konstantin Raikin. His poetic monodrama is high poetry, passed through the heart. The singer will feature poems by David Samoilov, Nikolai Zabolotsky, Nikolai Rubtsov, Osip Mandelstam, Lope de Vega and Alexander Pushkin.

Konstantin Raikin about the play: “what I do in this play, like myself. I myself consist of different genres. Poetry, especially high poetry, — this is a special state of mind… For me reading poems from the stage — it’s the same role, the same monologues. They obey the same laws stage existence, as any dramatic role. Now I feel the wave of interest in of poetry. People lack something in their spiritual food. Some good phrases, beautiful speech… Pushkin read — bacilli less in the air remain. It as a bell…”

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHsmoXE4Wg

YouTube: https://youtu.be/-Yd5KHcBy9o

Two for the Seesaw (2020)

NSK Theatre presents a play by William Gibson
Fabruary 27, 2020 (Studio N, Toronto)

Director: Alina Starkov, Producer: Andrei Mazuruc,
Cast: Gittel Mosca – Alina Starkov, Jerry Ryan – Stanislav Kamladze.

The play is a love story of two hearts – random, lonely and so unlike. They are thrown from one extreme to the other, they hurt each other, yet continue to hold on to one another. They help each other to survive, to gain strength and faith in oneself. This encounter changes their whole life! Yet involuntarily the question arises: could these two be together, despite the sad experience of their past relationships? The story is funny and touching, at times cruel and unpredictable, just like life itself. Many plot changing pivots, sincere dialogues and catchy phrases, at the same time a real power of feelings and most importantly – it is full of love! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_for_the_Seesaw)

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHsmMbaTew

Tchaikovsky: PRO et Contra (Eifman)

Sony Centre for Performing Arts, Toronto.
May 09-11, 2019. Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg

A ballet by Boris Eifman.
Cast: Oleg Gabyshev, Igor Subbotin, Lyubov Andreyeva, Alina Petrovskaya, Yana Gordienko, Daniel Rubin, Lilia Lishchuk, Marianna Chebykina.
Music: Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Set designer: Zinovy Margolin. Costume designer: Olga Shaishmelashvili.
Lighting designers: Alexander Sivaev and Boris Eifman.

“Tchaikovsky: PRO et CONTRA” – a show inspired by the composer’s life and drawing music and imagery from his numerous compositions.

All photos: flic.kr/s/aHsmE9WG68

Slava’s Snowshow

Bluma Appel Theatre at St Lawrence Center, Toronto. (December 13-16, 2018)

Day 1:
Main yellow clown: Slava Polunin. Yellow clowns: Robert Saralp, Nikolai Terentiev.
Main green clown: Robert Saralp.
Green clowns: Vanya Polunin, Nikolai Terentiev, Georgiy Deliyev, Sergey Shashelev, Aelita West, Andrei Klimak.

Day 2:
Yellow clown: Robert Saralp.
Main green clown: Vanya Polunin.
Green clowns: Georgiy Deliyev, Nikolai Terentiev, Sergey Shashelev, Aelita West, Andrei Klimak.

Day 3:
Yellow clown: Vanya Polunin.
Main green clown: Aelita West.
Green clowns: Robert Saralp, Georgiy Deliyev, Nikolai Terentiev, Sergey Shashelev, Andrei Klimak.

Gesher Theatre – The Dybbuk

Play “The Dybbuk or Between Two Worlds”
Written by: Roy Chen
Inspired by: S. Ansky (Shloyme Zanvl Rappoport)
Directed by: Yevgeny Arye

Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre (Toronto). September 29-30, 2018.


Khanan: Israel (Sasha) Demidov; Leah: Efrat Ben-Zur; Sender, her father: Doron Tavori; Frieda, her grandmother: Fira Kanter;
Rabbi Mendel: Mendy Cahan; Menashe, Leah’s fiance: Ori Yaniv; Hanna, Leah’s mother’s ghost: Neta Shpigelman;
Rabbi Azriel from Miropol: Gilad Kletter; Aunt Bella’s ghost: Lilian Ruth; Watchmaker Baruch’s ghost: Alexander Senderovich;
Rochelle, Baruch’s ghost: Natasha Manor; Menachem, distant relative’s ghost: Yevgeny Terletzky; Fiddler: Boris Portnoy.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHsmjWf4eE

Sarah Kane – 4.48 Psychosis

NSK Theatre presents a play by Sarah Kane
March 8-10, 2018 (Aki Studio, Toronto)

Starring: Dina Levin, Alina Starkov, Richard Veltri.
Artistic Director: Alina Starkov. Lighting Designer: Andrei Mazuruc. Stage Manager: Anastasiya Popova.

Depression. Love. Pain. Hope. Despair. Desire. Isolation. Terminal Point. Place of unbearable pain and endless perspectives.
Brutally honest play about self exploration of petrified hope, personal despair, unconditional love and clinical depression that alters perspective on reality, all framed in the realm of the lyric poem.
A radical artistic stage work, not a diary entry, to mark a perspective that is left behind.

All pictures: flic.kr/s/aHsmcsUroj