Theater Review 88.
(photo credit: )
Lady with a Dog
Adapted and directed by Levan Tsuladze
Things can always be worse, suggests professor/narrator (Beso Baratashvili). This seems to be the idea, tenuous at best, imposing last year's Russo-Georgian war on this otherwise marvelous and magical production.
Tsuladze adapted Lady with a Dog for human actors and puppets from Anton Chekhov's short story of the same name. It tells of Dmitri (Nika Tavadze) and Anna (Nanka Kalatozishvili), whose brief, passionate summer affair at a seaside resort ends when each returns to real life with husband and family. Thereafter, consumed with longing, each imagines "what if," and so lose whatever actual chance each has for happiness.
The live actors represent reality, the puppets their fantasies and dreams. The play's layers of meaning are implied rather than expressed, and the characters' voices - puppet and human - are in their silences rather than what they say.
The connection between the human actors and the miniature, perfectly realized puppet world is real and touching. Tropical Yalta and Moscow in winter contrast unerringly. There's a moment in which the puppet lovers watch a brightly lit puppet cruise ship pass, and another that has lonely humans playing in a snowstorm. Lovely stuff. And never mind the war.