“Moscow Stations” at Victoria’s Theatre Inconnu

December 25, 2010 at 9:49 pm | In arts | 1 Comment

Right now, Victorians have a rare chance to see the Canadian premiere of Moscow Stations, Stephen Mulrine’s adaptation and translation of Venedikt Yerofeev’s novel Moscow to Petushki. A one-man play starring Theatre Inconnu‘s Clayton Jevne, the piece takes you through the stations of the drunkard’s cross as he tries to reach salvation in the perpetually elusive Petushki.

You may never want to booze it up again after seeing Jevne’s brilliant performance. But don’t think that this play is impossibly heavy: quite the opposite, it’s incredibly funny (albeit relentlessly profound). Who knew, for example, that you could build an existentialist theory by monitoring the frequency of hiccups, irrespective of whether those hiccups were produced by an atheist or by a knowing believer? What matters is how you name your poison…

^ Graham McDonald (director) and Clayton Jevne (actor)


Those who want to do some pre-theater homework can watch a 5-series documentary (in 10 minute increments), Moscow-Petushki, on Youtube (the link goes to the first installment). It’s not necessary to see the documentary in advance (I didn’t), although it helps to know just how rich Yerofeev’s work and his interpretation of late-sixties Soviet Russia is. That alcohol plays such a huge role isn’t exactly a surprise. What is surprising is the quality of the light that Yerofeev’s shines on the problem: it’s the light a lover would shine, someone who truly loves drinking …and drinking …and drinking, even as he shows without remorse just how debilitating and utterly destructive it is.

It’s a remarkable play, directed by Graham McDonald – and Clayton Jevne absolutely nails the performance. His interpretation has the intellectual heft the script requires, while bringing all the physical details to bear with great power: he switches from persona to persona without missing a beat, he embodies the demons that punish him, the angels that succor him.

^ Poster for Theatre Inconnu’s production by Robert Randall, who also blogs, here.

Moscow Stations plays again tomorrow night (12/26) at 8pm, and continues on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this month. In January, the show resumes from 1/2/11 through 1/8/11. There are also two Sunday matinees – tomorrow (12/26) and 1/2/11 at 2pm. On Tuesday 12/28/10, it’s “pay what you can,” otherwise it’s $14 regular or $10 for students/ seniors/ unwaged. Theatre Inconnu is located in Little Fernwood Hall at 1923 Fernwood, in the heart of Fernwood and Gladstone (what we called “Happy High,” next to Victoria High School), in extreme proximity to the Fernwood Inn and Stage Wine Bar, and other venues of comestible and cultural interest.

1 Comment

  1. Read the story long time ago somewhere, the poster is pure classic! 🙂

    Comment by justine — January 7, 2011 #

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