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Chekhov Festival Brings the World of Theater to Moscow

A celebration of theater and performance from around the world

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This article originally appeared in The Moscow Times

Approximately once every two summers, ever since its inaugural outing in the shaky, post-Perestroika year of 1992, the International Chekhov Theater Festival has brought the world of theater to Moscow.

<figcaption>International Chekhov Theater Festival</figcaption>
International Chekhov Theater Festival

The first of this year's offerings — Denis Podalydes' production of Moliere's comedy "The Bourgeois Gentleman" for the Theatre des Bouffes du Nord — opens Wednesday and runs for four consecutive nights at the Mossoviet Theater.

The last, running at the same venue from July 13 to 17, will be one of the festival's most-awaited entries — Luc Bondy's staging of Pierre de Marivaux's "False Confessions" for the Odeon Theater of Europe, which stars the great Isabelle Huppert.

By the time the festival closes with the final of these five performances,19 productions originating in 13 countries will have passed through town. And that is just counting the main program.

A parallel set of productions titled the Moscow program will tack on an additional 14 performances running from Wednesday to July 13. Considering political and social trends of late, this program is of no little interest.

These days, the swatting of a fly can take on political connotations, and so I may be stretching things just a bit, but I see in the Moscow program a concerted effort to claim a place for Russian theater in the European family. The entire program consists of Moscow productions created by foreigners working in the Russian capital.

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