Two Plays from the New Russia
Bald/Brunet by Daniil Gink and Nijinsky by Alexei Burykin are unquestionably the two most celebrated new dramatic works to appear in Russia in the 1990s. Both were written by first-time playwrights in their early twenties, and both became the talk of Moscow overnight after they appeared. As Russian culture continues to struggle with the past, these plays are clear signs that Russian drama, at least, is on the verge of finding a voice for the future. Coincidentally or not, both works center on a single character whose personality breaks into two warring halves. Bald/Brunet is a wise and touching examination of an aging jazz musician while Nijinsky, based on the case of the great Polish-Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, is a soaring hymn to the enigma and autonomy of genius. These new Russian plays are musical and poetic, provocative and insightful, tender yet tragic. And they each have equally as much to say about universal human values as they do about the Russian experience.
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