Anna Karenina…There is a certain weight to the name. Most people would won’t reach for the book and very few will read it beginning to end. I expected a play that is hard to watch. I was wrong in the most pleasant of ways.
A message to turn off our cell phones…The lights go out…The play starts… A fairytale?
This is what I felt from the beginning of Anna Karenina. A fairytale. From the dancing characters dressed in white, to the music – smooth jazz and Beloslava’s lovely voice. The stage is made of manuscript pages from Tolstoy’s novel and the lighting gives a feeling of a cold Russian winter afternoon. I haven’t seen so much class in a play in a very long time.
The actors are stylishly dressed and enchant us with their talent. Mila Bancheva IS Anna Karenina and I will not be able to picture the famous heroine in any other way. From the hidden feelings of love at the start and through all of the transformations that follow, her interpretation is perfect. Martin Dimitrov(Vronsky) and Iriney Konstantinov(Karenin) are the other sides of the love triangle and are faithful to their roles without taking too much attention off Anna.
The other actors are a part of a happy, cheerful crowd, that is a bit concerned by what is happening to Anna but does not let it ruin their fun. These people are a part of the grand celebration that is bourgeois life and they don’t take anything seriously.
The novel Anna Karenina is many things: a love triangle, a clash between ideals, a conflict between love and duty. The play Anna Karenina is a tragedy in times of celebration and a feast for the theatergoer. We will feel compassion towards Anna, we will love her and we will judge her. A long time after the play ends we will still be in awe of its beauty and sadness.
Anna Karenina in Sofia Theatre
By Leo Tolstoy, adapted by Nikolay Polyakov
Director: Nikolay Polyakov
Scenography: Marina Raychinova
Music: Christo Yotzov
Flugelhorn: Mikhail Yosifov
Choreography: Anna Pampulova
Assistant Director: Yulian Malinov
Video: Dimitar Sardzhev
Mila Bancheva/Yoanna Temelkova, Sofia Marinkova, Yuli Malinov, Milena Zhivkova, Martin Gyaurov, Yulian Rachkov, Martin Dimitrov, Simona Halacheva, Yordanka Lyubenova, Mikhail Milchev, Iriney Konstantinov, Lora Mutisheva
*Mila Bancheva and Yoanna Temelkova take turns in playing Anna Karenina
Duration: 2 hours and 40 minutes (with intermission)
IMPORTANT: In Bulgarian with English subtitles. Sit on rows 9-13 or ask the cashier which seats are best for foreigners.