Reap It and Weep

Pyotr Semak in Brothers and Sisters: love of the common good
photo: Victor Vassiliev
Pyotr Semak in Brothers and Sisters: love of the common good

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Brothers and Sisters
Adapted by Lev Dodin, Sergey Bekhterev, and Arkadiy Katsman from the novels of Fyodor Alexandrovich Abramov
Lincoln Center Festival (closed)

Like the Sovremennik Theater of Moscow's 1996 Broadway production of Into the Whirlwind (an adaptation of Eugenia Ginzburg's more than thousand-page autobiography of her 18 years in a gulag), Brothers and Sisters is memorable less for its corpulent dramaturgy than the lean quality of its acting. The ensemble has maintained its vigor, and there's a sharp subtlety to their interaction that attests to the company's rich and influential history. Though a good portion of those in attendance were of Russian heritage, the purely human connection between actor and audience was irresistible, regardless of national origin. Compound this with the way the American identity in the 20th century has been fashioned in opposition to the Russian, and you have a recipe not only for a profoundly illuminating theatrical experience, but a potentially transfiguring one as well.

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