Thursday, July 31, 2008

First Impression: Couldn't We Be, Phoenix Theatre, Toronto

First Impression: Couldn't We Be, Phoenix Theatre, TorontoFirst Impression: Couldn't We Be, Phoenix Theatre
A Play by Vladimir Milman; Directed by Art Babayants; Phoenix Cultural Diversity Theatre
July 26-27, 2008; Palmerston Library Theatre; Toronto, ON, Canada

Couldn't We Be
Drama (and ballroom dance): She is well-settled, 19. He is 40, no prospects for the future... Couldn't we be: two artistic maverick souls....
The plot of the play is based on a true story: two artistic souls run across each other in the contemporary world of pragmatic indifference. She is the only child of two well-settled and practically oriented parents, who have anticipated a certain life path for her, while he is a 40 years old recent newcomer to Canada, an actor with poor English and no prospects for the future. As the story develops, we can see where this takes the two maverick souls.
Couldn’t We Be

Anyone who has experienced immigration knows that it is not easy. The culture shock, language barrier, unemployment are only a few obstacles ready for a fresh immigrant. And if a newcomer is gifted and aiming for success it is often a tragedy when the great expectations aren’t met. The play "Couldn’t We Be" by Vladimir Milman presents a drama of a Russian immigrant actor that struggles to stay true to his art despite the adversity of life in an alien environment. In his search for accomplishment and creation, he sacrifices everything he holds dear, his country, his family and his love for one purpose; and that purpose is devotion to life even when it’s gone.

In the play the work of an artist is a desire to live passionately and Vikenty Varchuk is an actor who came out of obscure poverty in Ukraine and rose to stardom as an actor in Moscow, hoping to conquer the rest of the world he decides to come to Toronto. But here, at his late age and in foreign culture, he faces what many immigrants go through, he is not needed; he lives on the street and has only one activity – teaching dance to a very young woman named Julia, who is also of Russian descent. What transpires is a meeting of different generations of immigration - one Russian, that has just arrived and another that is culturally Canadian and yet spiritually Russian.

The age difference, religious backgrounds and outlooks on life are presented in lively and humorous scenes. Julia’s parents portrayed a Russian Canadian family native to Toronto with Ukrainian background and Jewish heritage. Even though Vikenty is accepted by the family and is loved by Julia, he is different; Julia has a gift of an actress - the love of life, and Vikenty wants to achieve perfection and yet is completely alone. In Toronto he is not known and the problem is how Julia and he could be together. This is a story of true love, true art and it is also a true story.

The actors conveyed emotions very naturally with pathos and heart. Jane Milman was very passionate and spirited in her expressions and danced beautifully. She was particularly honest in showing Julia’s emotions, and excitement about life. Marie Carriere Gleason was wild playing Julia’s eccentric mother, throwing tantrums and fits, many mothers can be associated with this character. Philip Soiffer portrayed a calm, understanding and wise father figure; he was a vital contrast to Julia’s mother. Peter Nelson was genuinely Russian in his portrayal of Vikenty and the Russian condition: "I expressed what is truly inside Vikenty’s heart, which is loneliness," says Peter Nelson.

There are great dances and music in the play, the director is Art Babayants. He has recently come from Moscow where he has his own musical theatre. 'Couldn’t we be' is his first dramatic production in Toronto of Vladimir Milman’s play. It is also the first time that the play is performed in English by Canadian actors. It is performed on July 27-28 at Palmerston Library Theatre. "I care for struggling artists that have to find ways to survive for the sake of art, which is why I wanted to show the story of an artist Vikenty," says Art Babayants.

Vladimir Milman dedicated the story to Leonid Grill.

2008 © Anya

Phoenix Theatre New Production: Couldn't We Be Couldn't We Be

1 comment:

olga said...

For this real experience of the virtual reality there is one sweet word "Feedback" or two words - "Semantic Web", or three - "World Wide Web".


"Тут вот добрые люди в лице [adam_black] прислали ссылочку на отзыв о его состоявшемся спектакле Couldn't We Be -

Помимо добрых слов об авторе, режиссере, сюжете и артистах там ещё имеется и фотография входа, украшенного моей афишей. Так что я хоть посмотрела, как оно выглядело на самом деле, в реальности и вам вот покажу.

Хоть не я, но дело моих рук побывало на улицах Торонто."

Лана Fleatly [brianika] wrote,
@ 2008-08-03 13:15:00