Day and Night in Chekhov Country

The early evening and night in the Russian countryside is a unique phenomenon. Mute in its stillness but full of sound and movement as if the earth itself has come alive. Humming and buzzing with  life. A myriad of creatures, birds and insects live out their fate and the forest stirs with unseen movement. It is the time when the emotions become attuned to the world and it seems we hear the fullness of its shifting chords and languid phrases. It is the time which Chekhov often chose in his plays to reveal the heightened awareness of the characters, where they re experience life’s betrayals and traumas as the intensity of the night encloses around the already enclosed world of the dacha.
Anyway that’s enough lyricism for one blog – on with the work. I work all day now, writing and sifting through the material for the films. I work better in the open air and even better when it rains for some reason. The long days give ample opportunity for prolonged activity and for thinking through ideas. Step by step the plans are beginning to take shape, gradually gaining coherence as well substance. Early days still but good progress.

Chekhov Country – Hot and hardly visible

Returned from the Russian countryside after almost three weeks. Not exactly a place of Chekhovian atmospheres and  moods. Such things are hard to find nowadays in the Russian countryside but with wild fires billowing in the hot summer wind and temperatures of up to 40 degrees, those lazy dreaming Russian summers seem like a thing of the long distant past. Which is something  Chekhov was already hinting at in The Cherry Orchard. We left Moscow as the heat started to become unbearable and headed out to a an old soviet style holiday rest complex. It was built as a Pioneer camp for soviet school children but has been converted into  a kind of holiday complex for adults. There we escaped the worst of the smog and smoke from the fires.  I took the main computer with me and was able to get a considerable amount of work done especially on the Stanislavsky Film “Stanislavsky and the Metamorphosis of Russian Theatre”. The script is more or less fleshed out and ready for recording. I have a good narrator in mind, James Langton, an English actor who lives in New York. He has just completed the narration for the other film I have in post production “The Japanese Garden – Art, Landscape and Meaning”. The title may appear elsewhere under a different variation until I can settle on a version that I am happy with. James delivered the final text with the corrections I had requested and I can now start to complete the film. Excellent narrator of text and I am very happy with the result. I will work on “Stanislavsky and Metamorphosis” parallel with the Japanese film. Now back in Moscow and coping with the unendurable heat.

Stanslavsky Documentary Film – Copernicus Films – Update

Just back from the UK after accomplishing several important steps in the progress of this new documentary film about Stanislavsky of his life and work. The one major accomplishment was securing the interview with Jean Benedetti, one of the foremost international authorities on Stanislavsky, which will be included as part of the film. After a period of negotiation the interview took place with Jean Benedetti at the beginning of May 2010. Instrumental to this process was the help of Paul Fryer of the Rose Bruford College of acting and Andrew Eglinton also from Rose Bruford College and who runs The London Theatre Blog. Paul Fryer is also curator of The Stanislavsky Centre which houses one of the largest Stanislavsky archives outside of Russia and is a major resource for research into Stanislavsky. Andrew made sure that the logistics side of things were in place as well as playing a main role in the recording sessions which took place at Rose Bruford College and advice about archive material. On returning to Moscow the production will continue with more filming and locations in Moscow as well as negotiations for archive footage. Post production and editing for the film is planned for the middle of June and will continue throughout the summer.