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To Change or not to Change: Russian Theatre 2013

Russian Theatre in 2013 is something of a hydra-headed monster, with something for everyone to love and hate. The epithets run the gamut of all possibilities - avant-garde, traditional, political, commercial, psychological and physical. These often competing and mutually-exclusive styles have their champions and adherents. Yesterday's rebels are today's classics, and tomorrow's rebels are already gaining a foothold. It is a highly dynamic artistic territory in a country where the urge for change and the weight of tradition are of nearly equal strength. We also have seen in the last decade a resurgence of new writing that has made Russian theater more responsive to current social and political developments. John Freedman will attempt to put this complex picture into a context that will be accessible to anyone with an interest in Russian culture, history, politics or art.

John Freedman is an American writer and journalist who has lived in Moscow since 1988. He has translated four dozen Russian plays which have been performed in the United States, Canada, England, Australia and South Africa. Freedman’s play “Dancing, Not Dead” won the International Play Competition conducted by The Internationalists in 2011. With Jennifer Johnson he was co-author of the U.S.-based Double Edge Theatre performance “The Firebird” in 2010. He is an artistic adviser to Sputnik Theatre in London and a creative adviser to Breaking String Theatre in Austin, TX, both of which houses specialize in Russian theatre. He has published and/or edited nine books about Russian theater, including “Provoking Theater” with Russian director Kama Ginkas, and has been the theatre critic of The Moscow Times for two decades.

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