THE BEAUTIFUL ANNA KARENINA OF TURKU KISSES ELOQUENCE GOODBYE

Matti Wacklin 

Newspaper AAMULEHTI, Tampere/Finalnd

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        A remake of Leo Tolstoy’s novel “Anna Karenina” by a Ukrainian director Andrei Zholdak discards the classic’s eloquence and the limits of fathoming the mechanisms of love. The only essential thing is what feelings the speech conceals. And the feelings were demonstrated both physically and psychologically in the play performed on the stage of the Turku City Theater. It is upon them that the impressive extraordinariness of the new remake rests. The movements of soul and even unlimited visualization were used as artistic means. “Anna Karenina”, more than four hours in length, attracts spectators’ attention with potent energy and rhythm. Vladimir Klykov’s melodies, as well as the palette of sounds – a lofty, unexpected, and even somewhat humorous palette – tune you in to an inexplicable tonality.MarkoMäki’s bass sets the tempo of the play. “Anna Karenina” even has own bandmaster (StefanKarlson), whose presence makes it clear that the story will have familiar and unavoidable motifs.

One swing only

        The exclusive length does not constitute a problem; the intensity changes only once, closer towards the end of the performance. The fact that live video broadcasting has taken a strong root in theatrical aesthetics is by no means a disadvantage. Close-up shooting extends and deepens theatrical methods. Anna Karenina’s truth-revealing sincerity, duplicated on the wall, is crucial. It shows human feelings directly as they are. Zholdak’s intention was not to satisfy and sooth the mind, which deadens the meaning of words. He says he has been studying people and the new forms of expression together with the actors.

Kosonen’s break through

        The actors had had a tough time, since Zholdak emphasizes an actor living in the present moment, who must be ready to make himself physically susceptible. The performance is full of effervescent motion, which at times can be dangerous to a certain extent. Krista Kosonen plays excellently Anna Karenina who is choking in her own passion. This is the ultimate breakthrough of the young actress in theater. She is both tender and sensual.

        Markus Järvenpää plays Vronsky, Karenina’s lover. The young actor is very interesting. Psychologically motivated to have the role,Järvenpääis scrambling along the wall, as once was Juha Murje, acting Eero in “The Seven Brothers”.

        Zholdak’s demand to live in the moment of “now” pertained to all others as well. The cheated husband Karenin, played byPetriRajala, and Oblonsky byAriPiispaare both strong personalities.

Who he is: Andrei Zholdak

        A Ukrainian director, born in Kyiv in 1962. He currently resides on Berlin. An author awarded with the UNESCO Fine Art Award in 2004. A theatrical radical who refuses to read texts from a conventional point of view. Zholdak’s works are compared with works by Dali, Fellini, and Grotovskiy

Commentary

One can be a real guru

        There exists a statement that theatrical critics have the predilection to randomly exalt the creators of artworks. Andriy Zholdak is one of those who have been noted by critics; however, in the spectator’s hall of Turku City Theater one can be reassured that he truly deserves the place he is granted. The four-hour-long performance with the lavish use of theatrical language is an incontestable feeling-awakening breakthrough and just an unforgettable event.

        For a theatergoer, “Anna Karenina” is a thought-provoking experience. The play touches upon the issue of courage of the Finnish theater. Turku City Theater definitely has enough courage. It is a very good beginning in the city to become Europe’s cultural capital!

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