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Satyricon, Raikin Satyricon Theatre (Moscow)

8 Sheremetyevskaya Street, Moscow (tel.: +7 495 689-78-44, +7 495 689-78-36, +7 495 689-78-85, +7 495 602-65-77), Metro stations: "Rizhskaya", "Savelovskaya".

http://www.satirikon.ru

The forefather of the Raikin Satyricon Theatre (the Satyricon or the Theatre, for short) was Leningrad Theatre of Miniatures, which was founded in 1939 and became known as Arcady Raikin's Theatre. This was a theatre that had its own repertoire, its own company of actors and its own indisputable leader, Arkady Raikin.

Having been created as a variety theatre and having retained some of its original features, the Theatre gradually abandoned the traditional variety programme. Its distinctive repertoire and form of the performance, acute attention to contemporary issues and, finally, the unique personality of its leader determined its own, unique place in Russian theatre culture.

In 1982, the Theatre moved to Moscow, becoming the State Theatre of Miniatures. A large number of young people joined its company. Alongside Arkady Raikin, another leader, his son Konstantin Arkadyevich Raikin, appeared. "I have always been critical of nepotism. Now I myself have sinned, but I don't repent at all. My son is accepting a difficult inheritance..., " said Arkady Raikin at that time.

As a permanent residence, the Theatre received the building of the Tadzhikistan Cinema that had been built to a standard design and was absolutely unsuitable for a theatre. A great amount of rebuilding and remodelling works was required, such that it was as late as on 4th June 1987 that the first performance, Peace to Your Home, was played in the new building.

The theatre was renamed the Satyricon: since the old name, the Theatre of Miniatures, no longer corresponded to the essence of many performances of the theatre, an idea of the new name was conceived.

Dictionaries specify the meaning of the Latin word satira (a later variant of satura) as "miscellany" or "medley". The word satura had a close meaning and was used to denote the first Ancient Roman theatre genre, which was a combination of dialogue, pantomime, music and dance. This is exactly that "medley", a kind of artistic mix, that in addition is precisely focused: "relentless, castigatory, mocking exposure of people's vices and flaws of society", as dictionaries put it.

As Konstantin Raikin told: "Why the name "Satyricon"? This is related to the history of Arcady Raikin's theatre. A world of satire and humor. Besides that, there was a magazine called Satyricon at the beginning of the last century; it published works by Russian satirical writers such as Zoshenko, Teffi and others. Satyricon was also the name of a novel by Petronius; it comically and satirically described the life of the Roman society. Satyricon was also a film by Fellini. We were attracted by the obscurity of this name. Nobody knows for sure what it means, but I can feel the meaning of this word somehow. The essence is clear, it's satire, but one is not obliged to stick to it."

In December of 1987, Arkady Raikin passed away. This was the end of the entire chapter not only in the history of his theatre, but also in the history of dramatic art. The work of Arkady Raikin was taken over by Konstantin Raikin.

Having become the head of the theatre, Raikin embarked on a search for a new image for the Satyricon and was gradually shaping a full-fledged drama repertoire. For example, among other performances the stage of the Satyricon saw The Maids based on the play by Jean Genet and staged by Roman Viktyuk (1988). The performance enjoyed overwhelming success. By having dramatically changed the course of the theatre, Raikin won a sounding victory. The Maids became a phenomenon in Moscow's theatre life. The Theatre presented The Maids while on tours in many countries and at many international theatre festivals.

This was how the new history of the Satyricon started. The Theatre inherited many distinctive features of its predecessor: the high working capacity, the constant creative research as well as the love and respect towards spectators. And the success, as a result of all of the mentioned above.

The Theatre has gathered a unique company that has mastered various genres. This is why the repertoire of the Satyricon is varied. For the last fifteen years, the Satyricon has performed and is still performing shows based on works by William Shakespeare, Jean-Baptiste Moliere, Berthold Brecht, Franz Kafka, Fernand Crommelynck, James Goldman, Carlo Goldoni, Edmond Rostand, Milan Kundera, Iris Murdoch and Patrick Sueskind.

Among the performances and directors that have decorated the posters of the Satyricon, one must necessarily mention The Magnificent Cuckold based on the play by Crommelynck and staged by Pyotr Fomenko in 1994 (the State Award of Russia to Raikin, the Golden Mask Award of the Russian Theatre Union to Fomenko and the Crystal Turandot Award of the Muse of Freedom art association to Natalya Vdovina and Raikin), The Metamorphosis based on the novella by Kafka and staged by Valery Fokin, jointly with the Meyerhold Centre, in 1995 (the Golden Mask Award to Raikin and the Crystal Turandot Award for the best performance of the season) and Hamlet based on the play by Shakespeare and staged by Robert Sturua.

In 1996, the Satyricon realised a grand project: The Threepenny Opera based on the play by Brecht and directed by Vladimir Mashkov, which was dedicated to the 85th anniversary of the theatre's founder, the great actor Arkady Raikin.

In 2000, the Theatre presented the premiere of The Double Bass, a one-man performance by Konstantin Raikin based on the play by Suskind. This outstanding acting work brought the second Golden Mask Award to Raikin. The Double Bass up to now remains one of Moscow's best theatrical performance. In 2001, the stage of the Satyricon saw the dramatic show Chantecler based on the play by Rosmond and directed by Raikin.

The year 2002 was marked by a new encounter with the outstanding Georgian director Robert Sturua. He staged a little-known play by Goldoni, Il sior Todero brontolon o sia Il vecchio fastidioso ("Grumpy Mr. Todero or the Annoying Old Man"). The Satyricon changed the name to Mr. Todero the Master, which better corresponded to the director's interpretation of the play. The performance starred Konstantin Raikin.

In 2003, the Theatre turned to Russian classics for the first time in its history: Raikin staged the play A Profitable Post by Aleksandr Ostrovsky. Soon after that, another performance, The Land of Love (based on the play The Snow Maiden by Ostrovsky and staged by Raikin), came out. This performance became part of the image of the new generation of the Satyricon's actors who were supervised by Raikin at the Moscow Art Theatre School and who massively joined the Theatre after having graduated from the school.

The young actors are actively working at the Theatre, and the current repertoire contains three more performances where these actors are involved. These performances are Well done, Pushkin! and A Curious Mishap (the former based on tales by Aleksandr Pushkin and the latter based on the play by Goldoni, both staged by Marina Brusnikina) played on the Grand Stage and The Stupid Lady (based on the play by Lope de Vega and staged by Ruzanna Movsesyan) played on the Small Stage.

Two performances staged by Saint Petersburg director Yury Butusov, Macbett (based on Eugene Ionesco's free adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth) and Richard III (based on the play by Shakespeare) have been enjoying great success.

In 2005, the Satyricon and the Pushkin Theatre realised a joint project: the stage saw the performance The Enemy's Cosmetique based on the novel by Amelie Nothomb and directed by Roman Kozak; the performance starred Raikin and Kozak, the two head art managers of the two theatres.

The 2005/2006 season was opened with the premiere of the performance Funny Money directed by Raikin and based on the play by the English playwright Ray Cooney.

2006/2007 season:
– Yuri Butusov staged King Lear with Konstantin Raikin starring (the fourth Golden Mask);
– Marina Brusnikina — A Curious Mishap by Carlo Goldoni and Balzaminova based on the tragedy by Alexander Ostrovsky;
– Konstantin Raikin staged An Alphabet of Actor (a class-concert with young actors and Konstantin Raikin himself starring) on the Grand Stage; and two performances based on plays of Irish playwright Martin McDonagh, The Beauty Queen and The Lonesome West.

In 2008, a real fairy-tale for adults was created on the Theatre's stage. Konstantin Raikin staged The Blue Monster by Carlo Gozzi in circus genre. Directors Alla Pokrovskaya and Sergey Shantalinsky together with students of the Moscow Art Theatre School Studio (the class of Konstantin Raikin) staged a performance based on the play Every Dog Has His Day by Alexander Ostrovsky on the Small Stage. Konstantin Raikin starred as Akhov.

In 2009, after some forced interruption, the performance A Lucrative Post by Ostrovsky appeared on the stage again with new actors for many roles. The same year, the Theatre opened a new season with a performance based on the play of the French playwright Gerald Sibleyras Heroes: Le Vent Des Peupliers directed by Konstantin Raikin.

As Konstantin Raikin told: "The following may be said about the artistic principles of our theatre. On the one hand, it is a powerful energy attack on the audience, an attack based on high drama, primarily on classics. Regardless of the genre, it is a very assertive, muscular, attacking (though not aggressively) action on stage. On the other hand, it is big love towards spectators. There must be no indifference or antagonism towards spectators. Everything that happens on stage is made for the audience and with love towards it. This is the Satyricon's principled stand inherited from Arkady Raikin's Theatre. We work in order to be understood, in order to elevate, purify and light the souls of our spectators. This is why we are a theatre of powerful positive energy, but at the same time a poetic theatre that always seeks to break with the everyday-life routine, to get liberated from it. As for methodology, we stand on Stanislavsky's positions, and we do not reject the psychological theatre, because we understand that a theatre cannot exist without a developed psychological scale of human relations and feelings, without the "life of human spirit" on stage. This is why we follow a principle of inviting various directors, necessarily those who are close to us in spirit, in their perception of theatre and life."

By now, the Satyricon has become a leader in terms of popularity, all its performances attract capacity crowds, which to a great extend may be attributed to the fact that they are staged in an entertaining and vivid manner.

Despite financial problems, which exist everywhere, the Theatre is living a full creative life, preparing new premieres, participating in festivals and going on tours around Russia and abroad.

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Satyricon, Raikin Satyricon Theatre

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