The State Memorial and Natural Preserve "Museum-estate of Leo Tolstoy "Yasnaya Polyana"
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Program of the Tolstoy Weekend Festival Announced


On June 9-11, 2017, interpretations of Leo Tolstoy‘s works will be shown on four open-air stages at the Yasnaya Polyana Estate, in what has become a tradition. In addition to them, the festival program includes, for the first time, productions based on other authors’ works that are in harmony with Tolstoy‘s oeuvre. The festival is supported by Governor of Tula Region Aleksei Dyumin. 

This year, about twenty events will take place during three days in several open-air venues, such as plays, story-tellings, and public discussions. The “stage setting“ will be the estate and its environs.

The festival will open on Friday, June 9, with the musical and drama composition of the K.S. Stanislavsky and V.N.Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Musical Theater based on arias from Sergey Prokofiev‘s opera War and Peace. This production is being prepared by the theter‘s art director Alexander Titel specially for Tolstoy Weekend.

The next day, the G.B. Drozdov Wheel Drama Theater (Tolyatti) will present its sketch-play Adolescence, based on Tolstoy’s eponymous novel, on the Small Stage. The play will take place not only on the stage, as the actors will also be performing quite close to the audience. Later, the Mscow actress Anastasia Boshenkova‘s solo performance Sevastopol in December will be shown on the same stage; it is a free artistic statement based on the classical author‘s texts. In the Volkonsky House, there will be a screening of the Polish play The Death of Ivan Ilych and a discussion on The Influence of Russian Literature on Polish Theater.

On Sunday afternoon everybody will have a chance to participate in a public discussion with the German playwright and director Armin Petras who created stage versions of the novels Anna Karenina and War and Peace. In the evening, the Baltic House Festival Theater (St. Petersburg) will present The Family chamber play on the Small Stage. It is based on the play by the young Petersburg playwright Yuri Uryupinsky, which in turn is based on Tolstoy‘s The Kreutzer Sonata.

In addition, during two days – Saturday and Sunday – an unusual performance embracing all of the area of Yasnaya Polyana will take place. The Moscow LIQUID Theater and actors of Tula theaters will show the immersive travel-play The Green Stick, developed especially for Tolstoy Weekend.

The festival will end with the version of Anna Karenina by the A.V. Lunacharsky Sevastopol Academic Russian Drama Theater.

Though productions based on Leo Tolstoy‘s works are, as before, the core of the program, this year there will be some exceptions broadening the festival’s scope.

Thus, one of the participants in Tolstoy Weekend will be Dmitry Brusnikin‘s Workshop with the story-telling The Story of History. This cycle is focused on the role of the individual in history – a subject which Tolstoy raised many times in his works.

One more exception is the play Fathers and Sons, based on the novel by Tolstoy’s contemporary, author Ivan Turgenev, and staged by the V. Mayakovsky Moscow Academic Theater.

This year the festival will also substantially widen its children‘s program, which will remain free of charge, as before.

In the estate’s apple orchard, the Young Spectators‘ Theater from Nizhny Novgorod will show the play How a Man Was Lucky... The actors tell the story based on five tales by Tolstoy merrily and with zest, and masterfully play with objects and show pantomime. Actors of the Moscow Vs. Meyerkhold Center will present the following children’s tales by Tolstoy in the genre of story-telling: Filippok, A Father and His Sons, The Plum-Pit, An Old Man and His Grandson, The Liar, A Boy’s Story of How He Was Caught in the Thunderstorm in the Forest, The Little Bird, The Shark, and The Jump.

“We tried to arrange the program in such a way that spectators could spend a whole day at the estate moving between the venues and just enjoying a summer day among nature. In June the evenings are light, so in order to recreate the atmosphere of a theater hall as much as possible in the open air, on all three days we will start the plays later than usual, at 21:00,“ said Ekaterina Tolstaya, director of the Yasnaya Polyana Museum.

There were some technical innovations this year, too. Trying to take into consideration the strong interest in the event, we increased the spectators’ hall of the Big Stage by nearly 50 %. The schedule of public transport will also be adjusted for the convenience of the festival’s guests.

Tickets to the festival’s events will be sold beginning in late April on the web site, and also in the ticket-offices of the city of Tula and the Yasnaya Polyana Museum. Some of the tickets will be distributed for free among senoir citizens and school and university students.

The Tolstoy Weekend Festival is held in the open air at the Yasnaya Polyana Estate-Museum. The idea for the festival came from Governor of Tula Region Aleksei Dyumin. The first Tolstoy Weekend Festival took place on September 9-11, 2016 and attracted over 3,000 spectators, thus becoming one of the chief cultural events in Tula Region. 

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