By Nicole Itkin

Hilarious, thoughtful, full of heart. “Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin: In Our Own Words” at the BRIC is a masterclass in character and Russian theater.

The show is a beautifully silly rendition and explanation of the classic tale: Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. 

The script branches across three “story lines”: explaining Russian theater, explaining Eugene Onegin, and explaining Pushkin’s life. The script is tight and seamless, evolving from scene to scene, keeping me hooked. I never know what the next scene will be, but it always makes perfect sense when we get there.

We start with a hilarious explanation for the Russian spleen (“like American blues! but Russian blues!”) We hop, skip, leap from an explanation of a Russian winter (cold) to finding out that Tatyana is in love (she can’t sleep!). And to wrap out the evening, we get a hypothesis for why, why Onegin changes his mind, goes back on everything he’s said before, to try and win Tatyana over.

It’s an explanation I’m still thinking about.

Every actor is tasked with playing a wide variety of characters, and all handle each and every part marvelously. (There’s truly a range of parts: there’s Onegin, there’s Tatyana, there’s a goose).

I felt for the characters, felt sad for them, felt joy for them. I felt that I understood them.

The cast members shine in all their roles– to say they understand their characters would be an understatement. The actors show us the story, and explain what’s behind the words, behind the facades and feelings. It’s a spectacle and an explanation, big and bold and truthful. Through it all, we’re laughing hysterically.

I love Eugene Onegin, I always have. But this play made me love it even more.

Go see it!

 

 

Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin: In Our Own Words

Who: KRYMOV LAB NYC
​What: Pushkin ‘EUGENE ONEGIN’ In Our Own Words
​Where: BRIC
​When: January 10 – 28

The production stars Natalie Battistone (ART’s world premiere of O.P.C. by V (formerly Eve Ensler)), Kwesiu Jones (MTA Radio Plays (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater)), Jeremy Radin (TV: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, CSI, Criminal Minds), Jackson Scott (Spanish punk band Mano de Dios), Elizabeth Stahlmann (Tectonic Theater Project’s world premiere of Here There Are Blueberries at La Jolla Playhouse, directed by Moisés Kaufman), and Anya Zicer (Bad Roads by Natalka Vorozhbyt at LaMaMa Experimental Theatre).

The production features dramaturgy by Shari Perkins, choreography by Rachel McMullin, scenic design by Emona Stoykova, costume and puppet design by Luna Gomberg, and lighting design by Krista Smith. Kate Marvin is the sound designer, Leah Ogawa is the puppet designer, Yana Biryukova is projection designer and Jacob Russell is the production stage manager. Publicity by Katie Rosin/Kampfire PR.