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Alone in the field … actor!

A one-man show is a complex, rare genre and, some even say, are dying. Contrary to this sad opinion, Solo festival of solo performances is taking place in Moscow this week, which was attended by individualists from different countries of Europe. I propose today to arrange my own small festival and recall the most famous Russian solo performances.

The solo performance genre is complicated for any actor. Not everyone will be able to keep the attention of the audience for a long time. In an hour and a half, any monologue becomes boring. Trying to cheer up his speech, the actor can easily fall into vulgarity. In a word, a solo performance is a difficult genre, and only actors with a capital letter can stretch it out. Let’s see who exactly.

Arkady Raikin, miniatures
Then there was no such word. But the variety miniatures of the man-theater of Arkady Raikin, during which he instantly changed images, facial expressions and voice, in my opinion, are very suitable for the definition of a one-man show. Many of Raikin’s miniatures were included in his television play “People and Mannequins.”

Leonid Filatov, “About Fedot the Sagittarius, a daring young man”
Another famous Soviet solo performance is the ironic tale of Leonid Filatov, “About Fedot the Sagittarius, a daring young man.” The actor and the poet in a white suit reads the text for all the characters. It is the author’s performance that is considered the best. To give an opportunity to be convinced of this, I bring the whole performance.

Sergey Jurassic, Harms Stories
Jurassic is an excellent reader, audio books in his performance keep all the listeners’ attention in suspense. His solo performances are most often a vivid artistic performance of classical works. But I liked reading the stories of Daniel Harms the most.

Evgeny Grishkovets, “Simultaneously”
At the beginning of the article, I said that you need to be a great actor in order to draw a one-man show. This is not about Grishkovets. He has a lot of talents, he is a real man orchestra, but I would not call him a wonderful actor, because everywhere he plays the same role of himself. But somehow this shy uncle stumbles on his own text, captivates the audience. It seems to me that all his subtle observations and conclusions are very close to us. It was as if we had long known what he was saying, but could not formulate for ourselves. Grishkovets knows how to derive a deep, but understandable philosophy from any observation: whether it is the meaning of the phrase “I learned one thing,” the preparation of an ordinary person for the change of the millennium, or the fact that train drivers change at junction stations. People love his performances because these observations turn out to be so close to their ordinary life. I won’t say that “Simultaneously” is Grishkovets’s best solo performance, but for me personally it turned out to be the closest. In case I am interested in you, I bring the whole show.

Konstantin Raikin, “Double bass”
Konstantin Raikin, continuing the tradition of his father, loves to play alone. In The Supper with Dostoevsky, he plunges the audience into the difficult atmosphere of Notes from the Underground and, together with the classic, makes a diagnosis to society. In the play “With his own voice” he talks about his childhood, about his unwillingness to devote himself to the family profession, about his relationship with his father. In “Beloved One” he reads his favorite poems and stories passed through the very heart. But perhaps his most striking performance is “Double Bass” based on the play by Patrick Suskind. The format of the solo performance perfectly conveys the loneliness of the protagonist.

Alice Freindlich, Oscar and the Pink Lady. Fourteen Letters to God
Some believe that men make better actors than women. I don’t know how true this is, but I really can’t imagine many actresses who will pull a one-man show. The exception is the beautiful Alice Freindlich. She played the role of a ten-year-old child and his old nurse in the solo performance Oscar and the Pink Lady. Fourteen Letters to God. This is a sad story about an incurable boy. He only has 10 days to live, and she offers him to play a game – to imagine that for these days he lives his whole life from childhood to old age.

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