June 22, 2020

The Show Must Go On


The Show Must Go On
Our Minecraft skills aren't nearly this impressive. Screenshot, YouTube, G.A. Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theater.

St. Petersburg's G.A. Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theater, faced with the impossibility of performing during the coronavirus pandemic, found an inventive way to show their abridged version of one of Anton Chekhov's masterpieces.

The theater used the extremely popular online game Minecraft to perform the show, with actors speaking in real-time as their online avatars moved across the stage. While only 90 attendees were able to fit in the in-game theater, many more joined the broadcast on the theater's YouTube page.

The theater, costumes, stage, and set were all painstakingly recreated in the online game. The performance was complete with all the hallmarks of Russian dramatic arts: three chimes to mark the start of the show, a reminder that recording in the theater was prohibited, and an admonition to turn off one's phone.

See the show, and a short tour of the meticulously-recreated virtual theater, here.

Minecraft has certainly found its use in the midst of the pandemic; one of Moscow's most prestigious universities has also turned to the online game to allow students to meet.

Meanwhile, we're still using wooden pickaxes.

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Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
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