Voyage Theater Company paid tribute to the survivors of the Siege of Leningrad in a rare bilingual production of MY POOR MARAT (МОЙ БЕДНЫЙ МАРАТ) by esteemed Russian playwright Aleksei Arbuzov as directed by Wayne Maugans.

MY POOR MARAT is a love story set during the siege where three young people lose their innocence as they witness the horrors of war. Over 300,000 people lost their lives in Leningrad during the winter of 1942. Held under siege by the Nazis, the city was without heat, food, and water while temperatures plummeted in one of the most brutal winters Russia ever experienced. Surviving the death and destruction, the three main characters reunite in the city where they first met, only to be confronted with the harsh reality of their lives and life under the Stalinist regime.

Written in 1965, MY POOR MARAT was translated into English by Ariadne Nicolaeff under a different title: THE PROMISE. Voyage Theater Company presented the play under its original title MY POOR MARAT in a brand-new English language translation by Oleg Ivanov featuring a bilingual cast. Out of the 24 scheduled performances in April, six were entirely in Russian without supertitles.

MY POOR MARAT was a featured event of New York State’s official Russian-American History Month as sponsored by the Russian American Cultural Heritage Center (RACH-C). Kipp Osborne of Canal Park Playhouse, where the show was performed in April 2012, and VTC associate artistic director Charles C. Bales acted as co-producers for this unique cultural event.

The cast included Igor Semenov, Aleksandra Glinka, and Arthur Kriklivy — all of whom made their New York theater debuts. Russian native Mr. Semenov was brought from St. Petersburg especially for this production. Ms. Glinka, an Estonian, studied at the Moscow Art Theatre. And New York City native Mr. Kriklivy is a first-generation Russian-American who earned his degree in acting from Brooklyn College.

Photo by Beowulf Sheehan