After Akhmatova

The play is based on historical fact and Anna Akhmatova was a real poet. Set at the time of the Bolshevik regime and the subsequent Stallinst purges, the play deals with repression and the need of the artist to create. Anna writes a poem that she cannot put in writing, so she memorises it and burns the manuscript. It is eventually published twenty years later. Is it the subversive nature of poetry that is the problem, or simply the fact that it bears witness to things the government does not want remembered?
This was a fascinating play, but hard to watch, as you waited for the police to come to arrest the two characters who speak out – Osip Mandelstam (Richard macMillan) and Anna’s sone Lev Gumilyov (Eric Goulem.
Sara Orenstein gave her usual strong performance as Anna, with great support from Clare Calnan as Lydia and Caroline Gillis as Nadezhda. the one weak character was Alan Taylor, playing Paul Dunn. I think it was partly a weakness in the writing – the addition of an American was intrusive, and partly it was Taylor hismself, who seemed to find it hard to get the rythmn.


About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
This entry was posted in Caroline Gillis, Sarah Orenstein, Tarragon 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to After Akhmatova

  1. Keith says:

    This was good, but I doubt I'll remember it long. Dunn was definitely out of step, I do not know if it was the author, the director or the actor, but somebody got it wrong. The rest of the cast were on the same page and did a great job.

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