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Alexander Ostrovsky

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The original title of the play is «God resists the proud» which is a verse from the Bible (James 4:6) that continues with a phrase «But gives grace to the humble». Known for his keen insight into the psychology of the Russian people, Alexander Ostrovsky wrote this comedy about those “humble” and kind people and their manners during Russian svyatki (Christmastide). Ostrovsky reproduces the merry atmosphere of the old Russian folk carnival, svyatki with its old songs, fortune telling, jokes, frosty windows, laughter, bears with tambourines, balalaika strumming – all the childhood memories of the playwright.

«Poverty is No Vice» premiered in Moscow's Maly Theatre more than 150 years ago on January 25, 1854 and coincided with the famous French actress Rachel Felix’s shows. «It was difficult not to compare the two performances – the contrast was too obvious, and the audience of Maly Theatre was thus broken into two hostile camps,» wrote Vladimir Lakshin (Lakshin, Vladimir (1982). "Alexander Nikolayevich Ostrovsky", Iskusstvo, Moscow. Life in Art series.) One part of the audience was against the representation of rather “rough” Russian manners, as Ostrovsky managed to combine the “sublime with the comic”. The playwright moved to the stage the forgotten, at that time, especially in the rich Moscow houses, the atmosphere of the Russian Carnival with its dancing, songs and rituals.

Today, no one thinks of these traditions as being rough or coarse. Quite the contrary, they bewitch by their poetry and beauty. «Poverty is No Vice» was presented at many
national theatre festivals, and is especially loved by the audience at Christmas.

Performance Director – Alexander Korshunov

Scenography – Olga Korshunova

Lighting Designer – Elena Drevaleva

Sound Design – Alexei Kotov

Choirmaster – Galina Guseva

Choreographer – Alexei Leschinskiy

Dance Teacher – Pavel Kazmiruk

Assistant Director – Tatiana Egorova

Premiere – October 18th, 2006

100th performance – December 30th, 2011

Running Time: 3 hours

Suitable for 12+yrs

A comedy in 3 acts
The performance runs with one intermission

Roles and actors:

Gordei Karpich Tortsov, a rich merchant Honored Artist of Russia Dmitriy Koznov

Pelageya Egorovna, his wife Honored Artist of Russia Tatyana Lebedeva

Lyubov Gordeevna, their daughter Lyubov Eshchenko Lidiya Milyuzina

Lyubim Karpich Tortsov, his broke brother People's Artist of Russia Alexander Korshunov

African Savich Korshunov, a manufacturer Honored Artist of Russia Sergey Tezov

Mitya, Tortsov's steward Grigoriy Skryapkin

Yasha Guslin, Tortsov's nephew Mikhail Fomenko

Grisha Razlyulyaev, a young merchant, the son of a wealthy father Sergey Potapov Alexander Driven

Anna Ivanovna, a young widow Irina Zheryakova

Masha, Lyubov Gordeevna's friend Ekaterina Porubel Olga Abramova Alexandra Ivanova

Lisa, Lyubov Gordeevna's friend Olga Zhevakina

Egorushka, a boy, a distant relative of Tortsov Sergey Efremov Maksim Filatov

Arina, Lyubov Gordeevna's nanny Honored Artist of Russia Zinaida Andreeva

Leader at Christmastide Maksim Khrustalyov Mikhail Fomenko

Alexander Driven Mikhail Martyanov Stanislav Soshnikov Evgeniy Sorokin Olga Abramova Ekaterina Vasilyeva Alexandra Ivanova Aksiniya Pustylnikova Karina Sakhanenko