Saint Petersburg’s first theater was established in 1756 by order of Empress Elizabeth and there are apparently more than 100 theaters and theater companies currently in active operation. You seriously cannot walk a block without seeing a venue (grand or small) advertising some form of theatrical entertainment: opera, ballet, circus, comedic theater, political theater, theater for children, puppet theater, dance theater, musical theater, theater theater. Mix in dark days, showy street lights, shadowy characters, surreal scenes, midnight horses, a multiple-location marathon shooting schedule stretching all over the city plus participants’ penchant for high drama, surrealist humor, hidden gems, and creepy narratives, and it really feels like all the world’s a stage!
Here are the highlights:
An early morning meditation on memory, travel, and living a life you really love (complete with a divine homemade Lithuanian breakast!) with Jonas and Guoste.
A visit to a theatrical school for young folks where the energy is so high your feet never touch the ground with Emil, Vika, Anna and Dinara.
Fooling around at the fancy photo studio with Alexey, Levon and, winner of the Best Eyes Contest, Diana.
Backstage at the Comedy Theater, celebrating the workers who make it all come to life with Vitaly and Viktoria.
A little mysticism at the healing center with Olga + friend + mystery girl.
Some tea and cake and Kalashnikov jokes followed by a little night music with Anna and the hometown Ural Mountains crew, all sharing the grand Jewish-Georgian apartment. (How do you muffle the sound when you want to play piano in the wee hours of the morning? Just stuff a few books and towels in there!)
Sitting in on an intense politically-themed dance rehearsal at the secret theater behind the scary mechanics with Nina and the cameraman.
A very weird scene involving blood, maggots and a self-operating table in a tiny room hidden away in a giant empty tractor factory with Lera, Nastya, Luda and the film school grads cohort.
A glimpse inside the magical studio of sculptors Roman and Maria plus Nikita’s whirlwind Family History Tour of Saint Petersburg’s strangest statues, longest university, narrowest street and tiniest well yard where you’re supposed to make a wish but on a night like this what on earth is there left to wish for?
A What We Do In The Shadows party with Alice Starikova (what a name!) and Lil Peep and all the shadowy friends on Mokhovaya Street.
A paint and pizza party with Sofia and Inna (who spent 8 hours preparing and rehearsing for this shoot yesterday!) Nickie the Famous Artist, Kris the Modern Art Dealer/Contemporary Artist Manager, Daniel the International Relations Major and the Pringle-Loving Rapper.