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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


The protean Mikhail Levitin, who makes his living as the artistic director of the Hermitage Theater, but is now almost as well-known as a novelist, hosted a "birthday party" for his new book at his theater Monday. Containing three novels and a novella, and printed in a limited run of 1,000 copies by the publishing house Mosty, it is entitled "Total Indecency," after the novel for which Levitin was nominated for the Booker Prize last year. Joining in the celebration were playwright Viktor Slavkin, writer and singer Yuly Kim, conductor Yevgeny Kolobov, filmmaker Marlen Khutsiyev and many others. Amidst the toasts and revelry, Levitin was heard to express envy for the literary characters he creates. "I would like to have lived in the '20s and to have been shot in the '30s," he is reported to have said with a typical mix of fantasy and irony.


Also on Monday, the mercurial Roman Viktyuk unveiled his newest production for his own Viktyuk Theater. Called "Love for an Idiot," it is based on a play by Vittorio Francesci, and stars Sergei Makovetsky, last year's Nika winner as best actor for his role in the film "Makarov," and the popular comic Yefim Shifrin as two brothers still struggling to cope with their lives 12 years after losing their parents in an automobile accident. As usual for Viktyuk, famous for playing teasingly with homosexual themes without quite going into them openly, the two men fail to find happiness with a woman who shortly becomes the lover of both. In interviews, Viktyuk described the two characters as "two horses looking in vain for their riders," while Shifrin suggested that the show is his director's best. However, the rather subdued opening-night crowd at the shockingly decrepit Film Actor's Theater did not fill the hall, and was considerably thinner at the beginning of the second act than it had been at the original raise of the curtain.