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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MARQUEE: Galin's Yearly Contribution

In recent years, Alexander Galin has given us about one new play per season. This year it is "The Accompanist." And, as has almost become a tradition, Galin himself has directed it at the Sovremennik Theater.

Galin is a known quantity. He writes what I might call social "dramedies" and while each of his humorous but serious plays tackles new themes, the style of dialogue and characterization runs smoothly from one work to the next with hardly so much as a bump or swerve.

Contemporary people from the Russian intelligentsia or somewhere nearby encounter typical problems of the day and give us reason to laugh even as we sympathize with their lot.

In "The Accompanist," the objects of our empathy are three elderly people who have been "adopted" by a young man who provides companionship and aid. When one of the trio becomes suspicious about his motives and tells the others of her worries, we watch those relationships unravel right along with everyone's well-being.

Galin leaves us in the dark as to whether young Grigory (Ilya Drevnov) really is out to hoodwink the lonely oldsters out of their valuable, large apartments or not. That is, there are plenty of hints that he is, but certainly he's not out to poison them as Svetlana (Lyudmila Ivanova) believes. And his affection for the widowed memoirist Zhanna (Alla Pokrovskaya) and the cantankerous old lady's man Izold (Valentin Gaft) is clearly genuine.

The point of the series of meetings that take place in Zhanna's empty old apartment (designed with characteristic laconism by David Borovsky) seems to be to get us to realize that all of these people might have been better off not knowing, or, at least, suspecting, the truth. It is not a tale that will burn its way into your consciousness, and, as often is true in Galin's plays, the dialogue can get rather contrived even if it is sincere.

What keeps things interesting is some good comic acting from the endearing Ivanova and especially from Gaft. If he occasionally overdoes the crusty-old-man mannerisms, I won't hold it against him. He exudes raw charisma as he simultaneously ridicules and solicits Zhanna and comes to pieces when he loses his beloved "little boy."

Call 921-6473 for information.

- John Freedman