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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MARQUEE: Director Gets Jump on Fall

July, the gasping, final month of the Moscow theater season, is always full of rumors, rehearsals, projects and plans. Some become the first events of the following year. Some fritter away and disappear.

If all pans out as Boris Yukhananov intends, one of next season's most unusual undertakings will be a multi-part project called "Palace." For the last three weeks at his Studio of Individual Directing, Yukhananov has been offering semi-open rehearsals of seven shows that may comprise the venture. As is to be expected from this witty, slick-talking, post-modernist director, none of it is mainstream fare.

"Everybody knows that repertory theaters and traditional 'supermarket' festivals are dead," Yukhananov said before a recent showing of fragments from "Don Juan" by Moliere. "What I've done is reach into the next century and pull back to us an idea from the future."

The idea for "Palace" is to create an ever-changing series of performances linked by the appearances of palaces somewhere in each work. As the project develops, it will travel from space to space, never settling in any one location. The current rehearsals have been held in the whimsically and beautifully decorated basement of an apartment house on Tryokhprudny Pereulok.

The project runs parallel to, and, if it comes about, will join Yukhananov's earlier project, "Orchard" -- a seven-year enterprise of various interpretations of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard."

An admirer of metaphorical speech, Yukhananov declared he has temporarily "locked up his orchard" and now plans to "build a palace next to it."

"And since a king is the most important figure in any palace," he continued, "I am the king in my palace."

The so-called rehearsal of a single scene from Act 2 of "Don Juan" featured "King Yukhananov" -- referring to his own grinning portrait painted in the middle of a sun on the ceiling -- interrupting the actors to tweak the spectators for their submissiveness, and offer pithy theoretical commentary on the nature of theater and performance. The actors, alternately wearing confused or ecstatic looks on their faces -- and occasionally becoming so engrossed in reading their scripts that they forgot to perform them -- also frequently stepped out of character to offer their opinions on what, if anything, was transpiring.