Tatyana @ Edinburgh Playhouse
In Tatyana, Deborah Colker's reimagination of Puskin's Eugene Onegin – famously made into a classical romantic ballet – the opposing stereotypes of Brazil and Russia combine to reignite the story of young love thwarted and revenge best served cold.
Yet Colker has not simply adapted the classic, and is less interested in relocating the action than getting back to Pushkin's original. "I didn't bring the story from Russia to Brazil: I didn't place the story anywhere," she insists. "I love the way that Pushkin wrote the book: it is a poem, it is so sensitive and beautiful. I felt that the words and the sensations I could bring to dance because I love when the audience follow the story but more than the story, the feelings, the intensity, sensation!"
At the heart of the story is the romantic battle between Tatyana and Onegin. "I fell in love with the characters and the transformation of these characters," Colker remembers." Tatyana begins this story as naïve girl from the country, a dreamer and by the end of the book she is totally different – a mature, amazing woman. Onegin is fascinating: he has everything, but he doesn't understand friends, love, relationships. He is always bored!"
While the telling is contemporary – and Colker's sensibilities, as revealed in previous work Cruel, are unashamedly modern – her choreography consciously uses ballet as a foundation. "If a dancer has a strong, intelligent ballet technique," she affirms, "he will be free to create different ways to dance." And ballet's affinity for the romantic perhaps makes stories like Onegin a natural choice. Yet in avoiding imitation of the opera and dance versions, Colker informs this nineteenth century Russian tale with a sharp relevance and sensuality. [Gareth K Vile]