One of my greatest joys as a theatre critic is reviewing local troop performances. “Законы Простейших” (Russian translation: Laws of Simple Beings), by Theatre Studio N, particularly demonstrated my love of local theatre. The show tied together the works of Russian author Feliks Krivin in a series of complementary monologues. Each monologue depicted the existential perspective of some bizarre animal. The monologues were complemented by rhythmic dancing, projected videos, and, at times, live piano music.
In order to reflect the works of Krivin, the play was performed entirely in Russian, with the exception of one Yiddish song. Krivin’s monologues were aligned in a harmonizing manner, consisting of a constant back-and-forth between light-hearted monologues and serious monologues. The cast consisted of five very talented performers: Michael Nosovsky, who also directed and produced this production, Veronika Ressina, Marat Ressin, Stanislav Kamladze, and Era Chorna.
Nosovsky and Ressina amazingly established the harmonious balance throughout the show. Nosovsky, with the occasional assistance of Ressin, depicted vile, apathetic and mechanical characters. One noteworthy example was his recital of the starfish monologue. Geared with a peaked cap and a yellow star on his chest, Nosovsky stated that a starfish has no head, but has five eyes, five suction cups and an excellent stomach. He then explained why life with a head is not entirely necessary. In contrast, Ressina presented creatures of hope, subtlety and romantic yearning. One narration on the life of a giraffe exemplified these contrasting themes; with heightened emotion, Ressina acted out the misery of the giraffe that, despite possessing such a long and strong tongue, prefers to keep it shut in its mouth.
The beauty of Nosovsky and Ressina’s contrasting monologues, and the theme of the production overall, lie in the show’s very title. In Russian, “Простейших” translates to “simplicity.” It follows, then, that although certain animals have opposing views to others, each yearns for some form of ultimate simplicity, a message that I think Theatre Studio N delivered with amazing grace.
Ultimately, the monologues were strengthened by Kamladze’s mute chameleon, and Chorna’s black and white angel. Kamladze resided on stage for the majority of the show, reacting to and observing the recitals of each individual creature, while Chorna danced behind a silhouette to help visually portray the meaning behind the monologues’ words.
One small factor, however, that took away from the performance was an audio malfunction. At times, certain soundtracks were louder than others, and so it was either difficult to make out what the reciters were saying or the volume distracted the audience from the performance itself.
Despite this small pitfall, I thoroughly enjoyed the show and I look forward to seeing the works this troupe will create in the future.
For more information, contact Studio N, located at 312 Dolomite Dr. Unit 121, at 647-704-4433.