Promoting cultures: Vorobyeva (third from left) meeting up with MTG officials and supporters.
MALACCA: The 1985-established Malacca Theatre Group (MTG) faithfully advocating to keep English-language theatre and stage productions alive added a “novel twist” in its efforts with the staging of a “Russian Evening” comprising three short plays in English by Pavlovich Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), one of the greatest short story writers of the former Soviet Union.
Held at the Hang Kasturi Auditorium of Yayasan Melaka in Air Keroh, the one-night affair was graced by The Russian Federation ambassador to Malaysia Lyudmila Vorobyeva. The MTG event was preceded by a 20-minute Russian cultural slide show presentation handled by the embassy staff.
Incidentally, the last time a Russian play translated into English took to the local stage was way back in 1967. Then, the now disbanded “Franciscan Players” troupe staged Nikolai Gogol’s hilarious farce on Russian bureaucracy, titled the Government Inspector.
MTG’s latest presentation comprised The Bear, The Governess and The Festivities, all rendering an insight of the “Russian World” at the turn of the 20th century.
According to MTG president Audrey Lim, the plays’ 12-strong cast including a prompter worked and rehearsed diligently for some three months to see the presentation into fruition. She said: “We are indeed happy and thankful with the gracing of Madam Lyudmila Vorobyeva at our stage production. We also hope that our latest venture will pave the way of other Russo-Malaysian cultural exchanges here in our historic state or in Kuala Lumpur.”
Vorobyeva in her message in the MTG souvenir programme said: “I would like to congratulate the MTG for the “Russian Evening” performance comprising plays by Anton Chekhov in Malacca. I strongly believe that Chehov’s plays performed by the MTG will become a good start in introducing and promoting Russian culture and world-wide famous drama theatre, rooting in Stanislavasky’s approach and unique tradition, to the Malaysian people. I hope the next time we will enjoy watching Gogol, Ostrovsky, Griboyedov, Dostoevsky and other famous Russian writers.”
Except for a four-year haitus (2006-2009), the MTC has since come on strong and most enthusiastically with the staging of excerpts from Shakespearian plays, drama workshops, short stage plays and skits, recruitment of newcomer stage players, potential talents and script writers, organised performances by Kuala Lumpur’s Actors’ Studio as well as regular play reading sessions, all for the benefit of the local performing arts community, secondary schools and college students.