Babel: How it Was Done in Odessa celebrates the vibrant, colorful life of Odessa and its citizens; it teams with characters of all ages, races and nationalities, just as the city was before the Russian Revolution. At the heart of the production is the character of Benya Krik, a larger than life gangster with a sense of humor, justice and honor, almost an Odessan Robin Hood. Other infamous figures in the Jewish quarter, such as Froim Grach and Kolya Shvarts, add to the richness and variety of the production’s texture. Yet in the celebration of life, its end is never far away: each story touches on one or more deaths, most of them met in untimely and violent fashion. Life thus becomes something all the more precious, all the more worthy of celebration, its exuberance and excesses to be savored. This is tangible in Babel’s colorful and finely chiseled writing style, where every word counts.
This production celebrates not only Isaak Emmanuilovich Babel’s writings but also his life, lived at times so carelessly, perhaps even recklessly, and ended so suddenly and anonymously. Little tangible has remained of either his life or his unpublished writings: all the more reason to celebrate on stage the diverse and unique creative wealth of this Russian-Jewish writer, recognized by the New York Times as “…a literary genius framed by twentieth century tragedy.” The following writings form the basis of Babel: How It Was Done in Odessa: "The King" and "Froim Grach" from The Odessa Stories; "The Cemetery in Kozin" from Red Cavalry; "Di Grasso" and "Guy de Maupassant" from Stories 1925-1938.
About Andrei Malaev-Babel
Andrei Malaev-Babel holds an M.F.A. from the renowned Vakhtangov Theater Institute in Moscow, Russia. He trained and worked under Alexandra Remizova, co-founder of the Vakhtangov Theater, Stanislavsky’s student and Vakhtangov’s protégé. In 1985, he co-founded the Moscow Chamber Forms Theater, one of the first private professional theater companies in Russia. He headed the Chamber Forms Theater’s Laboratory where he led the first Russian workshops in Michael Chekhov theater technique since Chekhov’s exile from the Soviet Union in 1928. Since 1997, Mr. Malaev-Babel has served as the Producing Artistic Director for the Stanislavsky Theater Studio (STS), an award-winning company and conservatory in Washington, DC. His work as producer, director and actor has been praised by national and international media, and he has presented work at The Kennedy Center; The National Theater; The Smithsonian Institution; The World Bank; The Keenan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholar; the Ministry of Culture of Russia; and the Russian Embassy in the US.
Mr. Malaev-Babel is the author of the Guide to the Psychological Gesture Technique published in the 2003 Routledge edition of Michael Chekhov's seminal book, To the Actor. He currently serves on the faculty of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory in Sarasota, Florida. His two groundbreaking volumes on the Russian theatrical innovator Yevgeny Vakhtangov came out from Routledge in 2011 and 2012. He is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.
This Event is Free & Open to the Public
Seating Available on a First-Come First-Served Basis