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In 1994 a new theatre was established on Ligovsky Prospekt, not far from Nevsky. The theatre's name, "Comedians" is not simply an indication of its genre, but a name used for the actors' profession in general before the word "actors" came into use in Russian. This name for the theatre is an expression of its professional credo. The theatre is above all an actors' theatre, acting is its main expressive instrument.
The theatre's peculiarity is that it is one of the city's "chamber" theatres, having only 100 seats. The theatre is state-owned, it has been organized by the Leningrad region's Culture Committee. There are five other professional theatres that have the regional status, among these the Minor Drama Theatre, the Satire Theatre, the Theatre on the Liteiny.
"Comedians" is sometimes called a young theatre. Besides its own age it is young in terms of the age of its troupe. There are certain plays in which mostly the young actors are involved, but the country's famous stage masters, known for their cinema roles, are also working here. Among these are actors like Sergei Russkin, who has played in "The Peculiarities of National Hunting" and "...Fishing Styles", Maksim Sergeyev, who has starred in "Vaska Nemeshayev" by the Hungarian director Peter Gotar - that film has received the Grand Prize at festivals in Budapest and Karlovy Vary. Reknowned actors like Yuri Kamenev and Galina Mochalova are part of the troupe. Nina Meschaninova, a leading actress of the theatre, has recently returned from a tour of Europe (Germany, France and Poland), where she has performed in two solo plays, "Spring Rendezvous" and "I'll Never Be French".
New plays based on Gogol's "Marriage" and on "How Antyrka Saved the Princess" by S. Kochnev are currently being rehearsed.
The following plays are in the theatre's permanent repertory:
"Sheep and Wolves", a comedy in five acts based on a play by A.I. Ostrovsky. The play is a laureate of the Ostrovsky Festival in Kostroma.
"Count Nulin", an improvisation on the subject of author-and-theatre relationship, based on A.S. Pushkin's poem. Laureate of the Fifth All-Russian Pushkin Festival.
"Cerano de Bergerac", a heroic comedy based on E. Rostand's play, nominated for the "Golden Sophite" award.
"Italian Style Passions", a collection of nearly true-life stories, told by the great playwright Eduarde di Filippo.
"The Nobleman's Pride or Lyuta's Eyes", an old Russian vaudeville written by D.T. Lensky.
"A Tender Heart's Trouble", classic vaudeville written by V.A. Sollogub.
"Spring Rendezvous", a musical play.
"A Cat Who Wore Boots", based on the classic fairy tale by Charles Pierrot. Received the 1994 "Best Children's Play of the Year" award.
"A Tale of Four Twins", a lyrical story of love and fidelity, based on a play by Pancho Panchev.
"The Village That Drove Past a Man", an entertaining collection of jokes, stories and tricks from the Russian folk art, for both children and adults. Laureate of several children's play festivals.
The art director Mikhail Aleksandrovich Levshin is training a new generation of actors at the St. Petersburg Theatre Academy. A group of young actors under his leadership will become a part of the theatre's troupe next year.
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