Ptushkina’s plays reflect her keen interest in constructing multidimensional characters that reflect the myriad ways people are affected by today’s turbulent world. Often writing strong female roles, she does not shy away from exploring the sometimes tragic implications that lie behind her comical, almost farcical scenes. Ptushkina questions the nature of love, and explores the boundaries between the spiritual and the base, the constructive and the destructive, that lie within every human being. Her writing questions the relationship between ideals and reality, and between truth and deception. In this new translation, western readers have a chance to discover why Ptushkina’s work holds such a wide appeal in the Russian theatre.
“The universal themes of love, the need for human closeness, and multifaceted complex female characters make Nadezhda Ptushkina’s plays desirable material for any professional theatre,” says Slava Yastremski in the preface to this edition.
Current edition contains such famous Ptushkina’s plays as I Pay Up Front, Somebody Else’s Candlelight, Momma’s Dying Again, My Goldfish and Rachel’s Flute.
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Nadezhda Ptushkina is the author of more than seventy plays and nine screenplays. Since 1997 she has held first place for the number of plays and audience attendance among all contemporary Russian playwrights. Her plays are staged throughout Russia and in the Soviet successor states as well as in Europe and Japan. Ptushkina also has written screenplays for nine films, three of which she directed herself. As she said in a recent interview for The Novye novosti [The New News], she moved into the media of film in search of what Chekhov once called “new forms”, which the playwright hopes to find at the juncture of the most ancient and the most characteristic dramatic art form for the 20th century and beyond. In recent years Ptushkina also has turned to directing her own plays at several theaters.
Ptushkina has had an extraordinarily diverse and colorful biography before her success as a playwright. Earlier in her life, she experienced years of financial hardship and was forced to work to provide for her family. During Gorbachev’s perestroika, when the entire cultural infrastructure of the USSR collapsed, Ptushkina became a businesswoman. Ptushkina’s fame as a playwright began in 1994 when St. Petersburg’s “Experiment” state theater produced her play A Monument to Victims. The success led to the same theater releasing a production of another of Ptushkina’s plays – A Mad Woman the same year. Eventually, Vitaly V. Lanskoy’s production of her play Somebody Else’s Candlelight at the “small stage” of the Stanislavsky Theater in Moscow in 1995 after which she became the most staged playwright in the capital almost overnight.
“In fact, as a leading figure of post-Soviet Russian drama, who as recently as 2000 was awarded the prestigious literary prize Severnaya Pal’mira for her plays, she has indisputably helped to revitalize and broaden parameters of contemporary Russian theatre and dramaturgy. Not only has Ptushkina introduces to the Russian public a new kind of comedy – a comedy that targets human foibles instead of a satire that ridicules the shortcomings of a regime – but she is also to be credited as one of the first playwrights in the post-Soviet era to write melodrama.”
Elizabeth T.Rich “Nadezhda Ptushkina: A Star of Russian Drama and Theatre in the New Millenium”/ SLAVIC AND EAST EUROPEAN PERFORMANCE
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