Fourth International Tolstoy Theater Festival in Moscow

By Oksana Khan

MOSCOW—19th-century Russian writer Leo Tolstoy’s novels come to life in the very fields where he drew his inspiration.

Leo Tolstoy once lived here. He planted these apple trees, and his work continues to bear fruit.

The International Tolstoy Theater Festival took place in the Yasnaya Polyana museum-estate and hosted 10 theater troupes.

This year’s program includes more than 30 events, giving audiences a more intimate understanding of the man and his writing.

This grove sets the stage for a children’s play adapted from the novel “War and Peace”.

The book is part of the school curriculum in Russia, it’s 4 volumes long and daunting for many kids.

Director Alexandra Lovyannikova says the plays help people meet the challenge of reading through so much content.

“In school when we see this pile of books, we think: No, this is not for me,” said Lovyannikova. “It’s so boring, so scary, so big. But here, we help people overcome it. We show that it’s about interesting people and how they lived at that time.”

Coming of Age

Here is a ball where girls coming of age had their debut.

And performance in the same fields where, 100 years ago, Tolstoy personally mowed the crops with his peasants.

In his novel “Anna Karenina,” one of the main characters confesses his love by carving in wood—exactly how Tolstoy himself proposed to his future wife.

In the play, the two main characters reflect on the perfect partner and home life but eventually drift apart.

“To meet the ideal partner who will guess all your thoughts is utopia,” said Semen Alexandrovsky, a director “Unfortunately, it is not compatible with life. And in this contradiction—the desire for the ideal and the impossibility of the ideal—somehow we live with it.”

A classic production of ‘‘Anna Karenina’’ by the theatre of Bulgaria. The actor playing the main character, Anna is preparing for the show.

Actress Mila Bancheva said the thing that touches her most is the delicacy of the character.

“The thing that amuses me the most and touches me as a person is her delicacy,” said Bancheva. “She is such a delicate person. She doesn’t want to hurt anybody. She is loving, grateful.

The festival finished July 7 and is set to return again this time next year.