- Title: Queen Elizabeth II takes centre stage in Russian production of The Audience
- Date: 19th May 2017
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) PRODUCER, IVAN PANFILOV, SAYING: "We are living through complicated relations with the West now, and in this case with Great Britain. And actually culture has been the best goodwill ambassador of all time, even in harder times. And, in this case, our performance serves as a bridge between our peoples - the people of Great Britain and Russia."
- Embargoed: 2nd June 2017 10:11
- Keywords: theatre performance British Queen Inna Churikova Gleb Panfilov The Audience Queen Elizabeth II theatre Peter Morgan Ivan Panfilov Russia
- Location: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Human Interest / Brights / Odd News,Sport,Theater
- Reuters ID: LVA0026HI7SYH
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Amidst Russia's stand-off with the West, Moscow Theatre of Nations is presented the stage version of "The Audience", a play about British monarch Queen Elizabeth's meetings with her prime ministers, in a strive to heal the breach.
The Queen's meetings with her prime ministers are private, so "The Audience" is an imagining of the conversations and relationships Elizabeth has had with the British leaders who served during her more than 60-year reign.
The piece, written by Peter Morgan, who also penned Oscar-winning film "The Queen", lets audiences listen in to her conversation with a depressed Gordon Brown.
They hear her playful, friendly banter with Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson and watch as she soothes a testy Margaret Thatcher.
The director of the Moscow performance Gleb Panfilov, who calibrates with the author on the Moscow performance, says the company plan to expand the piece further into today's reality.
"We are creating a contemporary play, today's history. Moreover in the coming months we plan to change the ending, to add new events which are happening in Great Britain, I mean the new prime minister," he said.
This adaptation also drew the focus of royal conversations closer to Russia - the Queen touches upon Joseph Stalin with Winston Churchill; Bedridden Harold Macmillan brings up the visit of the first astronaut Yuri Gagarin.
Inna Churikova who plays Queen Elizabeth II said the role brought her responsibility and excitement.
"Some kind of a wonderful image of this amazing woman appears, a woman who is smart, keen, ironic, courageous, excitable as a child - and she preserved some of the features of a child. She is 90 years old but I feel a child in her," Churikova said.
With each scene, the Queen's age changes along with her costumes and hairstyle. In some scenes Churikova appears alongside younger versions of the monarch, showing her reluctance to move into Buckingham Palace and her early annoyances with royal life.
The three-hour play is almost intended to be a diplomatic act, which aims to bring the nations of Great Britain and Russia together, according to producer Ivan Panfilov.
"Actually culture has been the best goodwill ambassador of all time, even in harder times. And in this case our performance serves as a bridge between our peoples," he said.
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