Black Russian – Living Pushkin's Dubrovsky


"Black Russian” invites you to Troekurov House - where it is customary to keep one's mouth shut, but it is not normal to keep one's temper.” –

Indeed, the intrigue surrounding the 18th century mansion nestled in the heart of Moscow attracts visitors from all over the world. Speaking of attraction, perhaps there is no better venue for an interactive theatre production based on Alexander Pushkin’s famous unfinished novel Dubrovsky.

This classic tale of a young nobleman whose land is taken by a sly and wealthy aristocrat is brought to life as an immersive theatrical experience within the walls of the historic Troekurov House. The initial idea for the production was to bring the audience, venue and actors together for a dynamic, immersive living (rather than telling) of the story. But, how could this be achieved? A vital component was needed to bring it all together...



When we were first approached by the theatre company, we knew it was a special collaborative opportunity from the outset. The idea was to use our Animal Masks to create an invisible, yet tangible distinction between the audience and performers. The anonymity that the Masks provide the attendees allows the audience to become part of each scene – creating the sensation that they are witnessing and living the events with the characters rather than simply watching a retelling of the tale from afar. This clever mechanism integrates the audience into the sets in such a way that an ecosystem of dynamic, dramatic energy is created in each room.



The relationship between set, performer and audience is locked into a cyclical push-pull that propels the story into an all-inclusive, living entity. Also, animals don’t use words to communicate, so the Animal Masks suggest silence and observance in a way that still allows a certain degree of freedom to roam around the action as it unfolds – just like an animal would.



It is an absolute pleasure to see that this ambitious endeavour not only works and meets all expectations, but surpasses them in design, execution and presentation. We are thrilled to see our Masks amongst the sets, actors, modern ballet dancers, sympho-electronic musicians, performance artists and indeed real animals that bring this beautifully terrifying tale to life. We only wish we could be amongst the captive audience in Troekurov House… Below is a glimpse into the mystical macabre that is intended for mature audiences only. This experience is not for the faint of heart.


Black Russian – An Immersive Theatrical Performance (Moscow) from Black Russian on Vimeo.

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