Moscow Nights is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring knowledge and appreciation of Russian culture to the Greater New Orleans community through theater productions, music and dance performances, festivals, and lectures. Please visit our website at www.moscownightsus.com
to learn more about what we do.
One of our recent and ongoing productions has been I Take Your Hand in Mine, a theatrical piece by Carol Rocamora based entirely on the correspondence between Anton Chekhov and his muse, lover, and wife, Olga Knipper. As you know, they were separated during much of the six short years they spent together before Chekhov’s early death; during this time, they each wrote over 400 letters to the other. Rocamora’s play is a beautiful, insightful, and powerful vision of these two fascinating people, illustrated through their words, thoughts, and struggles.
As Carol Rocamora wrote in the forward to her play, “Everybody loves a love story. But this one is special. Special because it’s one about two extraordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. He, a great playwright and humanitarian, who knew his life would be brief. She, a great actress and founding leading lady of one of the world’s most famous theater companies.” As I rehearsed and put this play together, I felt as if my spirit were being transported to a distant and beautiful past era when one could hear Chekhov’s voice, along with that of Tolstoy, when one could hear the stunning music of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff for the first time, when Fyodor Chaliapin’s bass voice thundered. And when the remarkable theater headed by Stanislavski, Nemirovich, and Olga Knipper was born.
The simplicity of the staging of I Take Your Hand in Mine makes it an ideal production for the museum’s space. The production requires only two desks and chairs, along with sound and lighting equipment. The magic comes from the words of these two extraordinary people as brought to life by two of our most talented actors in New Orleans: Diana Shortes and Scott Jefferson, both recipients of a Big Easy Award.
My ideas for a production of I Take Your Hand in Mine at the small space are somewhat general at this point, since the details of staging the show at your beautiful museum would require further discussion. This would be the first time Moscow Nights has taken a production on the road and performed outside of New Orleans; we would love to make this program a real collaboration with the museum and look forward to discussing all the details that could make this possible. If you are interested in our production, we could begin to address what our organization needs to contribute to make the show possible, and what you could help us with in order to ensure the production’s success.