The play "Last Summer" directed by Danil Chashchin is based on the script "Kuokkala" by Anna Kozlova, writer and author of popular series "Brief Guide to a Happy Life", "Garden Ring", "Mediator", "Mantis Female". The action of the play takes place during the World War I in a resort village with a Finnish name Kuokkala (modern Repino, Leningrad region). At the beginning of the 20th century, this village was a popular place for summer vacations among residents of St. Petersburg.
Anna, the main character of the play, is the wife of an officer. Her entourage consists of a neighboring doctor, a teenage son, a husband who suddenly returns from the war, and of other close relatives and servants. They spend summer evenings in the spirit of Chekhov's characters - arguing about the fate of their homeland, feeling bored, philosophizing, reading aloud and holding séances, trying not to notice that their idyllic world is being displaced by a new cruel age.
One of these evenings begins as a reading battle for the title of an "Arbiter Elegantiae" - the guests take turns reading poems from a fashionable book of poems, voting for the best work, and heatedly arguing about the style and level of expressive means. They decide to turn down the discussion by laying out Tarot cards. The joke goes too far, as a result, frightened fortune-tellers voice incredibly monstrous predictions about the future of their favorite poets, frequent guests of Kuokkala: Sergei Yesenin, Ivan Bunin, Nikolai Gumilyov, Osip Mandelstam, Velimir Khlebnikov, Vladimir Mayakovsky ... From that moment on, a tragic premonition invades all the characters of the play.
“Despite the gravity of the topic, I would like the performance to have this feeling of tenderness and light. This play for me is foremost about family and about finding a home, in the broadest sense of the word. And also, about the memory of a happy time, which the characters try in vain to keep, but it becomes thinner and evaporates. Hence the name “The Last Summer”, says Danil Chashchin.
To better understand the atmosphere of a country life at the beginning of the 20th century, the actors and director of the performance visited the village of Repino. Such creative trips have become a tradition for the Theater of Nations. The first one took place in the village of Srostki in preparation for the play "Shukshin's Stories", then the creative team of the play "Ivanov" visited the A.P. Chekhov museum-reserve "Melikhovo", and the creators of the play "Living T." went to the museum-estate "Yasnaya Polyana" and the L.N. Tolstoy memorial museum "Astapovo".
Special thanks to Ivan Samokhvalov.