ELKOST International Literary Agency

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Russian Marmalade, 2005

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Rights sold to: France - GALLIMARD, Germany - HENSCHEL, Russia - EKSMO, AST
 
Russian Marmelade

Collection of plays for theater ("Russian Marmalade", "My Grandson Benjamin", and "The Seven Saints from Bruho Village").

Russian Marmalade is a play clearly created in dialogue with Anton Chekhov’s «Cherry Orchard». The play’s heroes live in the same kind of old house with the same cherry trees growing all around, only the cherries themselves get made into jam to be sold to provide the owners of the home with their sole means of survival. It is the end of the twentieth century and Russia has changed course yet again as the old system crumbles.

None of the doors close and the electricity does not always work, but mobile phones are busy ringing all the time. The sentimental Chekhovian girl in this play, it turns out, works round the clock for an erotic phone line, unsuspected, it seems, by her respectable parents. This time it is not old monarchist Russia that is crumbling, but the Soviet regime as it gives way to the Yeltsin years. The “new Russians” sell and resell their parents’ dacha, and the parents, pushed onto the sidelines of life, don’t know where to turn anymore. These unhappy tales are infused with philosophical dread and deep psychological analysis. Ulitskaya tells her tales as only she knows how – in a comic, almost grotesque tone, turning a melancholy play with a Chekhovian plot into a bright and buoyant comedy.