by Aleksei Goncharenko
(Translated by Dassia Posner)
At the Puppet Theatre of the Republic of Karelia, young director Natalia Pakhomova staged Karel Čapek's "The Dog's Tale"– material previously unknown to the Russian theatre. Alexander Tretiakov plays the leading role in this production, the dog Voříšek. Not all actors get to play roles of this scope; Tretiakov performs the story of the dog's entire life, all his first delights and disappointments, from birth to maturity. In several scenes, Tretiakov does not hold a puppet. When Voříšek is on the grandfather's lap, the actor sits nearby and acts out every second of his character's rich life. He whines, sighs, fawns, quivers. Will this strange person keep him in his warm home? Will he throw him back out into the street? Surprise turns instantaneously into fright, and momentary happiness into serene confidence in the future. Later, having replaced the puppet of the puppy with that of an adult dog, the actor changes his relationship to the character. He dissolves completely into Voříšek, but suddenly, in an instant, is like a master ready to come to the help of his charge in a difficult moment.
In The Three Pigs, beloved by children and parents, Tretiakov was cast in the role of Nuf-Nuf. The designers created a glove puppet with mournful eyes, and the actor justified the incredible tediousness of his character: his piglet is constantly sick and always wrapped up in a scarf, no time for fun. Tretiakov is the leading actor at the Karelia Puppet Theatre. His list of roles from the past six years include the infernal Witch from Andersen's Rusalka, a merry skomorokh from Russian folk tales, and, as often happens with puppeteers, many other animals and magical beings. But his Voříšek was even nominated for the national theatre award, the Golden Mask.