BWW Interviews: White Orchard Theater's Irina Sundukova, A Life in the Theatre
Irina Sundukova's White Orchard Theater will finally make its Nashville debut this week with its upcoming production of Harold Pinter's The Caretaker, which examines the dynamics of modern Western Civilization and which is, the director explains, "is Pinter's landmark cultural masterpiece."
"In doing so, it provides an emotionally powerful look at the betrayal, national identity, and tolerance found in modern society," Sundukova explains. "The audience is taken into a journey of self-discovery, with stops at such uncompromisingly truthful destinations as sinister play, rage, selfishness and their ultimate consequences."
White Orchard Theater will stage performances of The Caretaker at the "O" Gallery at Marathon Village, 1305 Clinton Street, Suite 120, Nashville. Opening night is Thursday, November 1, with curtain at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 (with a student discount price of $10). The show runs from November 1-10, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. For tickets, call (305) 331-1233. Tickets are available online at http://www.instantseats.com.
Sundukova describes White Orchard Theater as "an upscale and creatively revolutionary theater company recently established in Florida as a response to the growing demand for high quality, focused on social issues-related entertainmenT. White Orchard Theater targets the most desirable, educated and discerning residential and business communities with performances of maximum excellence and fresh ideas incorporated from around the world. Working from the firm belief that the great artistic styles throughout the course of history have been products of a mixture of ideas, WOT operates in the collective tradition, taking an excitingly stimulating collaborationist, repertory-like perspective to innovative material."
The company's mission statement says: "Exploring the world of classical masterpieces, WOT seeks to present intimate stories of human psychological drama and grace, as well as of genuine comedy. WOT is implementing a theater about people, for people, filled with substance and meaning. Its ultimate goal is to establish in Nashville and the rest of Tennessee as having much to offer on a cultural and creative level."
A relative newcomer to Nashville's theater scene, Sundukova recently found time from her rehearsal schedule to sit down and offer some insight into what motivates her to pursue her artistic ambitions in Tennessee, via our Life in the Theatre series…
What was your first taste of theatre? It was a State Circus in Moscow that contained all the magic of red carpeted floors, old wooden chairs, golden shiny trumpets, tubas, and cornets in the first row of the jumping up and down orchestra; slowly moving huge elephants, and funny highly professional clowns who were delivering their sharp sense of humor generously stuffed with clever undertones of social satire. The most important part in the whole event was the special circus ice cream distributed only during the evening performances: a vanilla scoop with a raspberry filling right in the middle. I was six and the circus was the enlightenment in my world. It was when I defined who I wanted to be when I grow up, a horse rider. I loved horses since I rode my first one when I was five at grandma's country house. Horses were the animals I definitely could trust in my professional career.
What was your first real job (or responsibility) in the theatre? In the seventh grade, there was much to keep me occupied such as: arts, music, sports, hiking, history, geography. The Soviet Union kept us so busy that we could hardly breathe. I was not much into the sciences or music (even though I am from a family of musicians); I was very inclined toward all kinds of performance. When there was an event, everybody could count on me. One day, we saw a poster ad from a teacher who was putting on auditions for a mythological play. I thought, "Wow! Who on earth would ask seventh graders to learn lines from such a complex play?" I also noticed a statement under the title of the ad: "Any creative interpretations are accepted." BINGO! So I submerged myself into the local library and typed on an old typewriter with transparent copy paper underneath (just in case the dog decides to eat the original copy). The next morning-voila!-I produced a one act play about the sad story of Prometheus in a poetry writhed verse. The performance involved all points: two dancers would be played by two girls who are currently enrolled into classical Russian ballet classes; two guys from a martial arts team who looked huge on the stage; therefore they were given main roles of mean Gods; the daughter of the music teacher became Aphrodite, then Prometheus was played by the most popular guy in the school; the rest were wrapped into white bed sheets and automatically have been demoted into supportive crowd of some less significant gods. We had lighting effects, real fire, water spraying at the audience. It was nice mix of suspense and charm inside of school facility. We got first place. And by the way, I was directing it as well.