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ArtsEmerson and Cherry Orchard Festival Co-Present Arlekin Players Theatre's STATE VS. NATASHA BANINA

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ArtsEmerson and Cherry Orchard Festival Co-Present Arlekin Players Theatre's STATE VS. NATASHA BANINA

ArtsEmerson and the Cherry Orchard Festival will co-present the Arlekin Players Theatre production State vs. Natasha Banina, a live online interactive art experiment directed by Igor Golyak and starring Darya Denisova, winner of the 2020 Elliot Norton Award as Outstanding Actress, Small or Fringe Theater, for her performance in Arlekin's The Stone. The partnership will include a virtual theater talk with Igor Golyak and China's award-winning theatre director Wang Chong on August 19, 2020 at 10:00am, and two live performances with post-show discussions on August 20 (in Russian with English subtitles) and August 23 (in English), both starting at 8:00pm. For more information on how to access these virtual events visit


Performed live by Darya Denisova, State vs. Natasha Banina unfolds as a Russian teenager tells the story of her life in a small-town orphanage, and how her desire to be free led to a crime of passion. From the inside of a "Zoom court room," she makes unique appeals to the audience/jury, letting them into her world where she dreams of love, family, and her future. Ultimately, the audience will decide whether she is guilty of manslaughter.


The August 20 & 23 live performances of State vs. Natasha Banina cost $25. Reserve tickets here.


On Wednesday, August 19 at 10:00am, HowlRound Theatre Commons will host an artist conversation with Igor Golyak and Wang Chong on HowlRound TV to discuss State vs. Natasha Banina and the state of online theatre. "The online world is not a mirror of the world," Chong recently wrote, "It is the world. In this world, theater artists can start from scratch with just their bare hands." Golyak and Chong will unpack this idea of starting from scratch as well as taking questions from the audience.


This artist conversation is FREE, and registration is encouraged here.


"Arlekin Players has been producing consistently strong work in Boston and making a unique contribution to the diversity of stories and aesthetics offered in our region, for years," says ArtsEmerson artistic director David Dower. "It was a delight to see them make the pivot to the online space with such alacrity, and finally to break through to a national platform. It is a joy to partner with Arlekin and the Cherry Orchard Festival with whom we have worked regularly for over ten years. This is that rare moment where our commitments to international work, to programming in gaps, and to creating access for local artists all come together in the same show. We're proud to be supporting the momentum Natasha has generated and to be able to offer this performance to ArtsEmerson audiences in both languages."


"Arlekin's mission is to tell imaginative stories through innovative forms of theater, and in this moment, that has taken us to a new place with State vs Natasha Banina," says Arlekin's director Igor Golyak. "In the face of a global pandemic and national racial unrest, an unprecedented moment of disruption, we were honored to have our production hailed by the New York Times as a Critics' Pick and we suddenly found ourselves performing from the corner of our living room for people from 40 states and over 15 countries. And we are embracing the moment. It is a time to embrace experimentation, dream about what is possible in the cloud, and explore new virtual genres for the theater that are powerful for artists and audiences. We are thrilled to be on the brink of invention in a world that is becoming ever so small, and the human connection between people is ever so needed. We are honored to be presented by ArtsEmerson who do indeed embrace 'the world on stage' as we share this innovative performance in both Russian and English for Boston audiences and audiences from around the globe."


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