Sunday, July 15, 2012

Liz Fisher on Maxsym Kurochkin's Vodka, Fucking and Television, Breaking String Theatre blog

Breaking String Theatre Austin TX

Liz Fisher's Vodka, Fucking and Television

by Graham Schmidt on the Breaking String blog, July 15
Liz Fisher (image: Will Hollis Snider via Austin Chronicle)
Liz Fisher (image: Will Hollis Snider)

I caught up with Liz Fisher a few days ago for a cup of coffee and some talk on her upcoming work with Breaking String - a full-on production of Vodka, Fucking and Television by 2012 New Russian Drama Festival spotlight artist Maksym Kurochkin, to be staged at Hyde Park Theatre this coming November. Fisher's pale blue eyes, smokey voice and arresting stage presence have knocked out thousands of Austin theater-goers over the past decade, and her work with Breaking String's been extensive, with award-winning performances in The Seagull, The Cherry Orchard, Uncle Vanya, and as a co-producer of the inaugural 2011 New Russian Drama Festival.

Fisher - an old hand when it comes to new plays - projects palpable excitement at the idea of staging a Kurochkin piece. "Maksym writes these sprawling, epic stories, some of them even have a mythic feel, mixing reality with fantasy, spanning centuries. This one's a four-hander, it's compact, but even here he's skewering audience assumptions, pranking all over the place, pushing against his own limits.”

Fisher's upcoming production grew out of her work on the second annual NRDFest this past March (here's a rundown on Breaking String's efforts to link Austin with Moscow's contemporary theater scene). To complement the American premiere of The Schooling of Bento Bonchev, she worked up a staged reading of Kurochkin's 2003 comedy. Vodka introduces the "Hero" - a writer at the end of his rope who tries shedding the vices that hold him back. The plot hinges on a delightful, irreverant device: Kurochkin presents these vices as characters - Vodka, Fucking and Television - who are challenged to justify their presence in the hero's life, or get the boot.

From her first encounter with Max's work, Fisher sensed its "Austin" vibe. "It felt young, fresh, smart, darkly comic, and there's so much new work being staged here. And of course, with Vodka being a four-hander, it was perfect for a staged reading. Right after the festival, Robert Faires said it'd be easy to mistake Max for an Austin playwright, and I think he really nailed it."

Read more at the Breaking String blog. . . .

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