Kurochkin and Freedman at the University of Michigan
Happy St. Patrick's Day, all! As we continue the run of "The Schooling of Bento Bonchev," I wanted to use this blog to share with you a bit about how we were able to bring Maksym Kurochkin and John Freedman over to the United States this year. On Monday, they departed Austin for Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a week-long residency there. This is the last of their two residencies on this trip, and it was coordinated by Kate Mendeloff, of the University of Michigan's Drama Concentration Faculty. During their residency, Mendeeloff directed a workshop focused on five new short plays - dramaticules - by Kurochkin and translated by Freedman. This was the first opportunity for these pieces to be performed in English translation. Freedman also presented a lecture on Russian theater and Russian politics for the Slavic department colloquium and the residency concluded with a production of "The Schooling of Bento Bonchev," performed by the students of the Residential College under the direction of Kate Mendeloff and Leonora Ivanitsky.
Katherine Mendeloff and I were introduced by Philip Arnoult, who helped hatch a plan to bring Max and John to the United States this year. Mendeloff coordinated U of M's Residential College, Center for World Performance Studies, and Arts at Michigan, and joined with Breaking String to share the burden of international airfare for Kurochkin and Freedman. Breaking String theater's partnership with Mendeloff was one of the vital and fortuitous collaborations that allowed us both to bring these pivotal Moscow theater professionals to the U.S. this year, for two very rich and timely events around Russian theater culture.