“We — the Gypsies” is one of the most famous performances of the theatre “Romen”, which for more than forty years, is sold out. This season romanovtsy celebrated a kind of jubilee — the legendary performance was presented to the audience 2222 times.
Photo: courtesy of the press service of the theater
Initially, the authors — founder of the theater of Ivan ROM-Lebedev and art Director Nikolai Slichenko — defined the genre of the play “We — the Gypsies” as a musical folk show, because in 1976 the terms “musical show” and “fantasy” is still used. The performance, which still is the hallmark of the “Romen” theatre call “a musical chronicle of the authentic Gypsy art”, showing the path of the Romani people from Ancient India and Egypt to find a second homeland in Russia. The main thing here is not the plot, and the riot of variegated national culture: the rhythms, the passionate songs and dances. In creating the performance was attended by renowned set designer Sergey Barkhin, fashion designer Vyacheslav Zaitsev. In the production of all troupe of theatre led with the same artistic Director, people’s artist of the USSR Nikolai Slichenko, whose output in the final invariably causes a storm of applause. Play “We are Gypsies”, the theatre has successfully toured all over the world. The artists shared their memories of the first trips to Japan, America, India, and Europe.
Nikolai Slichenko, people’s artist of USSR: “We were invited to many countries, but it so happened that the first foreign tour was to Japan. It was the beginning of 80-ies, when the border produced only the most trustworthy. It was necessary to represent their homeland. And I have for each artist vouched his head and a membership card. We were received very warmly…”
“…In Japan there is a custom of gratitude, of admiration women bestow their fan — supports the national actress of Russia Irina Nekrasova. — Now, Japanese women after the speech of Nikolai went, put on the stage at his feet fans. And yet it was sudden when we came out with the song “On a position the girl saw off the fighter”, and found that there is a Japanese song to the same tune. The audience started to sing along, and we didn’t even know about what they sing. Comical scenes in Japan were many. We did not know the language at all.”
Raisa Dement, the national actress of Russia: “One of our artists saw in the window of cute costumes for her husband. Went and looked at that, the size of the estimate. And the seller mutters something, bows. Difficult to understand — not a shop it was, and dry cleaning…”
Tatyana Repina, the honoured artist of Russia: “We are very proud that we were chosen to represent the country, to show a new audience their art as part of the great Russian culture. When in Japan on the opening days of the USSR sounded the anthem of the Soviet Union, some even had difficulty holding back tears of excitement… And after the performances we turned into kids on vacation with us just to buy, to eat, to watch. We Japanese have learned that such a place in one shop and the whole troupe lined up to the counter for something delicious.”
George Pearl, people’s artist of Russia: “But at the end of the trip home. Already passed the customs control on the ferry which we will take back home, Katya (Ekaterina Zhemchuzhnaya, people’s artist of Russia) found that she had left the money unspent. I was happy, will sail like the people in the bar look. But the wife escaped from the ferry on to another ladder and went shopping. Bought it, as it turned out, the tea set and for me petrol lighter, very precious in those days. And I sat there wondering how she can get back on the ferry without documents. I was worried for nothing, somehow contrived, as only a Gypsy can.”
Nikolay Lekarev, honored artist of Russia: “On tour in the Indian Calcutta in the hall were very poor, but they found the time to come to our concert. And we have trouble: George costumes got under the shower, and had to semi-wet to go on stage. It seemed to us, that the Indians perceived our performance without proper enthusiasm and then Nikolai quietly ordered, and we began to play hits from Indian films, since they knew by heart the whole country. The hall exulted”.
George Pearl, people’s artist of Russia: “For us, everything was amazing and we were surprised. I’m in Rome aroused the keen interest of the police, and ordinary passers-by turned around. It turned out, I was like al Pacino in the godfather. Had me at makeup “disguise” to stop this outrage.”
Moses Oglu, people’s artist of Russia: “I was in America a difficult period, when the scene could throw a firecracker. Police held a cordon. And after the concert, I hear my name from the audience go, “mo, Mose!”. Turns out my old friend who in his youth went into exile. Barely convinced the police my Papucho miss. In new York we were convinced that the nostalgia for the Motherland is a horrible thing. Sing about our birch trees, and grown men wiping tears, could not they then, from their great exile back to Russia to return. Went to all our shows.”