The entire manufacturing takes place in a dressing room with two make-up stations and two mirrors. There’s a rack of attire, and wigs are scattered across the house. This can be a work in progress. A big signal on the doorway door reads: “Silence! Efficiency is ongoing.”

Khamatova and Mironov enter in what might simply be their typical avenue garments: a hoodie, denims, an unpretentious black shirt. Over the course of the efficiency, they may remodel onstage, change their apparel and appears as they age.

The 2 actors begin by studying their strains out loud, discussing easy methods to impersonate their characters. Slowly, by means of dialogue, they undertake their roles, most visibly by imitating accents: Mikhail’s southern Cossack-derived pronunciation with elongated vowels and Raisa’s extremely pitched chirping of an enthusiastic philosophy main in a rustic the place the one accepted philosophical faculty was Marxism.

Khamatova and Mironov, who’re among the many best drama theater actors of their technology, depart the stage solely as soon as, for the intermission on this three-hour efficiency. Slowly and seamlessly, they learn out and play out their lives: The story of Stalin’s purges is adopted by the grotesque conflict with Germany. Then their lives get consumed by their college love affair and, lastly, by Gorbachev’s rise to the highest by means of the ranks of occasion nomenklatura.

The story of Gorbachev on the helm of one of many world’s two superpowers is handled as background noise: “It was only one, six-year-long working day,” Raisa says from the stage. In the long run, by the point the actors are already absolutely immersed of their characters, we solely see a 90-year-old Mikhail. (At this level, Mironov is carrying a masks that covers his total head, with Gorbachev’s port-wine birthmark on full show.) For the previous few minutes, Mikhail is by himself, mourning his spouse’s demise in 1999 from leukemia, remembering her final phrases: “Do you bear in mind if we returned the white sneakers that we borrowed from Nina for our marriage ceremony?”

The play’s success, and the insatiable demand for tickets that promote out in a half-hour and value as much as $250, might be attributed to the truth that its creators had one thing private at stake.

For Hermanis, Gorbachev, who liberated his native Latvia from the Soviet yoke, was the third individual “who modified his life probably the most after his father and mom,” he mentioned in an interview with a Russian state-run broadcaster.