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 area. 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 may simply be their traditional road garments: a hoodie, denims, an unpretentious black shirt. Over the course of the efficiency, they may rework onstage, change their apparel and appears as they age.

The 2 actors begin by studying their traces out loud, discussing 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 college was Marxism.

Khamatova and Mironov, who’re among the many best drama theater actors of their era, go away 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 ugly battle 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. Ultimately, 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 sporting a masks that covers his whole head, with Gorbachev’s port-wine birthmark on full show.) For the previous few minutes, Mikhail is by himself, mourning his spouse’s loss of life in 1999 from leukemia, remembering her final phrases: “Do you bear in mind if we returned the white footwear that we borrowed from Nina for our wedding ceremony?”

The play’s success, and the insatiable demand for tickets that promote out in a half-hour and price as much as $250, could 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 particular person “who modified his life essentially the most after his father and mom,” he mentioned in an interview with a Russian state-run broadcaster.