The Modicums Festival: From Russia with Love



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If you're one of those people kicking themselves over missing the final show at P.S. 122 (now under a multiyear renovation), you're in luck. There are still actually shows happening this month in the building at the Mabou Mines ToRoNaDa space (also known as the classroom to the right on the second floor). In ToRoNaDa's cozy wooden confines, Towson University in Baltimore is mounting its homegrown Modicums Festival and—although you must go with the full knowledge that this is a school presentation—I can recommend it.

Towson, thanks to its close ties to the Center for International Theater Development, has one foot very firmly planted in the Russian theater scene. I've written before about the high quality of its student productions (Yury Urnov's production of Martial Arts is still one of my favorite experiences last year), and now they're doing another slate of new Russian dramas. This evening is your last chance to catch The Natasha Plays, three unrelated monologues written by the precocious Yaroslava Pulinovich, still only in her early twenties. Director Stephen Nunns has matched his actors to the pieces extremely shrewdly, and the three consecutive Natashas (Sarah Lloyd, Julia M. Smith and Shannon McPhee) make the most of Pulinovich's unsettling portraits of frightening young women. Pulinovich is still emerging as an important voice in the Russian scene, but American audiences have just as much to enjoy in her psychologically astute dissection of  three "mean girls" gone monstrous.

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