Servant and Master

Denis Diderot’s novel Jacques the Fatalist and His Master, published posthumously in 1796, is a loose, unstructured philosophical picaresque whose title characters, together on a journey, tell one another stories and encounter curious characters. We’re interested in the stage adaptation by Roman Theodori which premiered on February 26, 2010, at the Altai Regional Drama Theater in Barnaul, Siberia, where Feodori was the artistic director. And we are especially interested in Justina, played by Olga Yurnova.

She’s at the center of an episode concerning a father and son with the unenviable surname of Scum (Otrapa in Russian, Bigre in French). Here she is with Young Scum (Yuri Ryabtsev), her boyfriend:

For those who have the patience, and the Russian, the whole production is on YouTube, split into eight segments. For those who don’t, here’s a little preliminary mime showing the climax of Justina’s story:

Every night, the young couple have what they fondly imagine to be a clandestine liaison in the loft. Old Scum is concerned about it, because Justine is, let us say, not unknown to the other boys in the village, and he engages Jacques to break it up by seeing to it that Justina also becomes known to him. The outcome is that Young Scum gets angry, which in Theodori’s version is especially bad news for Justina:

But Justina gets angrier, and the relationship survives, if anything made even stronger by the affair.

We also have some photos from the final dress rehearsal on February 25, which suggest that being spanked with a big stick, with her skirt up, was a little… hair-raising for Olga Yurnova:

Applause for her, and for everyone else concerned!

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