The modern one-act ballet, The Rehearsal, contrasts starkly with the classical heritage of Fokine and Petipa. This bold theatrical experiment views human character through a prism of poignant grotesque, while also entertaining the audience with light comedy. Loosely based on Orchestra Rehearsal, a film directed by Federico Fellini, this performance has been staged by the young choreographer Konstantin Keikhel, with music by Franz Joseph Haydn and Konstantin Chistyakov, who has arranged and composed several original music pieces especially for the ballet.
Konstantin Keikhel, creator of the Rehearsal ballet, explains:
'I came up with the concept of this performance after watching Federico Fellini's Orchestra Rehearsal. I thought it might be interesting to turn this film into a ballet, especially since the issues it portrays are relevant for every team that tries to work together: there is a lack of unity, troubled workplace relations, a desire to dominate, a struggle for absolute authority...
Of course, we have not made a point of copying the film's plot verbatim. We have to bear in mind that choreography as an art possesses an entirely different set of capabilities and means of expression. Our Rehearsal will take place at some unspecified location that is being renovated. We thought that this setting would be very relevant, since many venues and rehearsal halls have to go through this trying period. And more often than not, a theatre has to open for a new season before all the renovations are complete.
This is exactly what goes on in our ballet: while the orchestra is rehearsing, the repair crew is still shuffling around, painting walls and moving furniture... Thus, the repairpeople become the orchestra's accidental audience, and the musicians are outraged by having to practice their art in such dismal conditions, when they risk tripping over the paint buckets or sometimes get plunged into pitch darkness, when the lights suddenly flicker out. The conductor, a tyrannical, short-tempered man, is constantly infuriated by his subordinates' antics.
All of these serio-comical events and slice-of-life mishaps breed snarking and bickering among the orchestra members, each of whom (quite naturally) thinks him- or herself to be the true star of the show. This gives rise to various grievances, which snowball into a real rebellion...'