The Assembly @Assembly Hall (Baillie Room) at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe
will host the only performance focusing on Sergei Diaghilev, the 20th Century's greatest
impresario. The performance is the return to Edinburgh of one of the UK's and America's
busiest performer/director/playwrights after a 47 year absence, in a tour-de-force
performance that is the signature event of a life's work in the theatre.
CHARLATAN is a memoir of Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes. A towering figure
in the world of art, Diaghilev was an Impresario who worked with creative giants--including
Fokine, Picasso, Cocteau, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Chanel - and loved some of them.
Spoken in first person by the man himself, this memoir details among other events
that extraordinary moment when the Ballets Russes came to Paris for the first time
in 1909 and started a revolution in the World of Art. Also examined, with pitiless
honesty, is his intense but ultimately tragic love for the dance genius Nijinsky.
Tanner was struck by the idea that in one evening, one company of superb dancers
and inspired designers could set off shock waves that would travel around the world
and would still resonate 100 years later, was beyond belief. In a notable moment
of the play, Nijinsky, the once great dancer, now a hopeless schizophrenic was taken
to the Paris Opera to see a dance he had created, in the hope of jogging his memory
and sending some ray of sentience through his brain. It was not to be. This moving
episode is just one of the dozens of moments captured in CHARLATAN. We know you
will be as taken with this performance as we were.
Reviewers called CHARLATAN: "simple theatre at its captivating best," and described
it thus: "The way he speaks is entrancing. The things he says are compelling. The
situations he describes are real and colorful. I had no idea my imagination could
be so active. Tanner is a master of words both written and spoken. I was transported
to the Parisian stage described by Diaghilev."
"Diaghilev talks a great deal about his relationship with Nijinsky, whom he considered
a consummate artist. It affords the writer the opportunity to examine what it is
to be an artist and what drives one to chase creative perfection, not to mention