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 fame."