DENVER (CBS4) – “Anna Karenina” is considered by some to be the greatest work of literature ever written. Written by Russian author Leo Tolstoy, it was first published in 1878. Now, the Denver Center Theatre Company is bringing the stage adaptation to Denver audiences.
“It’s one of the most expansive novels ever written,” said Chris Coleman, director of “Anna Karenina” and Artistic Director for the Denver Center Theatre Company.
While a classic like “Anna Karenina” may seem daunting, the story focuses on a couple of main themes.
“I think somebody, like Tolstoy, has survived because they saw into the essentials of humanity in a way that still feels very resonate today,” Coleman explained.
One story focuses on the very beautiful, wealthy, aristocratic Anna, who falls in love with a man who is not her husband.
“And takes the ultimate risk to pursue that, and pays a huge, huge price for it…emotionally and socially,” Coleman said.
The other story features Levin, who was born into great prosperity and privilege, but struggles to create social equality.
“Ultimately I think it is about how you find an authentic life in whatever world you’re living in,” Chris Coleman told CBS4.
One trick of the production is creating 19th century, tsarist Russia on stage.
“For the ice skating scene, all you have is a bench and it’s what the actors are doing on the stage,” Coleman said.
Much of the ambiance can be found in the clothing. Many of the pieces were made by the Theatre Company production staff.
“So much of the story is about how constricting the rules were for humans, but particularly about how men and women behaved, and the clothes tell that story, I think, in a really vivid way,” Coleman explained.
The Denver Theatre Company has a reputation for doing classic stories in a big way, and “Anna Karenina” is no exception.
“Anna Karenina” is playing on the Stage Theatre through February 24th.