Maria BUKNIS graduated from the Leningrad State Institute ofáTheater, Music and Cinematography iná1988. She worked one year ináLeningrad ináthe Youth Absurd Theater before returning toáher hometown ofáSyktyvkar. From 1989 toá1999, she was the leading actress ofáthe Syktyvkar Drama Theater where she performed some 20 leads.Among her important works there were her performances of Oksana in Mikhail Zadornov?s The Final Attempt (1989); Annushka in Ostrovsky?s In the Hot Spot (1993); Ilona Algren in The Woman of Nizkovori by the Finnish dramatist Heilo Volikki (1997); Lyudmila Gerasimovna in Ostrovsky?s Late Love (1997); and Anisya in Lev Tolstoy?s The Power of Darkness (1998). Two of her works were noted especially by critics and audiences: various roles in I?m Tired of Being a Stranger, based on the works of Anton Chekhov, Mikhail Zoshchenko and Maria Arbatova (directed by Svetlana Chaplygina, 1995) and the role of Pannochka in the play of the same name by Nina Sadur (directed by Oleg Nagornichnykh, 1996).Since 1999 she has been a member of the troupe of Moscow?s Benefis (Showcase) Theater where she created the role of Nichkina in Gennady Gladkov and Yuly Kim?s musical Matchmaking Moscow-Style, based on the works of Ostrovsky (2001).She has taken over the role of Mama Rigby in the production of Shlyampompo.At present she is rehearsing the role of the main freulein in Yevgeny Shvarts?s The Naked King. In film she has performed in Leonid Pchyolkin?s SalomÚ and in the as-yet unfinished Moscow ? the Third Rome(directed by Vladimir Khotinenko and Ivan Morozov). She performs the role of Aldonza in Quixote and Sancho.