Joël Pommerat


Theatre Praktika, Moscow
Award nominations 2015

Драма / спектакль малой формы
работа режиссера ()
работа художника по костюмам ()
женская роль ()

Участник программы «Russian Case» Фестиваля 2015 года

Director: Marfa Gorvits

Set designer:: Yevgenia Panfilova

Duration 1 hour 20 min

Marfa Gorvits’ performance on the Joel Pommerat’s play was created as a laboratory work. The plot of this "Cinderella" is another version of the famous fairy tale created by the French playwright and director. Cinderella in this interpretation is a disheveled awkward teenager in a wretched little dress and with great alarm clock on her hand. Having lost her mother, Cinderella lives with a constant feeling of guilt. She considered rudeness of her step-mother, her step-sisters’ mockery, betrayal of her father who has become the henpecked husband, and heavy housework as just deserved punishment for the orphanage.
Orphanhood is the main theme of the play that brings Cinderella close to Prince. In this world, children help each other, and adults are not involved in it at all. Here, maturation goes hand in hand with knowledge and acceptance of death, with the ability to let the past go and to welcome the present. "Cinderella" is played ironically but with sympathy for the characters: here every act is, if not justified, but clearly motivated – the stepmother does not want to become old and her growing up daughters rage due to hormonal rampage. This version of the famous story gives no happy ending – it tells how hard growing up is. Still, "Cinderella" by Marfa Gorvits helps to see hope in the variability of the world, in the flow of time, in random and non-random meetings and conversations.

Anna Banasyukevich

The world has changed dramatically, but fairy tales have remained the same. Joël Pommerat’s "Cinderella" is a tough uncompromising attempt to rethink the fabulous myth today. Pommerat seems to keep the original plot, and then as a psychologist he unties complicated knots of the story justifying the behavior of each character. It makes the play incredibly lively and similar to new drama. This show for me is the first honest attempt to talk about such important things as death, betrayal and love.

Marfa Gorvits

... This is neither Perrault’s bestseller nor even Shvarts’s piece staged by the Gorvits’ university classmate Ekaterina Polovtseva in the Sovremennik theatre. This is Joël Pommerat, the playwright and one of the most eminent directors in Europe, the winner of the Moliere Award and a favorite of the Avignon Festival. He cleverly rewrote and reinterpreted in terms of psychoanalysis the familiar since childhood "Cinderella" story, and staged it in the branch of the Parisian theater "Odeon". His Zola (Ash) is far from her fabulous prototype: she behaves like a difficult teenager, collects dead birds, and gets from Prince his own shoe instead of a glass slipper. The new generation "Cinderella" is radically devoid of romance - it's a tough story about growing up which is disturbed by the dependence on the past and the stubborn refusal to admit that her mother has passed away...
...The lingering childhood trauma makes the two teenagers akin. Joël Pommerat noticed it, and Marfa Gorvits decided to restore the subconscious image of the situation in the space similar to a psychoanalyst's office with white walls and transparent furniture where nothing would distract from the analysis of the problems of the fabulous family. This decision is supported by a non-usual way of playing: reasonably detached, ironic, and light, with no psychological intricacies. This approach doesn’t make the Joël Pommerat’s text primitive but makes it more subtle and transparent, and every model of behavior becomes more recognizable, a little funnier, and even, perhaps, slightly caricatured.
But this doesn’t change the seriousness of the situation. Both Zola and Prince voluntarily surrender to the past and become only too happy to aggravate their situation, i.e. increasingly withdraw into themselves and reduce their communication with their fathers, who are exclusively self-absorbed. However, in the Marfa Gorvits’s performance it applies to everyone, including the red-bearded fairy...


... "Cinderella" by Marfa Gorvits, a student of Sergei Zhenovach, is uncompromising and sad, but at the same time it represents an ironic and kind attempt to talk about the most important things: love, death, ability to accept, forgive and let things go. The fabulous myth is turned into a delicate and precise psychological story that takes place in a space reminiscent of either a psychoanalyst's office or a laboratory. Within its sterile white walls complexes, weaknesses and hurts of both children and adults are attentively dissected.
Cinderella precisely performed by Nadezhda Lumpova is not a good fairy tale character intimidated by her wicked stepmother and sisters, but a difficult teenager with the steel character...
…One hour and a half lasing "Cinderella" reminds a group therapy where the participants are not only the characters of the play, but also the audience. But this pill to swallow is not so bitter: it is flavored with subtle jokes, ironic and vivid details, the almost grotesque stepsisters and fairy, the precise acting, and the incredibly simple, but at the same time very touching ending after which you immediately want to call your parents.

The Evening Moscow