VYATLAGDrama Laboratory, Kirov and Teatr.doc, Moscow
Director: Boris Pavlovich
The production "Vyatlag" was created when the country authorities began the legal trial of mass protests on Bolotnaya Square. Not directly associated with the today's realities the show refers to the events that happened seventy years ago.
"Vyatlag" is a diary fragment of the Latvian farmer Arthur Stradinsh captured in 1941 for belonging to a non-governmental organization recognized counterrevolutionary by the Soviet authorities. Stradinsh spent in the camp ten years, after that he was sent in exile to the Krasnoyarsk region in Siberia. In the camp, he led a secret diary on tissue paper. Boris Pavlovich in his production voices one year of this diary record.
The performance lacks theatrical entourage, all attention is focused on the text: a quiet thin man wearing glasses reads out brief notes made on small pieces of twisted paper. On these scraps of paper there is a whole life with its monotonous rhythm: work at the sawmill, the camp hospital, stealing in the barracks, short conversations with fellow inmates. A lot of details about food and bread allowance. Calmly - about death of friends, relatives, inmates. Often - about the young wife whose fate he cannot find about being in the camp.
In Stradinsh’s notes one may find the way of thinking and living which was largely destroyed by the Soviet authorities. Stradinsh’s economically oriented peasant mind, his close relationship with the land, genetic national traditionalism, the memory of folk festivals helped him stay alive in the camp. It all gave him energy and strength.
With its modest documentary character, “Vyatlag” avoids generalization; the performance does not seek to scare or hit the minds with the scale of repression, horrifying statistics of executions or arrests. The disaster which happened to the country and its peoples are shown through a personal story of an ordinary person. The message of “Vyatlag” is that the violence of the system manifests itself not only in physical destruction, but also in a total lack of freedom, in a meaningless life of the camp with its monotony, squalor, aimlessness and degradation of man. “Vyatlag” tells about a global experiment on humanity that occurred in the 20th century and has brought about the consequences which the world suffers to this day.
Boris Pavlovich tells the story of how our country killed its ordinary citizens – daily, in a routine way, indiscriminately, without any reason, pointlessly and without a second thought. People were snatched from normal everyday life and placed in a concentration camp where they were grounded as if by a meat grinder. Our great nation, having gained victory in the war, in the peace time struggled to survive at the GULAG. Here the locked in people knew well what it meant to lose and were even used to it….. Here they stole, reported on the campmates to save their own lives and still died to buried in a common grave, without inscriptions.