Idiot cafe

Ballet Moskva, Moscow
Presented in the frame of Russian Case
Based on Fyodor Dostoevsky`s novel The Idiot
(contemporary dance)

Director: Alexander Pepelyaev
Age category 16+

IDIOT CAFÉ is staged by the choreographer Alexander Pepelyaev, whose works are key both for Russian contemporary dance as well as dance pedagogy and directing outside Russia. The production is based on Fyodor Dostoevsky`s novel The Idiot but with references to Pina Bausch’s Cafe Muller: the audience and performers-dancers are situated inside one and the same space, which refers to this milestone of contemporary dance. At the same time, while no words from Dostoevsky are pronounced, Pepelyaev suggests that we should follow a path of self-knowledge, recognizing our own torments and experiences, in an endeavor to get away from illustrativeness. The production involves several Myshkins, who try to understand who they are – madmen or saints; a blindfolded girl – Nastasya Filipovna gives in only to her own impulses but not to conscience. That is the theme of an unrealized happiness in human life, of which we can deprive ourselves with our own hands. The acting technique in Theatre Ballet Moscow provides a means to gently embody these ideas without intrusive declamations, which is nowadays so alien to Pepelyaev’s method and contemporary dance at large.

Kristina Matvienko