Yevgeny Shvarts


Drama Theatre, Omsk
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2020
Director: Marat Gatsalov
Set designer: Vera Makarenko
Marat Gatsalov, the director of “The Dragon” on the Omsk Drama Theatre stage, is famous for his love to unconventional scenography. This time he decided to place Schwartz’s satirical play not on the stage but among the first rows of the audience. The only source of light is what looks like mining lamps on actors’ heads. It seems that the performance takes place in a dungeon or in the underworld. The actors wander around the auditorium and their distorted faces look frightening in the dim light.
Another unconventional solution is the director’s choice of actors. The elderly actress Valeria Prokop plays young Elsa saved by Lancelot. And she is surrounded by elderly “girls” just like her. We see that waiting to be saved can take long, and meanwhile life is passing by. It was 70 years of waiting for the Soviet power to collapse: somebody grew old and somebody did not have enough time to wait.
Lancelot, the dragon slayer, is played not by a heroic but by a comic actor Oleg Teploukhov. In this role he is an unpleasant straightforward rigorist. “The dragon-slayer becomes the dragon himself”, the director explained his decision.

Dina Goder

Director Marat Gatsalov offers a completely unusual staged solution. The performance is played in front of the stage, in the aisles of the front rows. The actors are put in this space, like miners in the mine face. There is practically no lighting, only the light of the headlamps dilutes the darkness. The light distorts faces, making them look like weird masks. Darkness and ugliness are a life model of people who underwent vivisection of the soul.


In a certain town there live people whom the dragon has enslaved. Every year the best girl is solemnly sacrificed to him. Everyone is happy because the people have no soul and they do not know what freedom is.
“While he is here, no other dragon will touch us. The only way to get rid of the dragon is to have get your own”, “I began to envy the slaves. They know everything in advance. They have strong beliefs. Probably because they have no choice”- Schwartz’s work was distributed into quotes just because this fairy tale is terribly similar to life.
“It seems to me that is a simple story based on an Eastern legend that the winner of the dragon himself turns into a dragon,” director Marat Gatsalov says. - It is related to any person, no matter what time this architypical story occurs. Any material is connected with what the director personally experiences, how he feels the space around him and the reality he exists in.

Komsomolskaya Pravda Dayly

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