Alexander Ostrovsky


Chekhov Center, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2020
Director: Alexander Sozonov
Set designer: Alina Alimova
Alexander Sozonov directed Ostrovsky’s paradigmatic play, which is studied in all Russian schools, as a fantasy dystopia. The preface in the spirit of Vladimir Sorokin’s novels is projected to the curtain at the beginning of the performance: in a distant future Russia has run out of oil and gas but is full of Orthodoxy and patriotism; Russian Internet is everywhere and the Great Wall of Russia is built. And it immediately makes sense why in this modern society with mobile phones and digital technology everybody talks so archaically and thinks than there are people with wolves’ heads living beyond the wall.
By the way, there are fairy-tale creatures here as well (“The Storm” from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk has much in common with the play “Kys” by Tatyana Tolstaya): one of the secondary characters looks like a bear, another one has caught a living mermaid in the Volga river and carries it around. Sozonov uses a lot of technologies, rhythm-setting videos, online translations, computer animation and so on. But in the core we find an ever-lasting love story with a lot of flesh, sex and sensuality.
Traditionally there will be reflection on the future of Russia. This reflection is very distinct for a theatre located in the Far East: the director shows us that this Darkest Russian kingdom sooner or later will be occupied by the Chinese. Not without a reason Kudryash, traditionally pictured as a dashing Russian boy, is Chinese in this performance.

Dina Goder

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