Anna Starobinets


Non-Normative Plastics Theatre, St. Petersburg
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2020
Director: Roman Kaganovich
Plasticity director: Maxim Pakhomov
Set designer: Roman Kaganovich
Stage adaptation: Maria Ogneva
The performance is based on Anna Starobinets’ autobiographical novel “Look at him”. It is a painful personal story about losing a child (in the final months of pregnancy the main character finds out that her child has a deadly disease) as well as a journalist investigation into why in this tragic situation the mother is left without any help or support. Why is she avoided and considered second-rate in comparison with happy pregnant women?
The author compares her Russian experience with the same situation in Germany. When the novel came out, it ignited a huge controversy and encouraged an open debate on the issue. Roman Kaganovich turns it into a kind of a cabaret where the main character splits in two and every other character – male or female - is played by men in a very grotesque and clownlike manner. It is painful and hilarious at the same time, with a lot of dance and songs, and it tones down the horror of listening to the story and allows the audience to follow it and to understand it to the end. How else can you present a performance with the opening scene where the main character in a gynecologiсal examination chair finds out her child is going to die?

Dina Goder

... it is a matter of what happens to a person beyond despair. At that rare moment when it becomes clear that in general no one and nothing can help him. This is rock, doom. The only thing that can be done while the child is still alive, while he can still breathe through his mother, because it is clear that his lungs will not open, the only joy that can be given to the baby is the right to die of natural causes and make a sip of dangerous and mulled wine that is not acceptable in another situation - at least give something to the little one for a long memory, a taste of a full life.

Theatre Magazine

The heroine has to make the most difficult choice in her life. Her decision causes so much pain and such heavy emotions that they can drive you crazy. This raises not only the problem of the psycho-emotional state of a woman facing personal tragedy, but also the problems of domestic medicine and ethics. The story of one family is told in plain language with some irony. Through the example of one woman`s suffering, the indifference surrounding us is revealed, and it becomes clear that it is not at all difficult to show involvement and compassion. If you share grief, it will decrease, and if you share joy, there will be more joy.


The performance balances between a frank conversation on a topic that is not customary to talk about and bold satire on public misconceptions. This is the autobiographical story of the writer Anna Starobinets staged by Roman Kaganovich.
This is a story about the pain and terrifying ordeals of a woman and her family, so simply and subtly narrated that it is impossible to remain indifferent. You weep with the heroine, do not believe in the reality of what is happening, seek help from specialists. But you can’t hide from the most difficult choice in life, you need to decide: to give birth to an inviable child or to interrupt his life in the middle of pregnancy.


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