Maxim Gorky


Krasny Fakel (Red Torch) Theatre, Novosibirsk
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2020
stage adaptation by Olga Fedyanina

Director: Timofei Kulyabin
Set designer: Oleg Golovko
Timofei Kulyabin and playwright Olga Fedyanina change the time and place for Gorky’s play “Children of the Sun” – it is the eve of the new year 2000, and all the main characters are Russian scientists on the campus of Stanford University. This production from Novosibirsk is accompanied by a thick brochure explaining why a century later Gorky’s story turned out exactly like this, with articles about talented Russian immigrants of the 90s in Silicon Valley, about the mystical fear of the new millennium, about why everything important in science now happens in IT (and not, for example, in chemistry, because according to Gorky the main character is a chemist).
Besides, the brochure contains biographies of all the characters, made up by performers themselves, wherein the history of post-soviet Russia is described: criminality, squalor, terrorist attacks, emigration. The stage consists of four main characters’ rooms placed in a row. One of them moves forward when something important is happening there, creating the impression of a close-up. However, mostly action flows simultaneously in all rooms, and the viewer sees as if a section of the house, which creates a feeling of cramped and closed Russian community, where everything is in sight and there is nowhere to escape. In the new play, Gorky’s text is seamlessly combined with the texts of speeches by Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, and the wonderful Novosibirsk Red Torch performers act in such a way that on the way out you discuss the characters as real people and polemize about what happened in the world over the past 20 years.

Dina Goder

Timofei Kulyabin is considered a flamboyant and even scandalous artist. On the one hand, this stimulates his popularity, on the other hand, it makes it difficult to see the essence of his own artistic self. But, looking at his repertoire preferences (practically he has never staged modern texts) and his ways of working, you understand that in the Russian generation of 30-year-olds there are few directors who are so consistently involved in the theater of interpretation. The new play “Children of the Sun” continues his another attempt to actualize classical texts in terms of realistic language.

OKOLO Theatre Magazine

Timofei Kulyabin staged his "Children of the Sun" based on the play by Olga Fedyanina written on the play of the same name by Gorky. Unlike the original source, Fedyanina’s text is swift, fascinating, it has few characters, a lot of dynamics, remarks are short, there are only two or three monologues and they talk about scientists who are living among conditional interiors of a conditional dormitory. The set designer Oleg Golovko constructed pencil-case rooms in which short meetings of heroes take place. The monitors count down real and unreal time, simultaneously marking the episodes with the names of the heroes - “Elena and Pavel Protasovs”, “Boris Chepurnoy”, “Dmitry Vagin”.


The theater season at the Krasny Fakel (Red Torch) Theater opened with the premiere of “Children of the Sun” based on the play of the same name by Maxim Gorky directed by Timofei Kulyabin. Unlike the Gorky heroes who are rushing about in a stuffy pre-storm space, the Kuliabin`s characters found themselves in a hermetic space of the Stanford University campus at the gap of two eras - the 20th century and the millennium. “The themes of the isolation of the intelligentsia from the people, in my opinion, simply no longer exist - in the form Gorky described,” the director believes. - But the sense of watershed, threshold, premonition of a sharp jump is well known to me, it lives on in me as a clear and close memory of the turn of the century, which is called millennium. At that time, a technological revolution took place, which has changed and continues to change our life.”

Vedomosti Dayly

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