GODS ARE FALLEN AND ALL SAFETY GONEFestival "Lyubimovka", Teatr.doc and AFISHA, Moscow
Эксперимент / спектакль
Victor Ryzhakov professes theatre where Text is the protagonist. The director whose reserved and correctly found form owe the performances by Ivan Vyrypaev, is guided rather by music and text structure than by plot logic. A small piece by British playwright Selma Dimitrijevic consists of multiple, nearly identical dialogues between mother and daughter. A passionate desire to start a dialogue and inability to do so lurks behind their turbulent exchanges. When we finally hear a warm human conversation, we understand that one of the heroines is no longer alive. The half-hour performance is given in the "Food" magazine kitchen: the two actresses perform in an enclosed area, while the man, the heroines speak and dream of, but who does not exist in their lives, is actually making breakfast on the stove there.
When going to see the GODS ARE FALLEN by Viktor Ryzhakov, you would rather leave at home every conventional notion of the theatre as a place where some people are comfortably watching other people who, in their turn, are imitating the third ones. The action takes place in an ordinary kitchen; two actresses are performing dialogs of two women as though it were musical scores. It is due to the audience to choose whether to spy on the actresses, demonstratively covered by a screen, or on the person preparing lunch by the cooker. Another option is to stand by the wall, close your eyes and just listen.
The Viktor Ryzakov’s performance GODS ARE FALLEN AND ALL SAFETY GONE is performed in the kitchen of the Afisha Publishing House. It is 25 minutes that lasts the dialog between the mother and the daughter composed of phrases repeated on and on. The weak-nerved should be warned: it is difficult to get rid of the feeling that somebody have spied on you and is just imitating your own relationship with your parents.
[…]“The cultural life may be eaten”, stage director is grinning sadly while explaining to the audience the uncommon venue. He stands by the screen in white plastic which separates tables, gas cookers and shelves with the condiments from a tiny little space surrounded by a dozen of spectators. The audience can be seated down only on the windowsill; otherwise you will not see what is happening inside.
[…] A mother and her daughter who came to see her are exchanging some scraps of phrases which enable the playwright to convey both love and the lack of understanding, the daughter’s readiness to help and her irritation at these endless small-minded reproaches – at all these “watch your tongue” and “go find yourself somebody better”.
The dialog is being repeated three times, the words are gradually turning into interjections, the daughter, trying to prevent all the dissatisfactions of her mother, is almost screaming out the answers before she is asked a question. The stage director gives a certain rhythm to every line; the rhythm grows stronger and stronger. And in a couple of minutes the tension starts growing by leaps and bounds.
Stage director Viktor Ryzhakov has inscribed the play by the Croatian Selma Dimitrievich in the space of the “Afisha Food” magazine editorial kitchen, the common venue for the culinary shows shooting. It is a pioneering theatre project of the “Lyubimovka” Festival. From one point of view, it is the shortest performance in our country – it is only 30 minutes long. From the other, it has the most uncommon space solution: the play is performed in a non-theatrical environment (a big kitchen studio) where a special room is screened off for the theatre.
Producer Elena Kovalskaya is to be congratulated!
A voluntaristic text. An absolutely auditory thing. You may watch it or sit down on the floor by the wall and just listen to it, there is no difference. It is a very useful remedy for the Russian theatre which likes it all to be visual. It makes no difference whether you look at the stage or not! The text however influences you in some way, and this is what we call theatre.
M. Ugarov, “Theatre Diaries”