Based on Maurice Maeterlinck
Director: Andrei Moguchy
HAPPINESS is a play for children staged by the veteran of the Russian avant-garde, winner of the European Prize in New Theatre Reality nomination Andrei Moguchy. Initially the director’s idea was to translate into the modern language Maeterlinck’s The Blue Bird. This play holds a special place in the history of the Russian theatre. At the Moscow Art Theatre it was staged by Stanislavsky and it still remains in the company’s repertoire as a sweet canon of the theatre for children. However there is nothing sweet about Moguchy’s production. The music by Alexander Manotskov is performed by live orchestra and designer Alexander Shishkin created the costumes that make the characters look like the cartoon personages. In the course of the rehearsals the original idea was transformed to the effect that quite a new story was created. Moguchy tells the children the harsh truth about people growing up as a result of confronting death. The message is that if you haven’t lost your dear ones you actually haven’t lived. However this story is rendered with a lot of humor.
Having decided to produce the Blue Bird at the Alexandrinsky Theatre, Andrei Moguchy composed his own modern and at the same time dreamlike storyline on top of Maeterlinck's tale. Together with Konstantin Filippov he wrote a new play, called HAPPINESS, which is crazy, overloaded, flying up and falling down, like a swing – from high to low style, first mixing up in the text and then on stage everything that seems stylistically incompatible.
All those crazy frills are turned into a performance where also the artist's raging imagination sweeps over the audience with a flood of continuous visual impressions. Everything has undergone transformation there, nothing looks like ordinary: from the faces of the characters (wearing comic glasses with noses and attached ears) to the white wolves on wheelchairs.
The Moscow News
HAPPINESS gives real happiness to children (of any age, up to 80), who can simply enjoy pure visual excitement. The performance provides more profound pleasures to older ones.
Delovoy Peterburg (Business Petersburg)
HAPPINESS with its clear plot preserves the multi-layer structure of Maeterlinck's narration and meaning amplitude: from naïve and didactic to quite philosophical. This is both a fantastic quest and a symbolic allegory.
In HAPPINESS the director has made yet another important breakthrough: a large form performance has finally appeared on the domestic stage, it is formally children audience oriented, but implemented by means of a real "adult" theatre. […]
Moguchy has tried to occupy an essentially new territory for the Russian theatre. The director who has always been very sensitive to Zeitgeist, has produced a performance for the audience, living in the mass media epoch and having difficulty in distinguishing between the virtual and the real, and most importantly, trusting the image much more than the word or gesture.