Elena Gremina


Teatr.doc, Moscow
Award nominations 2013

Драма / спектакль малой формы

Участник программы «Новая пьеса» Фестиваля 2012 года
Director Mikhail Ugarov

The new production of Teatr.doc is based on real events related to the house arrest of the Belarusian oppositionist and presidential candidate Vladimir Neklyaev. After the Presidential elections Neklyaev and his wife for four months suffered from the round the clock presence of two security officers in their apartment. Elena Gremina wrote a play based on the interviews with the characters, Mikhail Ugarov staged the performances, and in autumn it was shown at several European festivals. They avoid political issues, like Neklyaev's creed, what preceded Neklyaev's arrest and the views of the theatre. They are interested in the situation itself, like in the previous performance of Teatr.doc on Magnitsky, the lawyer who died in prison. Gremina calls the situation that prevailed in the apartment of an arrested oppositionist "a space drama". But the performance is not a drama according to its genre, it is a comedy: the security officers wear slippers, the oppositionist's wife forces them to listen to jazz, and makes them a scene for a drop of urine on the edge of the toilet sink, and when at the end Neklyaev returns free from court the wife tells the guards: "clean and get out!", and the stage is flooded by soap foam. The play came out surprisingly at the right time: the premiere was played in Moscow in December, and the optimistic finale, where KGB officers washed down their own traces with soap, sounded in unison with Moscow on rally against Putin.

Elena Kovalskaya

The outburst of international interest, so rare for the domestic theater, to a production made at a small basement in Trehprudniy Lane, is, certainly connected, with its hero-Vladimir Neklyaev, battered and arrested as a candidate for Presidency in Belarus. Not only with it, however. The modern form, requiring artistic and rhetorical asceticism, practiced by Teatr.doc, guaranteed the European co-producers against tall tale and the pathos of "tolerance", "democracy" and "human rights". Neither the playwright nor the director Mikhail Ugarov or the actors have played on any of these concepts.

Rossiyskaya gazeta

"One can feel human pity for the KGB officers here. And it really reflects the public mood today, which tries to be peaceful even in a fight, bringing white flowers to a political rally. And the final scene of the performance when Neklyaev returns from court sentenced to two years of probation, and Olga triumphantly tells the guards, pointing to the garbage in the apartment: "and now clean and get out!" is full of the present victorious mood like nothing else.
There is a feeling that we shall win just because we are normal and free, we shall win without weapons, only with laughter and absence of fear".

The Moscow News

Instead of a topical political performance Mikhail Ugarov produced a "space drama", a story of how the captors are swapped with the captives, and the funny is toughly mixed with the fearful.