GORKI-10School of Dramatic Art and Dmitry Krymov Laboratory
This is a collage of parodies on the subject of Soviet plays and myths. In the first part of the performance, we can see the troubled working days of Lenin, solving important issues of country's electrification in Gorki near Moscow in the 1920s. Nikolai Pogodin’s play The Kremlin Chimes, fragments of which have become a reference point for Dmitry Krymov, was really about a vigilant man of wisdom, thinking only of his people’s good. In Krymov’s performance the part of Ilyich is played by several actresses as a whiny and moody child, killing chief engineers one by one out of suspicion and scaring Krupskaya with his inadequate behavior. Krymov makes visible the hidden side of state policy in the nascent Russian Federation, when much was done out of fear of Comrade Dzerzhinsky’s Mauser.
In the second part of the performance, we see the descendants of Lenin’s and Stalin’s adepts as well as their victims, living and fighting on stage. On a hill overgrown with green grass, characters from Boris Vasilyev’s war story The Dawns Are Quiet Here die one by one in front of their sergeant. Viktor Rozov’s characters, the sergeant’s grandchildren, who got no benefit from their grandfather’s hard earned victory, quarrel at the dinner table. In the end, people disappear, having degenerated completely, and white fluffy hares are shot instead. Krymov’s sarcasm finds fertile soil in the space of domestic history.
I want to produce such a performance that nothing is clear for a long time in it, but it is very interesting. Nothing is clear for a long time. But it is interesting. And then everything becomes clear, without ceasing to be interesting. Just not right away, but soon. And it isn’t that "clear," but rather there appears a feeling that you know where it all tends to. And when it all comes to the point that everything is really quite clear, you don’t have a feeling of having wasted your time.
And at the end I would really like making that scene from the Optimistic Tragedy by Vs. Vishnevsky, where a purse was allegedly stolen from an old woman, and then she found it.
And there should be an intermission and a curtain. And sausage sandwiches during the intermission. And tulle with trees glued to it. And a large dining table with cups. There should be peace and quiet. And also a lot of shooting from different weapons and blood.
The new work by Dmitry Krymov Laboratory is like a children game, in which each participant draws any one part of the body, then the piece of paper is folded, and the next player does not know what has been depicted by the previous - as a result there comes a portrait of some incredible creature causing general joyful laughter.
Krymov’s guignol, charmingly reckless theatricality becomes total in GORKI-10. When at the end a tipsy woman from the "audience" requests to find the thief who has stolen her purse, and the director of a ringleader “kills” all his actors in search of a criminal, you do not immediately realize that the Optimistic Tragedy is "buried" here - Vishnevsky also has an episode with imaginary purse theft, leading to senseless deaths. The most famous cartoon characters appearing from nowhere not long before it, are killed too. One might also say, having slightly altered Harms’ words: "the theatre is closed, all of us have been killed."
Of course, this is the theater still capable of fascinating and mystifying the audience by its freedom.
Dmitry Krymov deals with the past in a joyful way. As an artist, teacher and director he is flesh and blood of the Soviet theater (the son of the prominent critic Natalia Krymova and the great director Anatoly Efros, next to whom the son made his debut as a stage designer), and his scores with the past are theatrical.
What kind of news is that, it would seem. Soviet ideology which the theater served was dismantled together with the proletarian state twenty years ago. Meanwhile, look: its mummy lies in a prominent place, history remains un-reflected, the past slipped into the present and stays there for the third term, and the theater preserved in the form of a Soviet institution, continues to radiate Soviet consciousness, like Chernobyl radiation. So the operation to clean up the stage, performed by Krymov, just seems light-minded and delayed. The Soviet mankind has still to laugh and laugh, before it bids farewell to its past.
Dmitry Krymov has once again appeared as an innovator. His GORKI-10 performance is a laboratory experiment of producing stage comics in the stylistics of social art. In GORKI-10 the director demonstrates the freedom of his experiment, which enhances his productivity. He wants to play and plays without being much concerned about those watching him play.
Social art, a trend with clichés and reduced images as its main tool, has been played out by and large in the world, but mainly unknown on the Russian stage.
GORKI-10 came out spectacular and very, very sad. Longing for the unfulfilled and impossible to be fulfilled are the constant concepts of our culture, always interesting for Krymov. However, if earlier, in spite of everything, his productions featured furtive inner joy and sparkling humor, the director has become gloomy now, his riddles getting frightening and his jokes turning "black." Obviously, the trend of universal corruption can no longer be ignored even by the brightest representatives of Russian theater.
A bold and brilliant confusion instead of a performance perfectly reflects the subconscious of a contemporary intellectual - we can not say goodbye to our past (still rewriting and rewriting history), let children injuries go (remembering fishes for the whole life), allow ourselves to act, not to obey like dolls. And finally, we recklessly permit to destroy "the reasonable, the good and the eternal" god knows to whom and why.