FOURTEEN LITTLE RED HUTSChamber Theatre, Voronezh
Director and costume designer – Mikhail Bychkov
Set design – Nikolai Simonov
Cast: Boris Goloshchapov, Andrei Novikov, Anastasia Novikova, Yuri Ovchinnikov, Vladislav Morgunov, Andrei Miroshnikov, Vasili Markov, Tatiana Babenkova, Lyudmila Guskova, Alexander Tarasenko
Duration – 2 h 30 min
Age restriction – 16+
The anti-utopia Fourteen Little Red Huts is about a Central Asian village that is going to rack and ruin as a result of famine and the fanaticism of collective farm chairperson. It was written by Andrei Platonov in 1933 – the period when the brief upsurge of the Russian avant-garde and experimental theatre was followed by an outburst of repressions against the best Soviet artists. Platonov was born to a poor peasant family and before the start of his careers as a writer he worked as an engineer and ameliorator. His stories and poems first got published in newspapers. His unique manner of writing seemed to be turning the Russian language inside out in order to reveal the real human pain hidden behind the words. By clearly fell beyond the limits of the socialist realism paradigm. In the meantime he seemed to be enchanted by the construction of the new communist paradise. All the more bitter were his ordeals that started with the arrest of his 15-year-old son and continued with the censorship of his writings to the effect that the 50-year-old writer suffering from tuberculosis had to turn a penny by working as a yard-keeper.
The zealous heroine of Fourteen Little Red Huts, a young collective farms movement activist, is ready to sacrifice everything to eradicate hostile sentiments in her home village. Her child dies and she promises to feed fish with it so as to rescue the village from famine. The play staged by Mikhail Bychkov unfolds against the terrifying background of general fatigue, languor and impending death. The sets (designer Nikolai Simonov) are sparse and strictly functional. The waves are swinging upon a metallic surface, the dessert is making its strange sounds and there is the omnipresent fear of “the ghost of communism”.