EXTEMPORE. A. Pushkin Eugene OneginSchool of Dramatic Art, Moscow
Участник программы «Детский Weekend»-2017 и «Russian Case»-2016
Director: Dmitry Krymov
This time Dmitry Krymov tried to combine the artist`s theatre with storytelling. He intends to embody a series of stage retellings of famous literary plots including Karl Marx`s Capital. The performance is about famous Pushkinists – a German woman, a Finn, a Czech and a Frenchwoman - who are retelling Pushkin`s Onegin to their children (puppets acts as children) in baby language and to the adult spectators. Following brisk and incredibly merry sarcasm to the Pushkin rhetoric, the standards of Pushkin studies, the grandiloquence of Pushkin`s admirers, the stage clichés and a semiotic approach, Krymov with his brave fellows suddenly stops speaking ironically just at the right time when the irony is inappropriate. When it comes to the most sacred and touchable topic, the performance breaks with its own style for some serious and severe philosophic preaching. Memory is the most valuable thing. Rejecting memory is death. Tatiana lives her life retrospectively and represents a symbol of resistance to the Russian spleen that makes one take life as a boring sequence of repeating events. Dmitry Krymov`s work becomes a timely manifesto of the survival philosophy. When a perspective into the future is impossible, you can only take a retrospective approach to life. Those who are familiar with Krymov’s deconstruction method will discover a new pathos in this production.
Krymov's ONEGIN is a rare example of a production where complicated issues are treated simply, and eternal ones – ironically. The original text is pronounced only in final Tatiana’s monologue, until this moment the plot of the novel in verse is retold – literally - in one’s own words. But with some digressions. For instance, the audience finds out what theatre is made of. Or where the phrase “turn out the lights” comes from. Or why Pushkin loved ballet so much.
Something different is important for Krymov in the show, something that not only children, but even grown-ups rarely pick up in Pushkin’s novel. Merry poet Pushkin is in reality a difficult and sad man, who has long accepted that dreams most often have no wings, that ideals are destroyed, and love is false. But who has also accepted as a fact that nature is indifferent to human suffering, and life is always accompanied by death. The close and loved ones are remembered only by the close and loved ones. And only while they are alive everything in this world is not fully in vain.
Before the beginning of the show paper attributes of a dress-up outing are distributed to spectators in the foyer, black ties to the boys and white bowknots for the girls. All this creates a 19th century atmosphere and festive mood at once. And behind the glass, in the dressing-room right next to the foyer, actors are finishing their last preparations before coming out to the audience.
Four slightly queer characters – Pushkin lovers from different countries – bring into the audience and seat in the first row their children-puppets, created by laboratory artists.
And then these four caring parents start talking about what is theatre, who are Pushkin, Onegin, Tatiana… Like in a home school, quite common now, organised by friends who get together to spend time with their children and with each other, and to tell their kids something really important, something they cannot say to them in hectic everyday life. What is spleen and Russian winter, who are angels and ballet-dancers. What is different about looking at something from far away, and how everything looks if you make a “binocular” close-up of it, both literally and figuratively, including what you “cannot see with your own eyes”.