THE RIVER“Masterskaya” Theatre and Club, Moscow
Formally, Alexei Paperny’s production has to be attributed to ‘new drama’ as it tells about today’s ordinary citizens, and the set of characters is easy to recognize – militiamen, an investigator, passer-bys, philistines, people on the fringe. On the other hand, The River seems to be quite opposite to new drama: the author looks at life not with a critically ruthless but a lyrically happy, even enthusiastic eye. The audience that comes to see the production is drastically different from that of an ordinary theatre – after all, the performance is not played on the theatre stage but in a trendy youth club. And the stylistics is also different – The River reminds a nice, semi-amateur venture. The River is a modern fairy tale in which one militiaman starts off wandering and another one begins understanding the language of plants and animals, a vagabond philosopher is able to bring all together, a hat has a talk with humanized butterflies, lovers quarrel and reconcile, a cat confesses, and where a tree can help people and even instructs them on the right path. Paperny’s performance is a modern tongue-in-cheek amateur-looking piece based not only on charming songs but a simple idea that all characters as well as all spectators are carried somewhere by the beautiful and unknowable river of life. One has to trust this feeling and forget for an hour and a half about modern trends of theatre art, progressive directing, fashion and other lofty matters.