I AM FREEpost theatre
Directed by Dmitry Volkostrelov
Pavel Priazhko’s play is "written" in pictures - or rather, in photos which he took in Belarus with a run-of-the-mill camera. There are 13 standard, everyday inscriptions attached to the pictures: "This was taken from the second floor" or "I am in the next one". In fact, somebody, but not the playwright Priazhko, is in the following picture. Through his actions, Priazhko moves towards anonymity, explores the relationship between the subjective and the objective, and makes sure that the privilege of "being an artist" can belong to anyone with a laptop or a camera to hand.
Through the lens of his camera, Priazhko sees the upholstery of a bus carrying a girl to a boarding house, then - the interiors of the boarding house and the view from the window, a cold grey beach, pools, modest meals, rushing pedestrians, a park with ugly statues, someone's dog. There is always an invisible observer, standing and walking behind a discrete series of quite ordinary, but expressive pictures. He belongs to the world, it’s only the license plates, telephone codes, and finally, the astronomical price for a sofa which point to the fact that it is present day Belarus. And we have a rare opportunity in the theatre to forget about the author and think a bit about reality, all the more so because the only performer in I AM FREE is Volkostrelov himself, showing us slides of these melancholy pictures taken by Priazhko.
I have stated many times that I prefer dealing with texts that challenge me, as a director. I like working with documentary text structure that at first sight seems impossible to find a theatrical equivalent for. In this sense, the new play by the Belarusian playwright Pavel Pryazhko challenges by completely revokes all traditional rules of theatrical action.
The text of the play I AM FREE consists of 535 pictures and 13 captions to them. As required by the playwright, these images are projected onto the screen, and each of them is given just seven seconds of projection. The frames appear on the screen in a strict sequence fixed by the playwright, to form a complete, albeit non-verbal plot - or rather, several separate stories that can be easily deducted by an attentive viewer.
The performance of post theater is an absolutely modern art phenomenon, brought to ultimate clarity of form, idea and purpose. It is such a target theatre, a changeling, a denying theatre, balancing on the brink of audience’s patience.
The New Times
Reality is boring, reality is ugly, but it is the most interesting thing for an artist. The audience burns with impatience: because it is told nothing, and shown almost nothing. It is only taken as a partner of the experiment of measuring the time and the space of our present day life.