Arseny Farytiev


Tatar Drama Theatre, Almetievsk
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2021
Director: Anton Fyodorov
“Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors” is a famous Soviet film, in which a parody of capitalism turns into a story about total lies being the basis of the state system. In the KINGDOM OF THE CROOKED director Anton Fyodorov and playwright Arseny Faryatiev compose a strange and somewhat gloomy tale based on the original story. At the very beginning, the main character Olya loses her friend Dima Varlamov and throughout the performance she looks for him. The action takes place in 1929, the year when the writer, journalist, poet and GULAG survivor Varlam Shalamov was arrested for the first time. Shalamov is an important reference for the play, where a lead character’s last name sounds very similar to his (Varlamov – Shalamov). Olya has just entered the University, which resembles both Hogwarts and GULAG. The University is inhabited by characters that are very similar to animals. In the movie, the characters have animal names spelled backwards. At the end of the film the evil characters reverted to animals, whereas in the KINGDOM OF THE CROOKED a gap in the concrete wall swallows up brave little Olya, who has attempted to fight the system. And the names of the repressed will listed on the wall. There is no happy end to this documentary tale, nor was it promised from the very start by the presence of aluminum pots, heavy coats and dark shawls, music by Sofia Gubaidulina and a recognizable mustachioed figure in the corner.

Ksenia Aitova