OTMOROZKI (THE SCUMBAGS)The Seventh Studio, Moscow
Ten years ago, Kirill Serebrennikov was called a rebel and a grave-digger of the Russian Theatre. Today he teaches at the Moscow Art Theatre school studio and his students are members of the Seventh Studio - according to the tradition, started by Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko, the Art Theatre acquires studios to pour new wine into old wineskins. The first professional studio performance is based on the prose by Zahar Prilepin and the stories written down by the students according to the words of radical organization members. The performance characters are guys, whose childhood coincided with the collapse of the USSR, their growing up fell on the bandit nineties; now the guys go into the square to fight for justice. The first word in this performance is "Revolution!" The set design is based on metal wire police blocking. Together they create a credible image of today's Russia, standing on the threshold of new changes. The authorities are on one side of the police barricades today, and not only the "otmorozki" ("scumbags"), but also the intelligentsia, who gave them this derisive name yesterday, are on the other side.
"This performance is a complete portrait of protest consciousness. A collective portrait of people who desperately feel the untruth and know that it is not the right way to live, but do not understand clearly how to live”.
from Kirill Serebrennikov's interview, Izvestia Newspaper
It is a complicated in its design but extremely clear and highly politicized theatrical construction where Serebrennikov harshly speculates about his (our) country, modern history, the drained post-Soviet man. About Motherland without soil …The scene is laid in a poorly lit hangar. There is no scenery. Void. Only whitened protective grilles. The common Moscow Interior — there are a lot of such grills in metro stations, crossings; they fence off the space where the "dissenting" and "otmorozki" rally. They are like the pale face of Russia, pierced by total unfreedom. The audience may perceive these pieces of iron in two ways: as part of the urban environment, a new architectural look of the capital, and as part of a visual installation, the stage world "drawings". Serebrennikov's grills, through which he "draws" the live performance pictures, embody the modern Moscow-police culture. These ugly pieces of iron turn out to be remarkably versatile stage material. They - together with the enclosure for protesters, the hospital beds and tables, and the walls of the bunker, and the benches. The grills are there to jump over, to beat with, to make love on. The Grills is our response to the IKEA transformer comfort.
While working at the OTMOROZKI the actors, students of Kirill Serebrennikov's workshop, interviewed the representatives of all youth movements, from the Kremlin adepts , called "Nashi" ("Ours") to National Bolsheviks. But to say that the production of the play by Serebrennikov and Zahar Prilepin is about the revolution phantom, wandering around the planet and arriving at our borders, is almost to say nothing. This is part of Serebrennikov's epic utterance about his home country: there Saltykov-Shchedrin. Presnyakov brothers, the old comedy by Ostrovsky, and the new novel by Dubovitsky all are transformed into graphic and mathematically consistent performances, where like in a dissembled clock mechanism one can see all the cogs, making Russia move. So, in the OTMOROZKI there comes the scene of a terrible Russian funeral seemingly unfit for the stage from the novel "Sankya", and the squabble of Zhilin's two adult neighbors in the hospital ward becomes a ridiculous and timeless metaphor of the "dialogue art " in Russia.