The comedy A MAN FROM PODOLSK was written by the Russian novelist Dmitry Danilov, who wrote a number of well-known books, including some that describe the author’s journeys around small and – as may seem to the lazy tourist – unremarkable towns. Danilov’s debut in playwriting was hugely successful: his play participated in festivals and laboratories, and has been staged at Russian theatres.

The story about an average citizen of the Russian Federation, who is put under pressure by cultured and educated policemen to bring him to his senses and make him love his motherland, hit the core of the today’s rift in society. The police (or the cops) is the most popular target for criticism. Few people are prepared to back those whose shoulder straps are identified with violence and the use of inhuman means of suppressing freedom. However, the cops in A MAN FROM PODOLSK read the Structuralists and go to concerts of the German industrial group Einstürzende Neubauten. But most importantly, the reflexive, slightly depressive her in Ugarov’s production stages in the spirit of doc-theatre’s very own naturalism makes us think about the meaning of the concept of “patriotism,” which stands at the centre of today’s fights. The thirty-something-year old man, who commutes every day from Moscow’s suburbs into the centre, has no piety before the prefab-blocks in some southern Autonomous District, but he loves Amsterdam. The local police gently but firmly explains to him that it is possible to see the charm in any urban landscape. He confronts the audience with a choice: to love the homeland after all as it is, or not.

Kristina Matvienko
Dmitry Danilov

A man from Podolsk

Teatr.doc, Moscow
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2018
Directors: Mikhail Ugarov, Igor Stam
Set designer: Olga Kovalyova