The Theatre of Reciprocal Actions is an association of the artists Alexei Lobanov, Ksenia Peretrukhina, Shifra Kazhdan, as well as playwright Natalia Borenko and producer Alexandra Mun who joined them. They came up with THE ALIEN INVASION MUSEUM as a puppet and drama show, inclusive of performance and museum, where the audience can not only participate but also be emotionally and physically involved.
Their project takes the genre of mockumentary – a fictional story which is presented as documentary. The mythology of the Museum is as follows: in 1989, aliens visited one of the villages of the Tomsk region. Unlike in “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells, which the Museum’s founders refer to (obviously fouling the trail), their visit was peaceful. However, possessed by fear and in the grip of disasters and famine, the Soviet people did not give the enemy an inch of their native land. The harder the aliens tried to demonstrate their friendliness, the more aggressive the inhabitants of the Tomsk region became.
The first room of the exposition, which must be visited in scary darkness and accompanied by a guide with a torch, contains not at all artifacts of the extraterrestrial civilization, but the material world of that distant era, from the “Nauka” (Science) journal to a long necklace of darkened amber – an indispensable decorative item of Soviet women.
In the second room you are invited to take a look at a model of the village at the moment of the invasion. Once you have been seated around a table with minute houses and miniature soldiers, you watch the deployment of the rapid reaction forces and the odd obsession with which the villagers and troops destroy the defenseless objects. If you are asked to mold one of them from plasticine, do not refuse: you will experience a tenderness that the intimidated Soviet people were never able to afford.
The Theatre of Reciprocal Actions devotes its performance to reflections on the nature of this intimidation and unfriendliness, or even xenophobia. In the finale, you walk alone along a long narrow corridor to the location where, in a small bottle, the single surviving alien shimmers in an intangible space typical of a museum. The rest disintegrated under the influence of excessive solar radioactivity, which really occurred in 1989. What do you seem to see in the blinking of this bottle? Perhaps this will be your personal salvation from xenophobia.
Ksenia Peretrukhina, one of the group’s chief ideologists, says: “The performance is designed for 25 spectators. This matters. I am convinced that humanity will be saved one at a time. I think this is now the right format for art. It’s the personal contact with everyone – you are walking alone along the blue corridor.”
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2018
Directors: Shifra Kazhdan, Lyosha Lobanov, Ksenia Peretrukhina