One more production in our programme has been created upon the initiative of a museum – “The Day Lasts More Than a Hundred Years” based on Chingiz Aitmatov’s prose. This time it’s the Gulag History Museum. Roman Romanov, Museum Director, is the producer of the piece. Besides actors and puppets, authentic museum objects take part in the production, and Aitmatov’s novel, a work of fiction, returns into the realm of history, from which it once came. The document, already quite common for drama and even for opera, speaks the language of puppet theatre perhaps for the first time.
And there is more: sand turns into water, Zaripa the puppet does her laundry in an original metal jug, a true GULAG lamp at an interrogation becomes no less important than the investigator himself. Documentality and document nearly compete with metaphor. Cameras flashes are created by the wave of actors' raised hands – a witty move, making us wonder how believable the photo fixation of any events is.
Stage designer Viktor Nikonenko invented ball-jointed dolls looking very much like people. In the production by directors Anton Kalipanov and Olga Shaidullina (she is also the composer of the piece) action takes place in 1953, and it’s a good occasion to see the difference in scale between puppets and humans, the state and private life. The puppets live their eventful dramatic lives, but at some point actors come onto the enlightened stage, enhancing the effect of this historical drama’s cosmic scale.

Alyona Karas

The day lasts more than a hundred years

Gulag History Museum and Creative Association Taratumb, Moscow
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2018
Based on Chingiz Aitmatov

Directors: Anton Kalipanov, Olga Shaidullina