Max black or 62 ways of supporting the head with a hand

Stanislavsky Electrotheatre, Moscow
Presented in the frame of Russian Case
Based on notebooks of Paul Valery, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Max Black

Director: Heiner Goebbels
Age category 18+

The performance is a Russian version of Heiner Goebbels’s production and his only work in Russia. Originally, MAX BLACK was presented at the Theatre de Vidy, Lausanne (Switzerland) in 1998, and has toured the world for many years. The Stanislavsky Electrotheatre presents the production with the original set design and sound score, which was renewed jointly with Russian sound technicians and composer-improvisator Vladimir Gorlinsky.

The actor Alexander Panteelev from the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre plays the main and only role of the physicist Max Black, who is concocting ideas at his laboratory and reflecting on the nature of human intellect. Panteleev’s character, who is conducting pyrotechnical experiments in real time and setting out logical paradoxes before our eyes, is an equal “element” in the engineering of the performance, where sound, light, props, mics, micro-blasts and verbal acrobatics with the texts of the great thinkers work together as cogs in a smoothly running clock mechanism. Heiner Goebbels does not request us to watch all “participants of the ensemble”. In his book Aesthetic of Absence, issued by Stanislavsky Electrotheatre publishing house “Theatre and its Diary” Goebbels talks of the principal incongruity of elements instead of the desired “entity”. The chain reaction of heterogeneous values in MAX BLACK is arranged in such a way that the enounced text gives rise to a physical experience and the investigation to an inimitable soundtrack which, in turn, organizes the choreography and the movement of the actors. One of the themes of the production is time itself – its resource, productivity and uselessness.

The production took part in the main programme of the 7th International Theatre Olympiad in Wroclaw in the autumn 2016 and is nominated for the Golden Mask Award 2017 in the category of «Innovation».

Kristina Matvienko