Sergei Korobkov


Theatre of Nations, Moscow
Director Andrei Zholdak

This is the second Moscow production of the well-known Ukrainian director Andrey Zholdak, who has earned a reputation for provocations and for breaking theatre taboos. His story of Phedre takes place in a Soviet health centre of Stalin’s times – “Zolotoi Kolos” (Golden Ear), where the wife of an important military leader arrives. She fancies herself to be the very queen from the classical myth who falls in love with her stepson. Zholdak’s production is an excruciating dream and at the same time it is a psychological experiment. The director’s imagination brims over – an experienced spectator can find references to the imaginative work of European theatrical culture, starting from Robert Wilson to Frank Castorf, or even to Andrey Zholdak himself. Nevertheless this production adds much to the well-known image of the director: Zholdak proves that he can both discover new actors and work with them. In any case, the work of Maria Mironova, who valiantly performs the main character, will be remembered for a long time – not merely because of the expressive video images, but thanks to the actress’s utmost physical and emotional concentration.

The floor is molded. The graveyard’s damp soil steals the actors’ voices. There is dark water at the spectators’ feet with two small wooden boats afloat – they are Charon’s. A deadly, agonizing space forces its ugliness upon everything. … transparent plastic screens resemble more of a laboratory for rats than Ancient Greece or Stalin’s luxurious rest-home. Rats ate the first things that were seen at the beginning. A small camera hidden inside the little “rathouse” on the proscenium transmits the agony of the animals treated with electric shocks…
Alyona Karas, Russkaya Gazeta

A scream on the verge of human limits. They shout for real, they use microphones, they amplify the sound with an electric guitar… The chunking of metal doors off-stage is very intimidating. A real carp, although frozen, is ripped to pieces on stage with a real huge knife.
Grigory Zaslavsky, Nezavisimaya Gazeta

The actors are almost always followed by the cameraman, who transmits the close-ups onto a big screen above the stage.

…every pore, the quivering of a lip, a sudden tear rolling down the cheek – everything is clearly visible.
Viktoria Nikiforova, Vse Yasno

Photos © Vladimir Lupovskoy