Et Cetera Theatre, Moscow
Director Vladimir Pankov

Vladimir Pankov continues the medical theme, which he first explored in Doc.Tor. But this time he is interested in the classics, a tale by Mikhail Bulgakov about the life and death of a provincial doctor who got addicted to morphine. Bulgakov’s tale takes place in the tough times of the Revolution, but Pankov is not interested in the historical background of the story. Morphia is a vivid and ingenious show that consists of spectacular transformations of people and space. Zinc-ware and wooden benches, musical instruments and tubes with lusted poison, musicians and a male choir that turns first into the country-folk and then into doctor Polyakov’s patients, then into tempters and into the characters of his nightmarish hallucinations – everything in the performance turns into a machine. This machine seems wondrous and frightening at the same time – people’s gestures and acoustic paradoxes are the shots that needle into the doctor’s body and change his consciousness.

It is the first time that Pankov deals with a classical text.

Pankov didn’t brush Bulgakov aside, but he wasn’t frightened of the classic in any respect and faced him with bravery. One might say with reckless bravery.’
Marina Zayonts, Itogi

Alexey Chernyh plays classical behaviour of a morphine addict with documental accuracy. Beside him there are two women. One is a phantasmagoria of his unrequited love performed by the magnificent singer Oksana Kornievskaya… Her arias from Verdi’s Aida haunt the young doctor Polyakov, like they used to haunt the doctor and writer Mikhail Bulgakov. The other one, Anna Kirillovna, a medical assistant, is played by Tatiana Vladimirova
Alyona Karas, Russkaya Gazeta

In the prologue young doctor Polyakov sits on the empty stage dressed in modern jeans and a red jersey. In the end only clothes lie on the stage, but there is no body – not because it was exhausted by injections and dissolved into nothingness; rather, it seems to have split into words and sound that ran off, melting away through the cracks.
Roman Dolzhansky, Kommersant

By the way, let’s talk about the liberties Mr. Pankov takes with music. He rearranged Verdi to be played on an accordion and Sergei Rodiukov – Pankov’s faithful brother-in-arms – boldly bashes out themes from Aida.
Marina Raikina, Moskovsky Komsomolets