Pavel Pryazhko


The Joseph Beuys Theatre, Moscow
Director Filipp Grigorian

A youth comedy about childhood as a systemic error

Director Philipp Grigorian usually stages wordless plays, while the opposite can be said about Belarusian author Pavel Pryazhko who experiments with language. The play written by Pryazhko and directed by Grigorian is performed on the stage at the Centre for Modern Dance, which means that the audience is unusual – alternative, young people with different outlooks. The play manages to unite everyone into a single audience as it addresses childhood, a theme common to everyone.

The plot is simple: kids at a summer camp. In line with camp tradition, the kids call forward a gnome. When the gnome appears the kids feed him sweets. But later they find out that it was not a gnome but a real person from a neighbouring village.

People are comfortable with the idea that childhood is the most wonderful time. The playwright and director put forward the suggestion that this is a myth akin to ancient times. The young actors in the play resemble the selection of bygone Spartans, the leader a nymph and the old nanny – blind fate.

This myth is being considered but discredits itself. At first sight, the kids appear to learn life but in reality from birth they are just primitive copies of adults. They are crude humans that spout banal thoughts and perform clichéd actions. Killing the child in yourself is to set off on your own meaningful path. “Childhood is a complete deceit.” Fortunately, the authors do not dramatize their point, on the contrary, the playwright dresses it up in the form of a comedy, and the director stages it as a bright and expressive show.

Elena Kovalskaya

They had to meet in the theatre these two trendsetting young men, from Minsk, playwright Pavel Pryazhko and Moscow actor and director Philipp Grigorian. One is studying verbal magma as a subject of ritual and convention, the other the mechanism of psychic reaction as expressed in gestures. For both of them the system of plastic and real language represents a sphere of painful and deeply psychological reflection inspired by Lacan or Deleuze… Philipp Grigorian not only performs Pryazhko’s play but also the language. He plays the very essence of Pryazhko’s talkative characters, who have in fact long ago been taken captive by the dead, meaningless language…

Alyona Karas,
RG (Rossiskaya Gazeta)