based on Nikolai Gogol


SounDrama Studio, Moscow
Director Vladimir Pankov

Musicians and actors play Gogol on equal terms.

Vladimir Pankov is an actor, director, musician and composer. SounDrama is the name of his newly-established theatre that brings together a group of musicians and actors. At the same time SounDrama is the name of a synthetic genre which Pankov has been developing for several years.

The musical roots of Pankov and his Pan-Quartet band (accordion, percussion, contrabass and folk wind instruments) lie in Russian folklore. However, the literary foundation for his performances lies in modern, sometimes documentary texts.

The clash of such alien material results in bright originality as in his DOC.TOR production which was part of the Russian Case programme in 2007.

A year ago Pankov turned to the classics. Gogol. Evenings, performed as a trilogy, is based on Gogol’s Ukrainian stories. Before rehearsals started Pankov accompanied by his actors and musicians undertook a journey to remote Ukrainian villages. They collected authentic folk songs, costumes, and utensils for later use in the show’s stage design. In September 2008 the second part of the trilogy based on Gogol’s Sorotchinsky Fair and Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka was released. Pankov is searching for a modern stage equivalent to the fundamental principles of Gogol’s poetics.

The classical comedic plot includes a romance between young lovers, a scheming wicked stepmother, and the intrigues of young village lads helping the lovers to marry. All these factors intermingle with the folk environment, where poetry and mysticism, Christianity and paganism, old-fashioned and modern life are fused. For example, an Orthodox religious procession in the production switches to an old-fashioned fair which in turn becomes a modern market where Gogol’s villagers buy clothes worn by modern city dwellers.
Many contemporary theatre directors try to bring the classics up to date by extracting a modern social meaning from them. Pankov is trying to update the very spirit of folk life which is reflected in Gogol’s stories.

Elena Kovalskaya

In fact, "Gogol. Evenings. Part II" presents something of a battle between the territories of lyrical beauty and syncopated chaos. In Pankov's hands the latter usually holds sway, although the former gets in an occasional lick.
The Moscow times,
John Freedman

Despite the fact that the production is devoted to Gogol’s anniversary, Vladimir Pankov along with his colleagues shows no allegiance to the classic. Starting with the classical text they craft their own Dikanka on top of it. Everything occurring on the stage resembles a long-winded dream filled with strange images: the bride dressed in white is pacing around in a harness; her fiancé is covered in fur from top to toe on a hot summer day. The illusory impression intensifies due to the numerous repetitions of one and the same phrases, cut up and echoed by one couple to another.
Marina Shimadina