Praktika Theatre, Moscow, Russia, 2008
Author: Ivan Vyrypayev
Directed by Viktor Ryzhakov
about the production
“The house has burnt out and in the house two dogs. One of them – a black bitch, bastard and the other one – an Alsatian, half a year old. I had them in a shed, they were shut in order to prevent them from escaping until I would finish the fence around the house, there were only approximately five metres of the wire left to finish it, but suddenly there was the fire, the house burnt out in twenty minutes like a cardboard box, as well as the shed, the dogs, the whole property had I acquired for years, the documents, the money, all my plans for the future, all of this turned into grey ashes, nothing was left, only me and July in the middle of which the cruel and stupid incident happened to me. Be damned you monstrous July, be damned for ever, you, July!”
The opening passage of ”the text for the presentation” (as playwright Ivan Vyrypaev named it) describes the early stage, starting point, reason and starting mechanism of the getting mad of one pensioner. Then follows an uneasy and horrible succession of his murders and then his staying in a repulsive “funny farm”, a succession in form of a monologue, sometimes illogically and frantically turning to be a dialogical “quasi-monologue”. On the first sight this Vyrypaev´s monodrama provokes by bringing a story of a mass murderer. Nevertheless, the author is aware of the limits of this provocation: can we shock people in theatres by a character of a mass murderer – mad old man - when there are children murdered in schools today? And therefore the author plays with the style and possibilities of the genre. July is a brave formal experiment with the genre of monodrama using the view and thinking of a mad person in creating the structure of the text. Almost an empty stage is as if autistically immaculately divided into sectors and the playwright strictly dictates in which sector has the actress to utter a particular passage of the text.
Ivan Vyrypaev has inclined to monologues since the beginning of his work. His characters, if there were more of them in a play, did not communicate between themselves but they rather communicated somewhere between the earth and the heavens or they addressed their words directly to the audience what was caused by a strong metaphoricality and symbolism of the used language. It is not for the first time and it is not a coincidence either that Vyrypaev brings the character of an ill man who acts in a furore, who is psychologically flat broken and a social outcast. In the play Dreams it were young drug-addicts living in a community, in the play entitled Genesis No.2 it is a mentally ill woman, in the Oxygen it is a young man who murdered his wife. The people from the margins are very often left with the only way of expressing themselves, a monologue. And that automatically turns into a dialogue with our conscience and personal morals. Even though Vyrypaev himself is avoiding moralizing and evaluation of anything and anybody. As if he did not have time for such a thing – his text passes in crazy speed, it is uncontrollable stream of speech, thoughts and memories. His characters are forced out of their certainties, he leaves them to sin, he allows them to break the rules, to blaspheme, to harm, to suffer and to die in the end. Without any comment, without any word of compassion, very simply and, in fact, cruelly ordinary. In this lies the current feature of his expression and the appealing of his plays reflecting the cruelty not only of the Russian reality but of the whole world in general.
After a great European success of Oxygen (Divadelná Nitra 2005) Ivan Vyrypaev twofold fulfilled the expectations of Russian critics – in theatre by the production of July, which text is by many critics considered one of the most exceptional texts of Russian drama of the new millennium (prestigious awards at festivals Golden Masque and New Drama, presentations in abroad, e.g.: Wienner Festwochen 2008), and by his film debut Euphoria (awarded at the Venetia Film Festival).
For this success, the name – Ivan Vyrypaev is known not only to Russian theatre specialists. Director Viktor Ryzhakov proved his modesty in directing already in some productions made in the tandem with Vyrypaev (Oxygen, Genesis No. 2, July). His as if “playing the second violin” is in perfect harmony with Vyrypaev´s poetics. July is a plain and pure production and its excellence lies in the primary theatrical combination: perfect text / perfect directing / perfect actress.
directed by Viktor Ryzhakov
costumes: Margarita Ablayeva
sound: Kirill Vasilenko
lighting: Natalya Savelyeva
cast: Polina Agureyeva
Viktor Ryzhakov (1960)
He studied at the Department of Directing and Acting at the B. V. Shchukin Theatre School. From 1991 he worked at the Moscow Theatre of Young Audience. In 1993 he was the artistic director of the First Festival of Independent Theatres “Theatre in Searching of Audience” in Sochi, in 1995 – 2001 he worked as the artistic director of the Theatre of Drama and Comedy in Kamchatka. With the actors of the Kamchatka Theatre he presented project “Karaul no8” in 2000 and presented it at festivals in Edinburgh, Los Angeles, Tbilisi, Lodž etc. From 2000 he teaches at the Department of Acting of the V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko School at the MCHT of A. P. Chekhov. In 2002 he became one of the founders and leaders of the A. M. Volodin Theatre “Five Evenings” in St. Petersburg. He is a holder of the National Award Golden Masque, the main prize of the International Festival Kontakt in Torun, the main prize of the New Drama Festival in Moscow, a holder of the Golden Horse bonus for best directing, the Theatre of the 21st Century bonus. He works in a close partnership with Ivan Vyrypaev – he directed his plays Oxygen, Genesis No. 2, Valentine´s Day, July.
Script of the production: SK
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