Alexander Dukhnovich Theatre, Prešov, 2017
Author: Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky
Directed by Braňo Mazúch
about the production
Dostoyevsky adapted by Chekhov. Fyodor Mikhailovich appropriated by Anton Pavlovich under the influence of the Rusyn ‘creative industry’. Radical analysis, coarse acting, painful eclecticism. Garden parties of internal apocalypse. Self-deception and impotence at a family get-together. There is no time to pause. There is no time for order. There is no time for refined articulation. There is no time for rigour.
The characters cast in the novel Demons are distant, inaccessible and terrifyingly unfathomable. The characters in the production Possesed are near, palpable and unfathomably terrifying. The production begins as though from nothing, both the audience and the actors come and leave, look for their places; they are on the same stage, as though they were at the same time confused and homely, surprised and in the know. The chaotic tuning of musical instruments almost unnoticeably turns into music and the disorderly teeming of human mass into a story. The audience observe the performance together with the actors who are not performing, the audience and actors observe the audience who sit opposite to them; the background of individual scenes always consists of others, who can be spectators, who can be actors, who can be dead or alive according to the rules of the story, who are either present or absent according to the dramaturgical arrangement; the others are always the set pieces, those in front of whom, for whom, instead of whom all this happens. Frankly, it is all broken up, spread out among us. We and the audience are the actors. That strange feeling of complicity, conspiracy, com- munity is the basis of this creative concept.
A fashion show of hatred, a wretched beauty contest, a search for destructive talents plays out among the spectators. The incessant entry into and exit from individual scenes, the mercilessly repeating all of a sudden and again, situations that only have a middle, and for that reason are ruthless amoebas, the everyday placed in the middle of a black hole; characters arise and fade away, they continue without a beginning and end without notice.
Dostoyevsky’s demonic, haunting and suffocating Russia is refashioned on stage by director Braňo Mazúch according to the model of von Trier’s film Dogville into a Dostoyevskyville, it is a place equally haunting and suffocating, but one that lacks the demonic depth. Compared to boundless, infinite Russia, Dostoyevskyville is a confined space, the road leads nowhere out, only inside. Infinity is to be found only in the eyes of the characters, but instead of liberating themselves, they impose more and more restraint upon themselves – after all, they are afraid of nothing as they are of themselves. The inhabitants of this unpleasant community form no secret society, they do not gather for the purpose of redeeming the nation, they are the wretched phantoms of immaturity. Adolescents who crave to be loved by everyone. They do not form a society, but rather scrounge for love together, beg for attention, plead for acknowledgment, pray for importance, engage in emotional blackmail. In Dostoyevskyville, there is no devilishness and metaphysics, there is only a robust compensation of sickly vulnerability. The succession of emotional mishaps is merely an indemnity for the damages of internal self-destruction. The truth is on the iris.
In Dostoyevskyville, just as in Dogville, there are no physical walls, everything is apparently clear and transparent. The walls are in the head. If everyone keeps gazing inside, it is no surprise that they notice nothing of the other. Every step is an escape, moving near the other is drawing away from oneself. Confession is self-deception, conversation is a narcotic monologue. Desire, especially of the communal sort, is a diversion of attention from one’s own incapacity. The most dangerous terrorist is unacknowledged fear; the most destructive anarchist is rigorous self-deception.
Anyways, we are lost in a nightmare of gazes. All of us. Possessed by our own possessed.
Prešov-based collective DAD’s adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s Demons offers a sarcastic portrayal of the age of tsarist Russia, but also of contemporary Europe. The chaos of political transformations, suspected and real revolutions serves as a background for the characters’ personal lives, their ability to survive, to manipulate others, as well as for degraded moral standards and inverted values in society. Despite these gloomy themes, the production’s playfulness and humorous poetic saves it from feeling tiring. And the catharsis we expect – hand in hand with Dostoyevsky – arrives at last.
Hana Rodová, kød, April 201
directed by Braňo Mazúch
assistant director: Jozef Pantlikáš
setting: Lenka Rozsnyoová
music: Alessandro La Rocca
dramaturgy: Marek Turošík
translation: Peter Medviď
sound design: Milada Tuptová
light design: Iveta Čellárová, Anton Miščík
characters and cast: Stepan Trophimovich Verchovenskiy: Vasiľ Rusiňák, Varvara Petrovna Stavroginova: Ľudmila Lukačíková, Zuzana Kovalčíková, Liputin: Ladislav Ladomirjak,Ivan Shatov: Ľubomír Mindoš, Alexey Yegorovich: Ivan Stropkovský a. h., Nikolay Stavrogin: Jozef Pantlikáš, Praskovya Drozdova: Svetlana Škovranová, Dasha Shatovova: Miriama Fedorková, Alexey Kirillov: Michal Iľkanin, Liza Drozdovová: Daniela Libezňuk, Mária Timofeyevna Lebiadkinova: Jaroslava Sisáková, Captain Lebiadkin: Eugen Libezňuk, Piotr Stepanovich Verchovenskiy: Michal Kucer, Bishop Tikhon: Jozef Tkáč, Mária Shatovova: Zuzana Kovalčíková
Braňo Mazúch (1971) graduated in directing and dramaturgy at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre of the DAMU in Prague. He worked in many theatres, especially in the Czech Republic and Poland. He directed several productions for the Drama at the West Bohemia Theatre in Cheb, where he was employed as artistic director (W. Shakespeare: The Tempest, J. W. Goethe: Urfaust, M. Maeterlinck: The Blue Bird, N. Machiavelli: The Mandrake). In Klicpera’s Theatre in Hradec Králové, he directed, among others, Schiller’s Maid of Orleans, Shakespeare’s play Love’s Labour’s Lost, and staged Seneca’s Medea and Drábek’s Water Ballerinas at various Polish theatres. He attended directing and choreography workshops in Poland, France and Germany. In 1997 – 2001 and 2012 – 2013, he was external lecturer in directing, dramaturgy and acting at the Department of Alternative and Puppet Theatre at DAMU, where he leads the bachelor’s programme in acting since 2013. Mazúch will appear for the first time at Divadelná Nitra in 2017 with his production Possessed.
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script of the production: SK, EN
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