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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Gogol entered the inclusive theatre

Little like a girl, Agafya Tikhonovna, bright pink curls and her dress is torn among healthy suitors. The main contender for her little heart — Podkolesin, Ivan Kuzmich — a guitar strumming an old song about the appearance of the white birch, the maple is in love. And in parallel with them the interpreter signs the hall the immortal text of the play Gogol on sign language. So fond Connection” presented on the small stage of Theatre of Nations “Marriage”. Attempts to connect professional and inclusive theatre observed observer “MK”.

Svetlana Asanova (Agafya) helps Arina Latushko. Photo: Nikolay Germanov

Director Mikhail Feigin on stage just two musicians and three professional actor, whose partners are (attention!) two hearing, one deaf-blind (glasses with thick glass Windows), two with the disease trisomy (down syndrome), one mental, and one has no legs and hands. It begins with Gogol’s “Marriage”. Alexander Pokhil’ko behind the large glass that stands on the back of the stage, draws Petersburg. Yes, it draws from white paint, pre-coated on the glass, just the newly-fallen snow, slowly show through Isaac, river Moika and Fontanka?), hump bridges. The man in the orange jumpsuit makes it so cleverly that shall pierce thee terrible idea — because an artist doesn’t have hands. But he somehow, inexplicably, the two jaws washes out the glass, he has a great sense of form, composition, and, as it turns out, after half an hour when he will come out ahead, there is also a voice — he sings. And after the performance, I also become aware that he has a will to live inhuman: in his illness, Alexander made the ascent of the Kilimanjaro. Other artists biographies more modest, but here they are on an equal footing — they are artists, they play in the play.

How to play? This question is very delicate, because on stage not only that the Amateurs, but also people with physical features, which I think with the pain. And if you tell the truth, at first in a hall more than a curiosity, as something exotic. But gradually these people removed their existence to the word “condescension”, hanging in the air. Moreover, the Director Feigin wrote to them such a construction, both painted the score of the play that, on the one hand, they always err: works with each backup, which leads the artist and in parallel for the hearing impaired, the hall of audience, doing sign language interpretation. Secondly, the pace, the techniques, the use of laconic decorations of transparent plastic to create the density of the play, not allowing pauses and sagged in action. Very saturated effective number of despite the fact that, for obvious reasons, the text shortened, the artists probably would not have mastered it in full. There is some humor and, most importantly, manifest individuality. If Svetlana Asanova (Agafya), Sergey Pekarski (Anuchkin) and Nikita Panich (Stepan) have stage experience in the Theater innocent”, Daniel butts (Podkolesin) debutant, but very interesting. As Nadezhda Golovan (matchmaker), and Alexander Monich (scrambled Eggs). And of course that was directed to organically integrate them into the professional environment. In this he was greatly helped artists Rustam Akhmadeev (in the role of Kochkarev), Gleb Gervaziev, sign-language interpreters Maria Rumyantseva (also hearing impaired) and Pavel Mazaev, musicians from the ensemble Pokrovsky — Elena Sergeeva and Sergey Zhirkov.

After the show I discussed the intricacies of inclusive theatre and the specifics of working in it with Director Mikhail Feigin.

— Michael, did you first work in inclusive theatre, with a special, one might say, actors?

— Yes, for the first time. Once I went to a performance at the Theatre of simple-minded” and thought, “it would be Good with them Gogol to do!” And when last year there was such offer, I remembered everything and agreed.

— Why Gogol?

— The writer, the character, and the characters of his strange. We know that all came out of Gogol’s “the Overcoat” and Dostoevsky, and others.

— How artists were looking for? Was there a casting call?

— He was casting, we helped him to carry out different funds. Agafya Tikhonovna, Anuchkin and Stepan from “simple-minded Theater”. The rehearsals began in October, and in December showed the sketch of the play at the Cultural forum in St. Petersburg, about a half hour. And then another, and at the Theatre of Nations. In February he returned to rehearsals; in total, around 2.5–3 months left.

— Before you worked with professional artists, and this is a special case… what is the difference, what are the specifics — as with children or?..

— I work with a psychologist Natalya Gusarova, helped Kate Magicka — the actress “Lenkoma”, she is a lecturer at specialized Academy. First of all, we were from them. Each of our artist — you saw it on the show — there’s your double, you might say, conductor; had planned initially, and it proved to be quite Gogol’s direction. It is a pity that Inna Sukharevskaya, which was a great pair of our Agafya, had gone — she had in the other theatre was the production of the play. It successfully replaced Arina Latushko.

In the theater, in the words of Michael Chekhov, all against the background of love. Patience is needed everywhere, but here especially, and this is a test of true love. To gather their attention can be difficult, but it is impossible for them to be offended, to pinch. They children are very biased, so that only with love and sincerity…

— What you as the Director gave this work? And if you remain in this particular theater?

— This job is challenging and interesting, and I really gave a lot, but maybe I still don’t understand everything. Were startling discoveries: they go to the contact selfless, ready for anything and know how to be grateful. Disputes was less than that of professionals. The impact was, if you like, superhuman. And then it’s a different language — polyphonic.

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