The Circus

Theatre of Nations, Moscow
Maxim Didenko has for a few years now been working on a big research and art project aimed at re-interpreting and “neutralizing” the Soviet myth. “The Circus” that he has staged at Theatre of Nations isn’t a remake of the famous Soviet comedy movie, in which Marion Dixon (Ingeborga Dapkunaite subtly and skillfully recreates in her performance the features of the Soviet film-star Lyubov Orlova, but also of Marlene Dietrich who Alexandrov had in mind when creating the film) finds herself in a miraculous Country of Soviets, just like Alice finds herself in Wonderland. In this phantasy world all people are azure in colour – from burry Grandpa Lenin (Andrey Fomin), enchanted inventor (Roman Shalyapin) and romantic hero (Pavel Akimkin) to the speaking dog (Danila Rossomakhin, Pavel Rossomakhin). All proportions are violated here: the baby son travelling with Marion is on one occasion frighteningly huge, and on another – reducedshrunk to the size of one’s head thanks to the magic secrets of puppet theatre (the charming Gladstone Mahib); the real monument to Gagarin stands side by side with the never-constructed Palace of Soviets carrying the gigantic statue of the leader on top. Swinging on circus lunges, Mary “flies” not into the skies (as her famous song says), but right into the stratosphere. Turning Alexandrov’s “Circus” into the Centre for Russian Space Research (abbreviated in Russian as “CIRC – the circus” and creating word-play in the title), Maxim Didenko seems to send the USSR itself into a phantasy universe, lost somewhere in space. This gives him and his audience a chance to have a good laugh at the past (even if briefly), the very past that doesn’t want to loosen its tenacious grip.

Alyona Karas
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2018
Director: Maxim Didenko