‘Derevenshchik’ Rural-Theme Novelist to the Sound of Electronic Music at TSEKH Theatre

24 May 2021

In St. Petersburg, the Arkhangelsk Drama Theatre will show a play based on the stories of Fyodor Abramov.

The Sarafan, a play directed by Maria Kritskaya based on the stories of Fyodor Abramov, will be presented on May 25 at the TSEKH theatre in St. Petersburg. The touring was planned last year as part of the centenary of Fedor Abramov, but due to the epidemiological situation, it was postponed.

The script of the play is composed of the stories “To Petersburg for a Sarafan”, “What Horses Cry About”, “Old Women” and some recordings from the collections “Were-Weren't” and “Trava-Murava” (Lowgrass).

The story is a little fantastic. Imagine that a writer gets a chance to return to where he lived and worked. And again he sees everything that was close to him ... Every detail, every place reminds him of what happened here. Every corner, every hut speaks to him. The voices of the people he saw and what they told him about come to life. All this seems to glimpse through the thickness of time and sound anew.

The story is about voices that would like to be heard but were not. Or they were heard long ago but forgotten, even though they are relevant now. These are the voices that Abramov managed to capture in his books, essays, notes and diaries, but which today would be desirable to be heard in a new way.

Maria Kritskaya paid special attention to sound techniques. The play seems to be super-musical, but Maria herself called it “noise”. Because the melody here is not created by instruments: the ringing of bells and the echoing clatter of wooden bars beating against each other, the murmur of milk pouring from the jar, the noise of a hammer, folk songs and lamentations of village women. All this is heard muffled, barely perceptible, like a whisper from a dream, then it becomes clearer, closer.

“The author's heart is in the countryside. And his thoughts are taking on a huge, oceanic scale. We are talking about the Russian soul, what is happening to it and what is around it – where does it end? We are talking about the vastness of the Land. The Arkhangelsk land is also vast, with villages scattered over a large area. Russian people live and walk on this immense land, entering into a dialogue with space. The universe should become an interlocutor for us, and it cannot but be one, because in the village every person enters into this conversation with the stars, coming out into the sky in the evening. And, besides, we all make a wish for a shooting star. Even in the most hopeless situation. And we believe. And when will horses have a good life? (read: not just “horses”) We don't know. That the characters in the play, and that we - do not come to any logical conclusion. Life goes on with new people, and the leaving ones become clumps of dots. Without the final outcome,”- Maria Kritskaya.

The play is the result of the laboratory of young directors “Rybny Oboz” (Fish Carts) (the author is Andrei Timoshenko, the chief director of the theatre), which Arkhdrama performed for the second time in the summer of 2019.

The premiere of the play took place on February 28, 2020.