Andrey Moguchy, an engineer by first higher education (Leningrad Institute of Aeronautical Instrument Engineering, Faculty of Radar Systems, 1984), graduated from the Leningrad Institute of Culture in 1989 (Department of Stage Direction and Dramatics). In 1990, he founded an independent theater group called the Formal Theater. At the same time, he had been teaching at the Humanitarian University of Trade Unions at the Department of Theater Arts. Since 2004, Andrey Moguchy is Production Director at the Alexandrinsky Theater. He is Laureate of the GOLDEN MASK National Theater Award; the GOLDEN SOPHIT, the top St. Petersburg theater award; numerous international theater festival awards. In 2001, the Formal Theater lead by Andrey Moguchy became the first Russian company honored with the Fringe First, the major prix of the Edinburg Festival.
People started talking about Andrey Moguchy and his Formal Theater right after their strange and unusual performances had appeared. Their radical approach to the text, daring and always unusual game with the space and the unpredictable choice of the site for each next performance aroused bewilderment. Their provocative and mocking “Bald Singer” by E. Ionesko led public into the endless expanse of the newly constructed remote housing districts of Leningrad. And the ghostly, mystical “Petersburg” after A. Bely’s novel was performed in the interiors of the old St. Petersburg mansions. The walls that have been carefully protecting Petersburg secrets of the old times were turned into luxurious decorations of this extravagant show. The Director as if had been traveling through the times playing with spaces – be that the picturesque gallery of the Mukhina Art School (former Baron Stieglitz’ mansion), or Zubov mansion of the Institute of the History of Arts, or the halls of the Theater Museum (the former Imperial Theater Directorate) with its outlandish artifacts and portraits of great impersonators.
Later on, in the early 1990s, Moguchy and the Formal Theater, alike Anton Adasinsky and the “Tree,” Vadim Mikheyenko and his Terra Mobile, brought together the most diverse people: actors, musicians, artists, acknowledged and unacknowledged “genii,” “city madmen,” and idle Scenesters striving to join the theater avant-garde. People could see new forms of art in Moguchy’s performances: a “territory of freedom” where any incredible experiments were possible. Unlike most of the groups that appeared in the 1990s on the wave of the active studio movement, the Formal Theater had survived after a complicated way through. Since 1995, this theater had participated in international festivals in Germany, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, France, Yugoslavia, Slovenia, etc.
After a plenty of traveling around the world, having made known its shows, performances, and master-classes at numerous European festivals, the theater had found a short-term shelter under the roof of the Baltic House. Andrey Moguchy tried to implement here a broad-scale program of the XXI Century Theater; the summer Sun Turn festival of avant-garde and street theaters became the first stage of it. Gradually, along with direction at his own troupe (“The Two Sisters,” “Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Dead,” “Full for love,” “A Play by Konstantin Treplev ‘People, Lions, Eagles, and Quails’,” “Orlando Furioso” after L. Ariosto, “Hamletmachine” by C. Mueller, “A Bald Singer-2” by E. Ionesko, etc.), director Andrey Moguchy started to produce performances at the Baltic House putting together actors of the “Formal” and “normal,” far-away from the vanguard quests, professional theaters. This way his performance “A Natural Household in Shambala” by A. Shipenko appeared on the big stage, and the “School for Fools” after Sasha Sokolov’s novel appeared in the 91st rehearsal room. The latter was a quiet chamber performance, where major meanings appeared beyond the words, became a dazzling phenomenon of the Petersburg stage in the end of the 20th century. The director saw in Sasha Sokolov’s novel an opportunity to speak about himself and his time, and to contemplate about the elusive reality. Andrey Moguchy was honored with the Golden Sophit, the top theater award of St. Petersburg, for the “School for Fools.” Prior to announcement of the Sophit’s results, Moguchy together with dramatist Yugene Grishkovets had received a grant of the ? International Baltic House Theater Festival. This way had appeared “A Play Which Did Not Exist,” composed of autobiographical monologues of actors engaged in this performance. Shortly after, the Formal Theater had to get away from under the Baltic House’s roof, once again nowhere, just into the “free floating.” At the Alexandrinsky Theater, where they remembered Andrey Moguchy’s ingenious show at the ‘Seagull in Fight’ festival opening (1996) and the brilliant demonstration of Kerstin Specht’s “The Snow Queens” at the Festival of the Modern German Drama at the Alexandrinsky Theater (1999), he was offered a carte blanche. Here again appeared the idea to produce A. Bely’s “Petersburg,” this time with the actors of the Alexandrinsky Theater -- “the stronghold of academism and traditions.” The trip from Petersburg to “Petersburg” took several years; the project had been postponed for a number of various technical reasons. Only in 2004, when Andrey Moguchy became a staff director-producer of the Alexandrinsky Theater, rehearsals of “Petersburg” had begun. On May 27, 2005, this performance had its first night. It had been performed only in the white nights period in the yard and museum halls of Michael’s Castle.
On August 30, 2006, the Alexandrinsky Theater celebrated its 250th anniversary, reopened after a broad-scale restoration and reconstruction. Andrey Moguchy directed the official ceremony of the opening and jubilee of the theater. Along with artist Alexander Shishkin and composer Leonid Desyatnikov he created a festive theater show – grandiose and demonstrating the unique technical capacities of the renovated Alexandrinsky Stage, but ironic and nostalgically sad at the same time. The imperial power of the former and modern Alexandrinsky Theater had now and then been interrupted by ingenious intermissions -- by a mise en scene, or created by actors, or with the help of computer graphics (the artist of video installations was Alexander Malyshev). Pages of the Alexandrinsky Theater’s history were appearing through reconstructed decorations of various theater epochs – from Giuseppe Valeriani to Alexander Golovin, from Mstislav Dobuzhinsky to Alexander Shishkin. Numerous theater quotes taking back to the famous performances of the past could not be escaped. The People’s Artist of Russia Nikolay Marton read the monologue of the World Soul from “The Seagull” that had its failure exactly on this stage. And suddenly would appear a line by another Chekhov’s character – Firs from the “Cherry Orchard,” whom Marton impersonated in 2001 in Roman Smirnov’s performance. Through the whole evening a group of deft “Treplevs” dressed in snow-white tail coats and cylinders operated on the stage alike the “Meyerhold’s Little Moors.” At some time, they would shoot each other in concert and simultaneously fall down of the stage board, or milled around the stage in chain, or helped to move around the plywood figures, or pulled out the huge black cube out of which, right like in a circus, guests would appear to congratulate the heroes of the evening, or, in the epilogue, played golden snowballs that were generously falling out from under the fly-loft. The theater accepted greetings from other former Imperial theaters -- the Bolshoy Theater, the Maly Theater, and the Mariinsky Theater. Alexey Goribol remained at the forte piano through the entire evening; he directed actual musicians hidden from public behind a cartoon orchestra. Not only visual images were present, but voices of actors from old, passed away times, echoed in the hall. Opera, ballet, drama and clownery, lyrics and eccentrics – all genres, “all lives” were joined together in the jubilee performance, which Valery Fokin called a “true theater poem.” When faces of the actors of the past times “floated” through the hall, and the current troupe revealed through the photo of the 1913 troupe, you could see tears on many faces. And the actors from the 1913 picture gave a light bow (miracles of the computer techniques!), greeting and a farewell, to the thrilled audience.
A new performance “The Ivans” directed by Andrey Moguchy in 2007 after N. Gogol’s novel “How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikifirovich” and other stories by Gogol landmarked a new stage in Andrey Moguchy’s creative work, though his principle of working with a literary source remained the same: “The Ivans” are not a staging per say. More likely, this is an attempt to create a “parallel world” accordant with the world of Gogol’s characters. Besides the very text of the novel, abstracts from several writings of the Mirgorod cycle had been used: dialogues from the “Old-Fashioned Landlords,” “Viy,” “Taras Bulba;” in the final part of the performance, actress Svetlana Smirnova is singing a long plangent song in the style of Russian epic bards with the words from the “Deadly Revenge” (composer Alexander Manotskov). Absolutely unrelated theater reminiscences suddenly appear in the performance, up to the legendary Blok’s “Balaganchik” directed by Meyerhold a century ago. With the means of metaphoric poetical theater, Andrey Moguchy had created an adequate stage rhyme (as he did this earlier in “Petersburg,” “School for Fools,” “Between a Dog and a Wolf”). But the artistic manifest in “The Ivans” has got a significantly different scale and a lot more high degree of artistic generalization. Nikolay Pesochinsky has pointed out: “”The Ivans” is an original performance bringing the theater idea of Gogol into the 21st century… This is the end of the world “filled with gags.” I can hardly think of any other composition in the avant-garde of the 20th century that would be so sharply balancing between meaningfulness and principle nugacity of any sense, evocative allegories and show details… Moguchy involved the actors into a surrealistic mystery where Gogol turns into symbolist Andrey Bely, absurdist Egen Ionesko and contemporary myth creator Sasha Sokolov.” (“The Imperia of Drama” ¹ 6, 2007). The performance was awarded with the Russian National Theater Prix Golden Mask. Another quality distinction of “The Ivans” is the musical score of the performance. Music in “The Ivans” plays not a service role but turns into the sense making component. The musical themes have their own dramatic development. Music dictates the rhythm of actors’ existence and special intonation; it creates the spirit of each scene. This striving for mystery and symphonizing revealed itself in the following Andrey Moguchy’s projects. He experimented with various genres of musical theater: "Silenzio. Diana Vishneva” (Evening with ballerina Diana Vishneva, Mariinsky Theater, 2007), “Expectation” (Evening with Oleg Karavaichuk’s music, Smolny Cathedral, 2007); “Boris Godunov” on the basis of A. Pushkin’s text and M. Musorgsky’s opera (Teatr Dramatichny, Warsaw, 2008). This performance was recognized as the best at the All-Poland Competition of the European Classic Literature Performances (Teatralna Inscenizacje Dawnych Dziel Literatury Europejskiej). Production of Alexander Manotskov’s opera “The Golden” after the themes of Russian fairy tales became an attempt to synthesize all theater genres (even if only in the form of a parody). It was presented at the Closing Ceremony of the 15th Russian National Theater Festival “THE GOLDEN MASK” - 2009 on the stage of the Moscow Stanislavsky and Nemirovich Danchenko Musical Theater. Andrey Moguchy combined drama and puppet theaters, opera, ballet and a symphony orchestra, which was playing musical fantasies after musical themes of famous composers from Bach and Mozart to Shostakovich and Prokofiev; he even involved theater critics having engaged Anatoly Smelyansky, prominent Russian theater expert.
Andrey Moguchy’s experiments with synthesis of theater forms are inseparable from his quest of new dramaturgy, capable to indicate the “hurting points” of our time and express them in modern language. A new performance “The Gardeners” after the play of dramatist and artist Maxim Isayev appeared as one of the results of this quest (this was a joint project of the Alexandrinsky Theater, the Formal Theater and the Russian AXE Engineering Theater, 2008). “The Gardeners” are full of references to A. Chekhov’s “Cherry Orchard.” Characters’ contemplations on the sense of life, faith and sufferings (sometimes naïve, sometimes tragic) sound in Andrey Moguchy’s performance as a grotesque, sending us back not only to Chechov’s characters, but also to characters of the theater experiments of the early 20th century.
Presently, Andrey Moguchy is working on a new performance – “Izotov” – based on a play of modern Russian play writer Mikhail Durnenkov “Reservation.” The first night is scheduled for October 2009.
Andrey Moguchy’ productions:
1989 “A Bald Singer” by E. Ionesko (Formal Theater)
1990 “A Game” after S. Beckett’s “End Play” and “Games of Power“ by W. Vogt (Formal Theater)
“Death of a Pioneer Girl” -- participation in the Peace Caravan International School of Street Theaters with an action (Formal Theater);
Laureate of the First St. Petersburg Theater Festival;
Laureate of the Russian Theater Festival (Dagestan, Makhachkala).
1991 “Petersburg” after A. Bely’s novel (Formal Theater)
Participation in the cultural program of the Congress of Compatriots (Russia’s Abroad)
1992 “The Two Sisters” after writings of I. Turgenev (Formal Theater, award for direction at the Third St. Petersburg Theater Festival);
Participation in the “Russian-American theater project. The “Full for love” performance after S. Sheppard’s play appeared in the result of this project; both Russian and American actors took part in this project.
“Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Dead,” T. Stroppard (Formal Theater)
A street show “A Play by Konstantin Treplev ‘People, Lions, Eagles, and Quails’ (Formal Theater)
1993 “Commander” show (The First International Festival of salutes and Fireworks Prometeus-93);
1994 Andrey Moguchy organized the Festival of Liberal Arts;
“ORLANDO FURIOSO” after L. Ariosto’s novel (Formal Theater, IV International Baltic House Theater Festival);
Participation in the BaltScandal-94 International Festival (Rakvere, Estonia);
1995 Participation in the International Baltic House Theater Festival, International Theater Festival of Theater Experiences (Chelyabinsk), Russian Theater Festival of Theater Sensations (under the umbrella of the Amber Necklace Arts Festival in Kaliningrad).
“Fire” live art performance (Harms Festival, St. Petersburg)
In 1995-1997, Andrey Moguchy had been leading a master-class at the dramatic school “DIE ETAGE” (Berlin, Germany). He continued his teaching activities at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts,St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions;
“A Long Christmas Dinner” by T. Wilder (Formal Theater);
Andrey Moguchy participated in the International KukArt Festival of Dramatic Arts (city of Pushkin), Russian Week Theater Festival (Berlin, Germany), International MASK Theater Festival (Szeged, Hungary), International Theater Festival Divadelna Nitra – 95 (Nitra, Slovakia), the International Gulf of Finland Festival of Theater Vanguard (St. Petersburg).
Participated in the seminar of young directors under the guidance of the world-known theater director Krystian Lupa (Poland);
Participated in direction of the opening ceremony of the ‘Seagull in Flight’ Festival (Alexandrinsky Theater);
Took part in organization and holding of the Russian-German Theater and Music Vanguard Festival;
International Theater Festival (Belostok, Poland);
The ArtGenda-96 Festival of Arts under the umbrella of the program “Copenhagen as the 1996 Cultural Capital of Europe” (Copenhagen, Denmark);
UNIDRAM-96 International Theater Festival (Potsdam, Germany);
Tour in Wittenberg (Germany);
MALTA-96 International Theater Festival, the principal program (Poznan, Poland);
XIV International Festival of Street Theaters (Zelena Gura, Poland);
IX International Festival of Street Theaters (Krakow, Poland);
KALINKA International Theater Laboratory-Festival (Potsdam, Germany).
In 1996-97, Andrey Moguchy was invited to the WannseeForum theater festival (Berlin, Germany) as teaching director;
“Hamletmachine” after the plays “Hamletmachine” by Heiner M?ller and “Dismorphomania” by Vl. Sorokin (Formal Theater).
Andrey Moguchy participated in the international “Brecht-Becket-Mueller” theater project (Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany);
“The Bald Singer-2” performance under the umbrella of the Liberal Arts Center’s project “THEATER. XXI CENTURY” with participation of actors of the Formal Theater and the Baltic House (Baltiysky Dom)Theater;
Organized the festival of Andrey Moguchy’s performances;
Became Arts Director of the St. Petersburg Annual Sun Turn Liberal Arts Festival;
Organized the AXE Festival in St. Petersburg;
Participated in the Second International KALINKA Theater Laboratory Festival (Potsdam, Germany).
Andrey Moguchy produced a project together with DeGater’87 Theater (Potsdam, Germany) which resulted into a Russian-German-Polish performance “A School for Fools” after Sasha Sokolov’s writing of the same name;
Participation in the V International UNIDRAM Theater Festival (Potsdam, Germany)
Participation in the International Festival of Theater Experiences (Chelyabinsk);
Organization and holding of the Second Sun Turn International Liberal Arts Festival (St. Petersburg);
Participation in the XVIII International Baltiysky Dom Theater Festival (St. Petersburg)
“A Natural Household in Shambala” by A. Shipenko (Baltic House Festival Theater);
“The Snow Queens” by K. Specht (Alexandrinsky Theater, Festival of the Modern German Drama)
Participation in the XXIV International Festival of Krakow Theatrical Reminiscences (Krakow, Poland);
Participation in the XV International Festival of European Theaters (Grenoble, France);
Participation in the Vilnius Days International Theater Festival (Vilnius, Lithuania);
Participation in the International Arena Festival (Erlangen, Germany);
Participation in the International Theater Festival of the Theater in Non-Traditional Space (Bistrita, Romania);
Organization of the Caravan Festival, the Third Sun Turn International Festival of Liberal Arts (St. Petersburg);
Andrey Moguchy held a master-class in cooperation with dramatist Eugene Grishkovets under the umbrella of the Baltic Circle International Festival (Helsinki, Finland);
“A School for Fools” after Sasha Sokolov’s novel (Baltic House Festival Theater and the Formal Theater);
Participation in the Baltic Circle International Festival of the Baltic countries’ theaters (Helsinki, Finland);
Participation in the International Festival of Free Theaters (Frankfurt on Oder, Germany);
Organized the New Life Festival, the Fourth Sun Turn International Festival of Liberal Arts (St. Petersburg);
Participation in the Unofficial Capital Arts Festival (St. Petersburg);
Participation in the International Festival of Street Theaters (Gdansk, Poland);
Participation in the ALTFEST International Festival (Bistrita, Romania);
Participation in the International Festival of Theater Presentations (Bydgoszcz, Poland);
Organization of the Festival dedicated to the 10th Anniversary of the Formal Theater, (St. Petersburg).
“Die Hamletmaschine” – premiere of the club version of the “Hamletmachine” (Decadence, Saigon, Spartak, Faculty, Manhattan, Mama, Griboyedov, and A Tramp Dog clubs);
“A Centrifuge” (Dmitriy Vorobiev’s one-man show);
“A Play Which Does Not Exist” (together with Eugene Grishkovets, the Baltic House Festival Theater);
“Jacob Lenz” by Wolfgang Rihm (the Formal Theater together with Goethe Institute);
Participation in the International Theater Olympiad (Moscow);
Participation in the Sztyka Ylitsy International Festival of street theaters in Warsaw, Poland, with the performance “People, Lions, Eagles and Quails” (2001)
Participation in the International Fringe Theater Festival in Edinburg, Great Britain, with the “School for Fools” performance, which was honored with the Fringe First Festival Award;
Participation in the BITEF International Theater Festival in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, with the performance “A School for Fools.” The performance was honored with the Grand Prix of the Festival.
Participation in the International Theater Festival BaltScandal (Rakvere, Estonia);
Participation in the International Theater Festival Konfrontacie Teatralne (Lodz, Poland);
Participation in the International Theater Festival BARBICAN (London, Great Britain);
Participation in the Festival of Russian Culture in France (Nice).
Director of the Opening Ceremony and Awards Ceremony at the Golden Mask Festival;
“Boris Godunov” by M. Musorgsky (a Mariinsky Theater project under the umbrella of the Easter Festival on the Sobornaya Square of the Moscow Kremlin).
Director of the Closing Ceremony at the Golden Mask Festival;
“Krakatuk” after E.T.A. Hoffman (Fontanka Circus, St. Petersburg);
“PRO Turandot” after C. Gozzi’s tale (Comedian’s Shelter Theater);
“Between a Dog and a Wolf” after Sasha Sokolov’s novel (Formal Theater and the Arts Factory Theater, Nice).
“Petersburg” after A. Bely’s novel (Alexandrinsky Theater);
“DQ of Lamancha” after Cervantes’ novel “Don Quixote” (Baltic House Festival Theater);
Participation in the International Theater Festival SPAF with the “School for Fools” performance (Seoul, Korea);
Participation in the NET Festival with the performance “Between a Dog and a Wolf” (Moscow).
“Non-Hamlet” after V. Sorokin play “Dismorformania” (Comedian’s Shelter Theater);
Official opening ceremony at Alexandrinsky Theater (2006)
“The Ivans” after N. Gogol’s novel “How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich” and other Gogol’s writings (the Alexandrinsky Theater, First Night on April 10, 2007);
“Silence,” Benefit night of Diana Vishneva (Mariinsky Theater).
1999 – the St. Petersburg Vedomosti newspaper Award at the Baltic House Festival for the performance “A Natural Household in Shambala” by A. Shipenko.
2000 – The Golden Sophit, the top St. Petersburg theater award for the performance “A School for Fools” by Sasha Sokolov.
2001 – The Golden Mask, the top Russian National Award for the performance “A School for Fools” by Sasha Sokolov, nomination of “The Theater Critics’ Award.”
2001 – Grand Prix at the Edinburg Fringe International Theater Festival, the Edinburgh Fringe First Award, for the performance “A School for Fools” by Sasha Sokolov.”
2001 – Grand Prix at the Belgrade BITEF International Theater Festival for the performance “A School for Fools” by Sasha Sokolov.
2004 - The Golden Sophit, the top St. Petersburg theater award for the performance “PRO Turandot.”
2004 - Grand Prix at the Festival of Russian Culture in Nice (France) for the performance “Between a Dog and a Wolf” after Sasha Sokolov’s novel.
2005 - The Golden Mask, the top Russian National Award for the performance “PRO Turandot” by C. Gozzi; Alexander Ronis was awarded for the role of Kalaf in the nomination “For the Best Male Part.”
2006 – The Golden Mask, the top Russian National Award for the performance “Between a Dog and a Wolf” after Sasha Sokolov’s novel; nominations “Novation” and the “Award of Critics and Journalists.”
2010 - He was awarded with the top St. Petersburg Golden Soffit Theater Award in the nomination for “The Best Director’s Job” (for the performance after M. Durnenkov’s “Izotov”)