Director Andrei Moguchy teamed up with Kostantin Filippov to create a modern fairy-tale based on the works of the Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck.
The famous Maeterlinck theme of children descending into the kingdom of the Night in search for the Blue Bird has now acquired modern overtones. This is an attempt to use the theatre to involve the children’s audience into the conversation about the foundations of the Universe, the good and evil, the true and false kinds of happiness. The world of the show is seen with the child’s eye – this is the world of a child’s dreams, fantasies, fears and hopes. The scenic designer, Alexander Shishkin, created the props and costumes in the style of childlike drawings, where every character seems to have been drawn by a child. The action takes place on New Year’s Eve in a cute plasticine family which consists of a brother and sister, Til’til’ and Mitil’, a father, a grandfather, two green dogs, one red cat, and of course, a mother who’s expecting another baby. However, the holiday idyll is broken by a bird which flies into their window. The mother suddenly feels bad and is taken to hospital. Their neighbor, Froken Light, agrees to look after the children. To save their mother and her unborn baby, Til’til’ and Mitil’ have to embark on a perilous journey into the realm of the dead to retrieve the Blue Bird from the Queen of the Night.
Nearly all the Alexandrinsky Theatre company is engaged in the performance along with the musicians. The show is recommended for schoolchildren over 6. However, it may be of equal interest to grown-ups, as it touches upon those questions that are important at any age.
The show premiered on March 26, 2011
The performance was created with the financial help of the Russian Ministry of Culture and the North-Western bank of Sberbank of Russia.
Media about the
Cutting edge technologies, an assortment of visual effects, lots of good humour and the successes and discoveries of acting make Happiness an important step towards upgrading and revolutionizing children’s theatre. We could venture to say that Moguchy has applied Avant-garde to the needs of the modern children and modern theatre. But the most important thing is, of course, not the scheme but the current idea that runs through all the mosaics of this controversial performance – the idea of love…
Elena Gorfunkel. Of Clairvoyant Dreams, Child-Bearing and Teleportation
Imperia Dramy, April 2011
Of course, this is a triumph of theatrical design. The huge bunraku dolls (take Sergey Parshin’s naïve Father standing on stools for legs).
The characters are equally fascinating: the businesslike Mitil’ (Yanina Lakoba), a very lifelike tomboy (note her enumerating her personal treasures to exchange them for her Mother from the Queen of the Night!), the noble Til’til’ who shows the tendency to faint at every trial (Pavel Yurinov), the two green clockwork dogs (Vitaly Kovalenko and Stepan Balakshin).
Nikolay Pesochinsky. Maeterlinck in 3D
Peterburgsky Teatralny Zhurnal, March 2011
However, all those high tech innovations do not suppress the human message, so tender and open-hearted, and at the same time coloured with good humour. You realise that this quest for happiness that teaches the young kids the simple truths, affirms them for you, too. And how we live our lives is far more important than the fact that they all shall end someday.
Olga Galakhova. The Golden Mask brings magnificent Happiness from Saint Petersburg
RIA Novosti, April 2012
The world of paradox and surrealism, created by the director together with Alexander Shishkin, draws the spectator in by the fascinating combination of naivety and artfulness, the simple and the complicated, the happy and the sad. Among the child-drawing style stage decorations, a magnificently theatrical tale unfolds that tells of self-sacrifice and the value of life, of family and attachment, loneliness and the infant fear of death.
Roman Dolzhansky. People and Puppets of Saint Petersburg.
Kommersant-Weekend, March 2012