The production features excerpts of the following songs:
‘Bravely march you, comrades!’ by L. Radin; ‘Turukhansk March’ with lyrics by Y. Martov; ‘We are fallen victims of the fatal struggle’ with lyrics by A. Arkhangelsky; ‘What bends the branches if not the wind’ by A. Varlamov and S. Stromilov; excerpts of spiritual chants.
The Alexandrinsky Theatre would like to thank The Central State Photo and Video Archive of Saint Petersburg, Attis Theatre and Johanna Weber for their kind permission to use the archive matter.
This production of ‘Mauser’, directed by the prominent master of the theatrical arts, one of the leaders of European theatre arts, Greek-born Theodoros Terzopoulos is the first ever full scenic interpretation of Heiner Mueller’s play of the same name in Russia. Heiner Mueller (1929 - 1995) was a German dramatist, theatre director, poet, essayist and the major persona in post-Brechtian German theatre. However, Mueller’s heritage as a playwright had not gained a proper, deserved attention among Russian theatre companies, not to mention that the overwhelming part of his creative works were not even translated into Russian and were never published in our country.
This and the significant fact of Theodoros Terzopoulos’ artistic path - that in seventies he had a five-years internship in The Berliner Ensemble theatre under the guidance of Heiner Mueller himself - brings a very special artistic and historical value to this premiere of ‘Mauser’ in the Alexandrinsky Theatre. It was Theodoros Terzopoulos, who first brought Heiner Mueller’s drama opuses to the attention of the Russian theatre audience in nineties with his 1993 production of ‘Quartett’, starring Alla Demidova and Dmitry Pevtsov.
The completion of ‘Mauser’ dates back to 1970. The play acts as the finale to the experimental triptych of ‘Philoktet’ as the first part and ‘Der Horatier’ as the second. The triptych is rooted in and, simultaneously, argues against theoretical and practical developments of Berthold Brecht’s concept of didactic drama. It is Brecht’s ‘Die Massnahme’ (1930), named ‘didactic chant’ and composed in collaboration with the composer Hanns Eisler, that, in fact, can be considered ‘Mauser’ play’s predecessor.
‘Mauser’ exposes and depicts an uncommon trial, an action, moved forward by Heroes and the Chorus - exactly as it happens in ancient Greek drama or in abovementioned ‘didactic chant’.
Heiner Mueller finds the source of inspiration for many of his thirty plays in masterpieces of the world literature. ‘Mauser’ is, in a way, a sweeping variation to an episode from the Second Book of Mikhail Sholokhov’s ‘And Quiet Flows the Don’ – an episode telling Bunchuk’s service at the Revolutionary Tribunal of the Don Military Revolutionary Committee. We can’t but trace the hints at Isaac Babel’s ‘Red Cavalry’ motifs as well.
‘This play bares the natural dynamics of violence, which whatever revolution shall demonstrate. This violence drags the development of revolution from its initial aims, making the whole outcome, even if achieved in the distant future, utterly questionable. From this perspective, the social phenomenon of revolution gains the thoroughly humanistic, or, more specifically, ontological interpretation along its most common political aspects.
ese years saw the reviving attention to ‘Mauser’ all over the world. This, I think, proves the urgency of the play’s problems in times, when civil wars and disorders are back to the agenda, and warfare, it seems, is again considered an ‘ultima ratio regum’ between global powers.
‘I would like to dedicate this staging to my teacher Heiner Mueller and to actor Janis Kounellis, a friend and collaborator of Heiner Mueller, and of mine.’ Theodoros Terzopoulos.
‘Mauser’ forms a theatric dilogy with the Alexandrinsky Theatre’s ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’, staged by Theodoros Terzopoulos in 2017.
Premiered on March 21, 2020