A production by Nikolai Roshchin and Andrei Kalinin, based on a play ‘Victor, or Power to the Children’ by Roger Vitrac.
Roger Vitrac (1899 - 1952) was a French poet and playwright. Together with Antonin Artaud and Robert Aron they created the Theatre Alfred-Jarry. Vitrac was among the first to join the French surrealist literature group, led by Andre Breton, and the first to be excluded. Despite such an early segregation, there are still many that consider him the greatest surrealist. Vitrac is an author of Les ‘Mysteres de l'Amour’ (1927), ‘Coup de Trafalgar’ (1934), ‘Les Demoiselles du Large’ (1938). A 1927 play ‘Victor, or Power to the Children’ stands in a row as the most well-known.
This play had numerous stagings within France, with just Antonin Artaud, Jean Anouilh and Roger Planchon among its various directors throughout time. French audience uses nothing but superlative adjectives only to express their attitude to the play: ‘opus magnum’, ‘theatrical masterpiece’, ‘pinnacle of surrealism’, etc.
Vitrac’s idea was to transform the mere passive and compelling spectator/observer into hostile and aggressive counterpart, enraged by the playwright and performers. ‘Death to the audience’, was Vitrac’s declaration.
Antonin Artaud and Theatre Alfred-Jarry troupe were the first to stage ‘Power to the Children’ in 1928, Comedie-Francaise. Here is Artaud’s thoughts on the play: ‘This is a degradation of nowadays’ outlook, translated into a language of ardent but at the same time fossil gestures. It is also a substitution of the former with… what exactly? At least, this is indeed a question on which the play answers [with another question]: which is the right way of thinking? What do we have? What is left, when there are no collective models of behavior and no gradients? All of this is demonstrated with a huge impact and perception, in no philosophical manner’.
Today the play ‘Victor, or Power to the Children’ is regarded as the most staged surrealistic French play. While a century ago authors of ‘Victor, or Power to the Children’ were soaked in anger, claiming ‘Death to the audience’ as their motto, nowadays the play is a sincere declaration of love and devotion to the theatrical art.