YURI NOVOKHIZHIN, NADEZHDA CHEPAJKINA, VIKTOR YAKOVLEV, ILONA GONCHAR, DENIS ZOLOTARYOV
‘The River Potudan’ is a part of ‘A Room for Experiment’ programme. This small-scale production is its director Sergei Chekhov’s attempt to find a proper scenic expression for the unique writing style of major Russian writer Andrei Platonov.
The storyline of novella ‘The River Potudan’ seems ordinary at first glance: a Red Army man called Nikita Fiersov is back home from the battlefields of Russian Civil War. He attempts to start his life from a blank page. However, Platonov enhances this simplicity to a complex series of meanings and reasons, where pagan and Christian ideas intertwine with socialist concept of a New Man. The plot ushers alonghalf-epic half-mythological return of a main hero from the world of the dead to the world of the alive. It is this fluctuation between two conditions which becomes the dominant collision of the story.
Platonov draws a parallel between love to woman and his being. This emotion only points to the main hero his way to hope and salvation.
The production undertakes to picture the infiltrating fragility of Platonov’s microcosm through the balance of drama, visual and physical theatre, as well as through usage of complex media and sound equipment. Although aware of modern criterions, Sergei Chekhov prefers a ‘New Seriousness’ perception of Platonov’s ideas to ironic attitude.
The production gathered top names of Pskov theatre stage. To mention but a few: People’s Artist of Russia Yuri Novokhizhin, who celebrates 55th anniversary of artistic activity this year; Honorary Artist of Russia Viktor Yakovlev; Honorary Artist of Russia Nadezhda Chepajkina. ‘The River Potudan’ performance is a startling creative experience of meeting an original aesthetics for both spectators and coryphei of stage.