Valery Fokin’s performance, dedicated to the life of legendary Saint Blessed Xenia of Saint Petersburg, the patron of the ‘world’s most malicious city’, has become one of the most notable productions within both city’s theatrical environment and in director’s career since its premiere on February 27, 2009. Fokin has long been excited by various Saint Petersburg phenomena. It is in this very performance where he redefines them in the context of common man’s spiritual transformation − a result of the latter’s struggle against delusions of bad luck, against fears and suffers.
The play by Vadim Levanov, the contemporary playwright classic, refers to the story of an actual person, who lived in Saint Petersburg in the middle of the eighteenth century − to Xenia Grigorievna Petrova. Her husband suddenly died without absolution. Xenia considered to hallow his immortal soul through the act of self-renunciation: she put on his dress and continued his earthly path. The audience will sight numerous people Saint Xenia met during her lifetime, who experienced her presence in centuries of Saint Petersburg’s miserable history to come.
The new production of the legendary performance brings together masters (Nikolai Marton, Sergei Parshin, Galina Karelina) and young Alexandrinsky Theatre actors (Anna Blinova, Nikolai Belin, Timur Akshentsev). From the first performance, ‘Blessed Xenia. The Story of Love’ arouses sympathy of an audience for Saint’s act of spirit, granting us with a chance to make a few step towards self-comprehension. The kaleidoscope of ages, attires, talks and behaviors follow one another on the stage. Various historic periods of mankind intertwine in a never-ending strive for spiritual truth. According to the author, the only way to achieve it is to perform an act of inner self transformation, through love alone!
Premiered on September 29, 2018
Media about the
“Valery Fokin has brought an Orthodox saint to the stage. Though in Saint-Petersburg she is especially, even a bit hysterically worshipped, the Director managed to spare the performance all bitter sweetness, which is, no doubt, his serious achievement as an artist”.
Dmitry Tsilikin. Xenia. God’s clown
Vedomosti, March 2009
“Fokin tells us the story of Xenia in its fullness – from the lyrical point of view, showing her emotions; from the social one, asking our common consciousness dangerous Pushkin-like questions; and from the epical one, filling the stage with characters from the XVIII century and the present age, piercing through the history of Russia and its identity”.
Alyona Karas, Bless be the one with Xenia
Rossiyskaya Gazeta, March 2009
“It’s not the first time Fokin presents his ideas concerning the ways and paths of living; the freedom of choice; and the ways and purposes of people’s spending their lives. Xenia. The Story of Love – this performance is not about self-denial. It’s not about the spiritual sight granted to us as an antipode to norms. It’s not about living a castaway’s life being the common way of saints’ living. It’s not about the mysticism of the city. Its main idea is the huge gap between the true and illusionary life. The true life is hard and lonely. The illusionary one is routine, comfortable, and fed. Having spent much effort, Fokin has managed to reconcile the intimacy of religious feelings and the hidden challenge of the ethical message”
Marina Tokareva. Foolish truth
Novaya Gazeta, March 2009
“Of course, The Xenia is about love. About its phenomenal power. It feels like I should be most serious about this matter, but I just don’t want to use fine words and dive into the sea of wise historical and cultural allusions. This is what Fokin did presenting the saint as a kind person and a real woman whose womanliness is not based on her appeal, but her very soul”
Maria Kingisepp. The unbearable lightness of life.
Sankt-Peterburgskie Vedomosti, March 2009