Xenia. The Story of Love - performance by Valery Fokin continues Alexandrinsky Theatre’s Saint-Petersburg cycle of performances based on literary images, facts and legends of the world’s most malicious city.
The earthly story of Saint Xenia has inspired the Theatre to create a performance in which a different period of the history of our city would interlace facing the need for spiritual truth and redemption.
Fokin interprets Saint-Petersburg scenes in the context of the search for spiritual transformation of a person struggling against the delusions of unhappy life, fears, and agony falling to the lot of people suppressed by triumphant and aggressive soullessness. According to the author, the only way to build a “soul city” is to perform a feat of inner self transformation, freeing from the temptations of our earthly life through love and the endless desire to pray clean the souls of beloved sinners with love.
The play by the contemporary playwright Vadim Levanov refers to the story of a real woman who lived in Saint-Petersburg in the middle of the XVIII century, Xenia Grigorievna Petrova. Her husband died suddenly, without penance. Xenia decided to save his immortal soul by performing a feat of self-denial – she started wearing his clothes and continued his earthly path disguised as him. The audience will meet many people Saint Xenia met during her lifetime. Among them are known and humble, long-dead and living, longing for enlightenment and stuck in sins.
The director’s harsh and ungentle view of the story which has become one of Saint-Petersburg’s legends brings the main character as close to the audience as it is possible. It shows her as a woman full of contradictions tearing the soul apart.
The first night took place on the 27th February 2009
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