The Russian Woods
Script & Idea: Tsaplya and Dmitry Vilensky
Music: Mikhail Krutik
Choreography: Nina Gasteva
Set & graphics: Nikolay Oleynikov
Director of Photography: Artyom Ignatov
Stage Performers: Irina Pavlovskaya, Polina Popova, Elena Pasynkova, Sergey Krylov, Petr Pavlensky, Svetlana Erpyleva, Maxim Kulaev
Our work on the musical performance The Russian Woods was largely provoked by political developments in Russia this past winter. While participating in these important events that suddenly emerged from within Russian civil society, we were intrigued by the huge number of mythical images and mythological rhetoric used both by the authorities and the protesters. We decided that this phenomenon was not accidental, that it really reflects the level of political culture in our country. And we wanted to try and analyze it in the form of a fairytale story that would not only reflect the totality of our country’s sociopolitical structure, but also help us and our audience think about ways of overcoming and transforming it.
The film is based on footage from a theatrical performance that took place on May 2, 2012, in Saint Petersburg.
This film is a production of the Chto Delat collective and was produced with support from the Chto Delat Fund. It premiered at Arsenale 2012, The First Kyiv International Biennale of Contemporary Art.
The English-language version of this play was staged on March 25, 2012, as part of Arika Festival 12: Episode 3: Copying without Copying, at Tramway in Glasgow.
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A video film by Chto Delat
Director: Olga Egorova (Tsaplya)
Music by Mikhail Krutik
Assistant Directors: Vladan Jeremić, Rena Rädle, Dmitry Vilensky
Script and Stage Design: Vladan Jeremić, Tsaplya, Rena Rädle, Dmitry Vilensky
Costume Design: Natalya Pershina (Gluklya)
Choreography: Nina Gasteva
Editing and Post-Production: Olga Egorova (Tsaplya) and Dmitry Vilensky
Production was done in Belgrade in July 2009 by Biro Beograd za Kulturu i Komunikaciju.
The film presents an analysis of a concrete situation: Partisan Songspiel begins with a representation of the political oppression (forced evictions) the government of the city of Belgrade visited on the Roma people inhabiting the settlement of Belleville, on the occasion of the summer Universiade Belgrade 2009. It also addresses a more universal political message about the existence of the oppressors and the oppressed: in this case, the city government, war profiteers and business tycoons versus groups of disadvantaged people − factory workers, NGO/minoritarian activists, disabled war veterans, and ethnic minorities. At the same time the film establishes something that we can call the “horizon of historical consciousness,” which is represented through the choir of “dead partisans” who comment on the political dialogue between the oppressors and the oppressed.