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Theatrical art is a synthesis of several arts at once - literature, choreography, music. Those performances that are staged on the stage today, our ancestors simply would not understand.
Not so long ago, a discussion began in Russian society about the place that theater occupies in modern life. He is surrounded by myths, which we will try to correct.
You cannot offend the feelings of the audience. The purpose of the creator is to constantly revise the norms of what is permissible, both in art and in society. The avant-garde has always been on the verge of normal, this is considered a kind of deviant behavior. The laws adopted in literature, painting and theater often aroused doubts in someone. There have always been people who did not share generally accepted concepts and morality. So the development of art has always presupposed the presence of offended spectators. If the performance will show the picture of the world that is familiar to people, then this is already mass culture. But that's not bad either.
The state should not pay for theatrical experiments. It has already been said that experiments in the theater are beneficial for society. This allows people to be more tolerant of dissidents. If such an argument seems unconvincing, then it is worth considering why there is good attendance in a modern theater, for example, the Gogol Center or the Theater of Nations. Young Russian director Konstantin Bogomolov, who sees the classics in an original way, is going to sell out. Tickets for the performances of the German Thomas Ostermeier are sold out instantly. And if the state takes on the functions of cultural education of its citizens, then why should this actual part of the theater be ignored?
The director should not express himself in the theater. The very profession of director, as we know it today, emerged between the 19th and 20th centuries. Previously, theatrical trends were formed by playwrights, less often actors brought their visions. But in the 20th century, theater became the fiefdom of directors. At the same time, it is worth remembering the contribution of representatives of other professions, because art is still collective. In Russia in the last 10-20 years, the main trend has become the New Drama. Her influence has shaped a whole new generation of directors - Kirill Serebrennikov, Dmitry Volkostrelov, Ivan Vyrypaev, Philip Grigoryan.
Professionals work according to classical patterns, and only amateurs can experiment. There is a well-known "Black Square" effect. The artist's technique seems simple, the viewer believes that the work was done simply and effortlessly. Usually, such works are a challenge to the theme of art, in contrast to our traditional ideas. So the author of such an experiment must first understand what, in fact, he is going to protest against. And it is likely that such an artist is capable of creating traditional things. So, the most popular young Russian director Dmitry Volkostrelov works between theater and contemporary art. He asks his actors not to play with intonation, but to deliver the text in a neutral voice. But sometimes play episodes appear in performances, looking at which you cannot say that the director is an amateur and does not know how to work with actors.
Critics and festivals work for radical theater. This myth is refuted by the success of the directors, who already have the status of living classics: Lev Dodin, Petr Fomenko, Sergei Zhenovach. These artists are not offended by awards, nominations and brilliant reviews. The performances will quite appeal to conservative audiences, but the main thing, of course, is not a departure from experiments. The directors, while adhering to tradition, produce lively and contemporary performances.
The audience is deceived: it goes to the classics, but gets the director's reading. There are no such performances staged exactly according to the author's idea. Even those first and already textbook productions of Chekhov's plays at the Art Theater raised many questions from the playwright himself. But it was then that the image of drama known today appeared. It makes no sense to study classical literature on theatrical performances. You have to read books yourself. "Dead Souls" in modern theater will have little in common with the established classical image of Gogol's work. The only exceptions can be considered performances staged by the playwrights themselves, and even then, not without convention. The theater of Ivan Vyrypaev attracts attention in this aspect. He chooses his own plays, which he calls “texts for performance”. These works are created for a certain director's decision.
Modern directors do not even understand what the author wrote about or do not want to know it. It is difficult to find a director who, on his own initiative, works with the work of an author who is not interesting to him. We can see a significant discrepancy between the performances and the classical images of Gogol, Chekhov and Pushkin. But the choice of material is based on complex analysis, and not just speculation on the classics. In the scandalous "Tannhäuser" by Wagner, director Timofey Kulyabin drew attention to the conflict between ancient culture and its love for the body and bodily love, and Christianity. There they taught for a long time to renounce the flesh. The production was based on this. The main character is a filmmaker who is shooting a scandalous film. There, Jesus, the central figure of faith, enters into a love affair with the ancient goddess of love Venus. In the libretto of the original Tannhäuser, this conflict can be found simply in a veiled form. The director tried to show it, reflecting on the message of the author.
Filmmakers deliberately use religious symbols in an effort to ridicule the feelings of believers. Religion supplies any of its symbols, images or text with some kind of explanatory instruction. And if a secular artist in his interpretation departs from this document, then this does not at all mean a deliberate insult to the feelings of believers. Religion is an important part of modern culture. Its phenomenon is of interest not only to representatives of a certain confession. In secular culture, including the theater, there have always been, are and will be images that go back to religion, but viewed from the other side.
The theater sees only scandalous topics in politics and religion. It is usually believed that writers and poets, especially classics, know everything about the spiritual and social life of society. Literature still has untouchable authority. But the theater is not considered complete in terms of the perception of life. It seems that it is inappropriate to talk about religion and politics there, these are too serious topics. Those who think so should watch Kirill Serebrennikov's play “(M) student”. The production brilliantly reveals the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism, examines the state of Russian society. It may even sympathize with the extremist, and will gradually transfer the “too smart” into a state of marginalization.
The theater must teach and educate the viewer. What kind of adult wants to be raised? Why should one think that the playwright, director and actors are necessarily smarter and more experienced than the viewer? When someone is instructed or condemned from the stage, acting as a preacher or a victim, this indicates the beginning of a serious crisis in creativity. Real art is not a lesson and an instillation of values, but an equal communication between authors and spectators.