The Ukrainian anabasis. A scary one.
“The empire flirted with the idea of freedom, of revival and survival. But when the old whore of an empire shed her original skin, it turned out she had nothing else to wear.”
TRANSLATION Miroslav Tomek, Alexej Sevruk
DIRECTION, DRAMATISATION, SCENIC DESIGN Dušan David Pařízek
DRAMATURGY Ondřej Novotný
DRAMATURGICAL COOPERATION Ralf Fiedler
MUSIC Peter Fasching
COSTUMES Kamila Polívková
POSTER Terezie Chlíbcová
PHOTO Patrik Borecký
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Jan Doležel
ASSISTANT DRAMATURGE Magdaléna Vrábová
STARRING Gabriela Míčová, Stanislav Majer, Václav Marhold, Martin Pechlát
PREMIERE 18 December 2022
On a bleak autumn morning in 1991, a Ukrainian poet Otto von F. wakes up with a crazy hangover on the top floor of the Moscow Institute accommodation building – a temporary home for the crème de la crème of literature of all unions. He feels that he needs some hair of the dog, so he sets out on a phantasmagorical journey through the capital of the empire that is falling apart. From the heights of his “ivory tower”, he descends to the infamous pub on Fonvizina Street, he takes a hot bath in the flat of his Russian lover who is a snake hunter, he witnesses a terrorist attack and he finds the gate to the underworld in the shopping centre Children’s World.
While wandering around the Soviet metropolis full of generals, secretaries, strangers, patriots, drunks and psychics, he manages to find time to write letters to His Royal Highness Olelko the Second (Dolgorukiy-Rurikid), a fictional heir to the throne of Kievan Rus’ – the first known reference to Moscow dates to the times of this empire. On his way, Otto von F. is tested and tempted; sometimes he mocks the trials and temptations, sometimes he resists them, sometimes he yields to them. Otto von F., the Ukrainian poet, gambles with his soul.
Yuri Andrukhovych (1960) is one of the most important contemporary Ukrainian authors, poets and essayists. The subtitle of his famous book The Moscoviad (1993) is “A scary novel.” In a carnival-like atmosphere combining the high with the low, the author describes the dissolution of the Soviet empire, a state which is trying to re-think its ideas about totalitarianism, pretends to have changed in terms of law and lifestyle, and hopes for a renewal, for existing forever. But just like a carnival takes place every year, so do the imperial wars of conquest which remind everyone of the failures on both the social and personal level. In the current geopolitical and military situation, the image presented in the book becomes even scarier.
The play was created in cooperation with Ralf Fiedler, the dramaturge of the Deutsches SchauSpielHaus Hamburk .
The play was financially supported by the Czech-German Fund for the Future .