Author: Alexander Vedenski
Directed by Star Angelovska
Assistant Director: John Ristovski
Translated from Russian Olivera Pavlovic
Art Director: Valentin Svetozarev
Costume Designer: Blagoj Micevski
Music: Marjan Necak
Consultant dance: Jagoda Dimovska
Light: Igor Micevski
Stage manager: Mitko Ivanovski
Prompter: Gordana Mihajlovska
Mother Puzirjova: Menka Bojadzieva
Father Puzirjov: Boris Chorevski
Nanny Nastya: Ilina Chorevska
Dunja Shustrova: Elena Moshe
Misha Pestrov: Ivan Jerchikj
Sonja Ostrova: Sonja Oshavkova
Vologja Komarov: Borce Gjakovski
Nina Serova: Juliana Mircevska
Petya Perov: Alexander Kopanja
Varja Petrova: Mary Gjakovska
Beba: Peter Spirovski
Superintendent / Policeman / Judge Aleksandar Stefanovski
“It is quite easy to talk in an abstract way, but to explain the reality using words is quite difficult” – zen master Kyosei.
We all used to be children…all will be born and be children someday and, someday all will stay children. Children under one sun, children of one planet Earth, children of one Creator. It is in vain to make a distinction between Adults and Children, between Rich and Poor, Black, Yellow or White, Clever and Dumb, Believer and Disbeliever, Beautiful and Ugly, Powerful and Weak, Old and Young, for life has always been life, the death has been death, the experience has been experience, the man has always been a man – just the way he is.
The human has two faces – dark and bright. He usually afraid of accepting or confronting with the darkest side in him and pointlessly fights, but when he acknowledges it, he becomes powerful and goes towards the Light.
We can’t be greater than children the author Alexander Vvdensky writes about, in that way, we will be greater than the Sun, the Earth, the Sky… Or just to come to our senses that just when we think we are Great, those are our ego-states, and they are best identified in the GAMES. Life is a play. Which roles do we have?
“Kozarev or Magarev?” (as Vvedensky says) Kozarev says this to Magarev and Magarev says that to Kozarev, Kozarev to…- constant fights resulting in bloodbath.
The fear comes out of the numerous games and the biggest fear is to get rid of them and to become Nothing on the Life Stage.
Everything is a game, and we make it more and more complicated…
For as long as we live we hopelessly expect something in our life, life happens in living itself. And that can be narrated, it is experienced. Just like the death. Sensation.
What about the prejudices, the assumptions, the accusations, the intrigues, the judging of other people’s lives? They are nothing, compared to the fear. They are nothing compared to the immensity of the Sun. They are something only compared to your personal life. Does it mean that they are greater than the Sun itself? No. you can only be absurdly comic and when you are most fatal in your standpoint and most enormous in your pain, for it is a game too, where you should fight with the Sun. Will you be the winner? I don’t know. The only thing I know is that the Sun always wins over the Darkness, but there wouldn’t have been light without the darkness. It has always been, but how will it be, I don’t know.
I think to myself that we, the people are lumberjacks of ourselves, and the biggest absurd is that every person wants to have a tree (“his personal tree”, or “ribbon” or “tortoise”), even more that tree to be Christmas tree. We are equal when it comes to this and we will die with that dream.
The play “Christmas at Ivanovs’” by Alexander Vvdensky is one of the greatest works of the Russian avant-garde. Written in the style of this renowned artistic expression from the beginning of the 20th century, defined as the poetics of contradictions i.e. defying of the conventional and classical forms and themes in the art and the view of the society, the play itself presents one brand new concept in style and structure, one new “odd dramaturgy” that emphasizes the awkward reception of the world from another angle in order to change the old artistic code and have a radical influence on the social behavior.
By means of a new philosophical view of the world, that dismisses the sense i.e. the logical comprehending of the world, the author uses the poetics of the implausible: combination of stylistics of infantile naivety, inspired by the Russian folklore and on the other hand, ultimate absurd, nonsense, that makes deeper sense rather than the one in the traditionally logical texts and their “ordinary” plots.
Therefore, Vvedensky by embracing the avant-garde idea to free the expression of the usual standards and norms, he explores the new relations between the words which can be clearly seen in the texts and the violated semantic rules. The standards of his expression are the disruptions of the semantics and syntax of the play i.e. the phonetic and semantic devices make the text “illogical”. For instance, the constant change of the conversation that makes the course of the dialogue more senseless, or the situations of illogical fusion of different lines that present only one deceptive unity, dialogues completely based on twists, etc.
That particular expression that defies the rules of everyday language and reflection creates a world that is twisted, unordinary and upside-down in the eyes of the audience, a world that has no hierarchy and traditional values. This “family” history shows children from the age of 1 to 82, nanny that kills a child, parents that celebrate during time of mourning…and everybody dies one after another. Vvedensky uses the deaths as a means of philosophical and esthetical category that enables us to experience ourselves out of the frame of time. Thus, one process that presents the ultimate expression of decay of the human being as an entity/a whole, leads us to renewal, resurrection of the identity in one new sense. The absurdity of the artistic space is a way to come to a revelation that furthermore helps to solve and build the lost relations between the objects and between humans. Time, Death and God are the principal topics in this paradoxical tale, festive and tragic all at once, that sounds like mumbling of the Life in front of the Death.
Through this radical and esthetic method, leading towards illogical storyline, depersonalization, absurd molding of situations, black comedy and metaphysical philosophy, Vvedensky becomes the herald of one of the most important occurrences in the theatrical art – the infamous western theatre of the absurd.