Kirill Serebrennikov’s stage version of 'Who Is Happy In Russia' (Komu na Rusi zhit khorosho) poem by Nikolay Nekrasov
The performance has three parts. Part I — 'The argument' — is about those muzhiks (Russian for men) addressing the famous question: for whom life in Russia feels good? What made them leave their homes and families? What are the borders of Russian world? What stands in the way of getting freedom?
Part II — 'Drunk night' (Russian: 'Pyanaya noch') — drunk muzhiks are trudging through the field, they start hearing voices that call them; are those voices real or are they just a product of their fevered imagination?
Part III — 'A feast of feasts' — is about the happy ones, about the “key to women’s happiness”, about зthe protectors and the innocents…
“This season “Gogol-center” produces two performances. They build up a duology of a kind. They are stage version of Nikolay Nekrasov’s “Who Is Happy In Russia” (Komu na Rusi zhit khorosho) Poem and of “Russian fairytales” by Afanasiev. They work together quite good. The authors were friends themselves: Nekrasov was publishing Afanasiev, there is this particular book of fairy tales lying on the poet’s table at Karabikha. But at the same time they are quite antagonistic in many things. Nekrasov created a “popular language” of a poem; he was the first since Pushkin to create a unique recognizable verse. While Afanasiev was collecting the popular fairy tales, almost not editing them; he would be considered a documentalist in our times. The whole Nekrasov’s poem written after the abolishing of serfdom is dealing with questions of freedom and slavery. It is about the impossibility of gaining freedom and the comfort of common slavery. On the contrary, the fairy tales provide Russians with freedom of speech and action. The thing that they have in common is the ultimate love and interest in Russians and in the homeland. One should really love and understand homeland to write following: “You are the poor yet you are plentiful, you are the powerful yet you are powerless, Mother Russia!”
The performance is produced with the support of Bosco di Ciliegi