The School of Contemporary Play told the story of one pedagogical interrogation

The story itself is interesting, how the play got into the theater. Joseph Reichelgauz came across an excerpt from a work on the Internet. He hooked him so much that the artistic director of the School of Contemporary Play gave the task to find the full text and the author by all means. It turned out to be a middle-aged man with a technical education – Oleg Maslov, who graduated from courses in documentary films. And his first work – “Crazy brushwood” – he began to write as a screenplay.

In fact, mad brushwood is the popular name for the indoor azalea flower. Its name, whether the author wanted it or not, after viewing it seems symbolic in many ways: children are like flowers of life, flowers are like gifts that children give to adults, flowers are like a plant that breaks through the asphalt with their power. The theme of the new free generation is the main one in the staging of the new season of ShSP.

– So who do you love more – Putin or …? – the director of the school, Zinaida Petrovna, asks Andrei Filippov, in a tired voice. However, she will pronounce his name in less than two hours of stage performance, maybe just a couple of times. And so – Filippov, Filipok …

Juliet Goering (Deputy Director Natalya Ivanovna) and Valeria Lanskaya (Deputy Director Valentina Yurievna). Photo courtesy of the theater press service.

The fact is that Filipok once went to a rally in support of a patient in a Berlin clinic, and this fact became the reason for an unscheduled inspection of a prestigious lyceum in a small provincial town. The city is noisy outside the window (it is also a screen) and lives its own life: cars, leisurely city transport, renovated buildings, trees.

The city is indifferent to what is happening in a separate space – literally 2×5 – and squeezed from both sides by the audience rows. It has nothing but a rug, that is, an old-fashioned red carpet with dirty yellow longitudinal stripes along the edges, laid obliquely from row to row – as in the letter “I”.

Artists are sitting between the spectators in the first rows, they will play a very dramatic story, but for some reason, almost until the final, the audience will laugh, and at times just laugh and applaud what they see and hear. She will see a modern Russian school (adjusted for the province), different generations and the difference in their views on what is happening outside the school window.

The director and two teachers are trying to get from Filippov the name of the second student of the prestigious lyceum, who went to the rally with him. Only after recognizing him, the pedagogical team will be able to avoid the organizational conclusions of the bosses and preserve the honor of the uniform of a prestigious educational institution, where the poor get only according to the social quota – Filippov is just one of them.

Tatiana Vasilyeva (director of the Lyceum Zinaida Petrovna). Photo courtesy of the theater press service.

– Tell me, who was there with you?

– Why do you need it?

– Yes, nothing will happen to you.

– And if nothing happens, then why would you know?

The further the school investigation goes, which looks like an interrogation in the pedagogical triangle, the more the feeling and confidence that you are not in the theater, but in school, in the director’s office or in the classroom, grows. The direction of Reichelgauz is kind of seamless, as if not directing at all. As well as the scenery – its absence, and the costumes have nothing to do with the theater. Everything is like from life, but it turns out that this is exactly the effect that the directors sought – Iosif Raikhelgauz (aka set designer), and Victoria Sevryukova, a famous costume designer.

Does this approach to staging give the effect of authenticity, documentary? A question that is difficult to answer unequivocally: on the one hand, everything in the play by Oleg Maslov, an author from Orenburg (the first work for the theater), is so recognizable – in the dialogues, images, in the behavior of the participants, which makes it relevant. On the other hand, the directors successfully avoided deliberate documentary, retaining the delicate breath of the theater, in which there is absolute trust, which is very rare for productions that raise socially significant issues.

The image of the modern teacher / director here is not entirely monstrous, but recognizable and at times arouses sympathy. Indeed, three women will lose their jobs at a prestigious school because of the social activity of their student. And who in a small town will hire them after such a political short-sightedness? And this boy – like a pioneer-hero or a staunch tin soldier who does not betray a terrible secret of the meeting, speaks in the language of FB posts – about total lies, about the fact that everything is bad around, and with sincere faith, with an impulse, to which he receives a reprimand: “ You fools are being used by villains. ” All this is in front of Russians today – in the media, TV boxes, and social networks. But an undeniably talented production gives volume to both the characters and what is happening on the rug. The story of one interrogation, which began on a white day and ended closer to night, found a mass of “skeletons” in the teacher’s closet.

Artists work on the same line of theater / life. First of all, in “Crazy brushwood”, which, no doubt, will go for a walk on Russian stages, three gorgeous female roles have been written and made. They are performed by Tatyana Vasilieva (director Zinaida Petrovna), Juliet Goering (her deputy Natalya Ivanovna) and Valeria Lanskaya in the role of another deputy, Valentina Yurievna. Headmistress Tatyana Vasilyeva is outwardly calm like a tank, she will never raise her voice, she will not change her intonation – she is tired, cynical, she changes moves abruptly. He will offer Filipka money (nevertheless, from a poor family, raised by a grandmother), send her pretty suede to him to teach the boy a lesson … sex. Only in the finale, the heroine Vasilyeva, without leaving her chair and without resorting to bright colors, will give out such loneliness that she will endlessly feel sorry for her.

What a pity for her deputy, played by Juliet Goering, whose son is in the same class as Filippov, but has an affair with teacher Valentina Yurievna, who was sent to Filipk with a sex assignment. Juliet Goering, who plays more and more beauties at the School of Modern Play, appears here in a completely unexpected light – she is the same crazy mother whose blind love will cause a lot of trouble and whose ambitions even love turns into hatred.

Complicated feelings that bind people, lead them through life, lead them to a dead end, forcing them to make irreparable mistakes – all this is in the play of Juliet Goering, Valeria Lanskaya and, of course, Tatyana Vasilyeva. But in their shadow, two young actors do not remain, one of whom is still a student. Ruzil Minekaev in the role of a student who went to the rally is so organic that you would rather take him for a teenager from the street than for a future artist. Its role is essentially one paint, but it has many shades. In this sense, Alexander Seppius, the son of Natalya Ivanovna, has a more winning role: the actor will lead his Denis from an infantile son, suppressed by a strong mother, to a man capable of decisive actions.

Actually, the story unfolds scary, but almost until the end, it is accompanied by laughter from the audience. It arises from the absurdity of what is happening – with tragedy and comedy. And another rare effect arises when watching “Crazy brushwood”: profanity, which heroes (mostly female) switch to in moments of despair or powerlessness, does not hurt the ear at all. Without these words, the story will become slyly false, which can often be seen in the performances of a new drama.

The only effect that the director allowed himself can be seen on the bows. After a dynamic and dangerous action, the actors take turns suspiciously easy on a chair, from it to the window, behind which is an impassive city that does not care about what is happening on the rug in a separate 2×5 space, squeezed by the audience rows on both sides.


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