“And I will cleanse myself of suffering”: the theater festival in Veliky Novgorod was opened by the “Brothers Karamazov” of the Belarusian theater – Vestnik “Novgorod” Veliky Novgorod

On Friday, November 4, the XXVI International Theater Festival of F. M. Dostoevsky began in the Novgorod region. 19 theaters and creative associations with 21 productions from different cities of Russia and the Republic of Belarus participate in it.

The opening ceremony was held simultaneously in the regional center and Staraya Rusa – the two cities were connected by teleconference that evening. The participants and spectators were greeted by the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, Olga Lyubimova, who made a video address.

“Over the years of its existence, the event has turned from a regional festival into an international show. The festival is developing, gaining new audiences, showing modern formats of interaction,” she noted.

In the old Russian recreation center “Rusich”, the festival was opened by the production of the St. Petersburg Strannik Drama Theater – “The Last Walk of Katerina Ivanovna”. And the artists of the National Academic Drama Theater named after M. Gorky from Minsk took the stage of the Drama Theater in Veliky Novgorod. They presented “The Brothers Karamazov” to the Novgorod audience.

“Opening this festival in Veliky Novgorod is a great honor for us. Fyodor Mikhailovich still had Belarusian roots, which means that we are also a little involved in the genius of the great Russian writer, “said Sergey Kovalchik, artistic director of the theater, Honored Artist of the Republic of Belarus, waiting for the performance.

Dostoevsky’s famous novel – voluminous, multifaceted, containing elements of various genres and yet making arguments for itself – is quite difficult to transfer to the theater stage without losing something important. However, the Belarusian troupe and director Olga Klebanovich managed quite well. During the almost three hours that the performance lasts, we manage to see and understand each of the characters, to “read” the production both as a detective story, and as a philosophical parable, and as a novel in which violent passions boil.

It is they, human passions, that liberate (after all, if there is no God, everything is permitted) and lead everyone here to anarchy, to catastrophe. They clash with each other in noisy, ugly, even offensive scandals over “a local seductress” Karamazov-father and unfortunate son Mitya. “But I’ll take your hand, angel, and I won’t kiss it,” Grushenka throws in her rival’s face. “He is! He killed his father! ”Deceived bride Katerina Ivanovna screams frantically at the trial” and bitter, caustic anger fills the whole space with itself, and the verdict is already obvious. And even God’s man Alyosha at one point will look into the abyss and catch her glance back at him. And he’ll say, ‘Shoot.’

The interpretation of the image of Ivan Karamazov and the Devil he created is interesting. At first it’s just a hallucination of a tortured, confused, slowly going mad man. From the darkness, behind the scenes, tiptoes someone in red glasses and an ominous checkered suit – probably in half a century he will accompany Voland under the name of Citizen Koroviev. The same manners of the jester, the same mocking grimaces and laughs – but so far only Ivan manages to appreciate them: for the rest, the Devil remains invisible, non-existent. However, it will soon become a reality. In addition, he will gain power. And we will see him in the prosecutor’s uniform at the last trial against Mitya.

Blind hatred leads to darkness. But this is where Ivan’s righteous anger leads, dreaming of ridding the world of “reptiles that eat each other” or shooting the landowner who chased the village boy with dogs. “Death and darkness, Alyosha,” Ivan will say. Death and darkness. Above the stage is an eternally black night sky, in which rises either a dim church dome, or a greenish moon, or the cross of the Grand Inquisitor, illuminated in red, huge and ominous. There is no happiness in freedom. But even in the inquisitorial morality is not, because here is his justice – fire or hard labor for the innocent.

“Look for happiness in suffering,” says the old man Zosima, blessing Alyosha to leave the monastery and go out into the world. And without knowing it, the innocently convicted Mitya, sentenced to hard labor, repeats to him: “I want to suffer and in suffering, Lord, I will be purified.”

And even the checkered devil, a cynic and a trickster, will say at the end, when everything is already over and the characters, like puppets, are removed behind the glass at the bottom of the stage: “If everything on earth was prudent, then nothing would happen .. .People take all this comedy seriously – that’s their tragedy. Well, they suffer, of course, but they still live… because suffering is life itself.

The bright boy Alyosha takes off his monastic clothes and remains “in civilian clothes”: trousers, boots, a white shirt. The boy takes an old suitcase with him and leaves the stage by the side stairs somewhere in the dark, to suffering. To life.


The Dostoevsky festival will continue in Veliky Novgorod and Stara Rusa until November 11. You can familiarize yourself with his poster on the official website or in the VKontakte group – Dostoevsky International Theater Festival.

Photo: Pavel Ivanov.

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