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| prigov's works put the'revolt' into revolution |

Prigov's Works Put The'Revolt' Into Revolution

, The Moscow News, 20.05.2015
There are many reasons tobeintrigued by“Revolt“ atPraktika Theater.

It isthe latest production toinvolve the Dmitry Brusnikin Workshop, agroup ofnow-former students who have officially formed anew, professional Moscow theater troupe.

It isstaged byYury Muravitsky, one ofMoscow's most interesting directors, who loves totweak spectators' expectations.

And, inwhat isarguably the most convincing reason, “Revolt“ isbuilt primarily around two radio plays bythe well-known poet Dmitry Prigov, acentral figure inthe cross-genre artistic movement generally known asconceptualism. Prigov isnot someone whose work wesee onMoscow's stages.

The title of“Revolt“ could betranslated any number ofways. Were itashow about apolitical event, itwould be“Coup.“ Itcould also berendered as“Upheaval,” „Rebellion,” „The Overthrow,” oreven „Revolution.” Infact, the title ofthe second piece played out during this performance isjust that, „Revolution.”

But the notion ofrebellion and revolt iswhat comes closest towhat the show isabout.

Prigov wasn't writing about political turmoil. Hehad inmind the overturning ofopinions and preconceptions ofart. Most ofhis works sought toundermine comfortable notions ofliterature, poetry, painting and performance, and most importantly, perhaps our way ofseeing and perceiving them.

That ispart ofthe irony embedded in“Revolution,“ ashort piece that plays with the notion ofaSoviet-era “demonstration,“ that is, celebration, ofthe Revolution.

A bunch ofyoung people carry signs and shout slogans commending freedom, while offering uplusty “Hurrahs!“ toflatter the ego ofthe state.

The point Prigov presumably was working toward was that there was nothing revolutionary atall inthis act ofmarking the anniversary ofadecades-old revolution. Revolution bythis time had become rote. Astruggle for ideas had become astruggle against them.

Muravitsky and his crew ofyoung actors put the revolt back into this tongue-in-cheek “Revolution.“

They turn Prigov's verses into songs played and sung bythe entire company. Asthe evening advances, the music and the passion itisplayed with increases manifold. Light ditties become furious musical attacks. Parade music transforms into Fascist marches.

Bellicose chants of“Freedom!“ intertwined with frenetic shouts of“Beat!“ turn everything transpiring onstage into asearing, even off-putting theatrical onslaught.

This show goes way over the line ofpropriety. Isaw plenty ofuncomfortable spectators sitting around me, looking down oraside toavoid actors' gazes. That only made the actors crank uptheir rage.


„Revolt” made audience members feel uncomfortable. That was the idea.
When rehearsing this production, Muravitsky was quoted onthe Teatral website assaying there was little inthis work tolaugh at.

„You've got tomock this stuff,” hesaid. „Which iswhat wedo.”

That isprecisely what the second half of„Revolt” isupto. Itisthere tomock, tocause revulsion inanaudience sitting comfortably inthe cushioned seats ofatheater hall.

By comparison, the first half of„Revolt” ismilk and cookies.

Titled „IPlay the Accordion,” itisascrewy, tongue-in-cheek piece about some young people onstage trying togoad anaudience into participating intheir performance.

It reaches its apogee asthe main performer ostensibly drags areluctant girl onstage and begins toridicule her, making her undress, and shouting abuse ather when she escapes and runs out ofthe hall.

You see what Muravitsky was upto setting the stage, literally, for the theatrical attack hewould mount alittle later. But Ifound myself hearing Prigov's text asold-fashioned and riddled with cliches about the humor ofviolence.

The actors, locked into the mockery, towhich their director pointed them, did afine job ofrunning roughshod over propriety here aswell.

But ifIthought the second half of“Revolt“ was the most scathing example ofpolitical ferocity unleashed onstage this season, Ithought the first half remained trapped inthe limits ofits stereotypes.

Let that take nothing away from „Revolt,” however. Atits best, this show throws lightning bolts.
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Prigov's Works Put The'Revolt' Into Revolution, , The Moscow News, 20.05.2015
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