Peace in pieces

Julkaisemme SARVin (Suomen arvostelijain liiton) tanssi- ja teatterijaoksen englanninkielisen kritiikkikurssin satoa. Kurssi järjestetään Baltic Circle -festivaalin yhteydessä ja sen opettajana toimii arvostettu skotlantilainen kriitikko Mark Brown. 


I Am Free, a production by the Russian theatre collective Post Theatre, was presented during the last two days of the Baltic Circle International Theatre Festival. The names of the playwright Pavel Pryazhko and director Dmitry Volkostrelov are very well known within the Russian theatre, and their appearance in the festival programme seemed really promising.

However, in general terms, once you discover the Baltic Circle festival (at least in its 2013 programme), you should realize it has an anti-theatrical nature and that its artistic niche is a celebration of postmodernism, the ’marginal elite’, and an attempt to find new performative languages. Consequently, this year’s festival had almost no well-defined artistic criteria. Instead, we are confronted by simply a selection of world views, converted into certain kinds of performance art pieces, which we can choose to accept or not. It appears that everything is equally important. That is the stance of the postmodernists, and one is expected to deal with it.

I Am Free is 62 minutes of slide show consisting of random snapshots taken in Minsk, the capital city of Belarus. The director and performer Dmitry Volkostrelov is standing to one side of the screen onto which the images are projected. He makes very occasional, random comments.

Post Theatre: I Am Free. Kuva: Pavel Pryazhko.
Post Theatre: I Am Free. Kuva: Pavel Pryazhko.

Some kind of narrative is implied by the visuals, but the images are hardly connected: people, streets, sky, earth, water, trees. That is basically it. The hyper-subjectivism and intimacy of the piece, and its possibility of spectators sharing in them, are probably the aesthetic purposes. The statement is more important than the art, the concept has ”eaten” the performance.

However, everything is equally important. The authors are free. And we let them be.

Tanja Bodjansky