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While you are here

WHILE YOU ARE HERE    

 

A performance about addictions. Based on visual, physical and dance theatre principles, with the use of on-line video and documented  materials.

 

The performance is realized in the frameworks of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation project Theatre+Society. Ten independent theatre companies working in different genres from different Russian cities created performances in 2012, 2013 and 2014, on the topics of their choice working closely with different social groups, especially with people, who really need care and attention – orphaned children, people with reduced capabilities, prisoners, persons addicted to alcohol.

 

Each of the eight people who started working at the performance had his own idea of what and how it was going to develop. Each had very different experiences with alcohol, drug dependent people and, in fact, with addictive substances. However, in June 2012 we crossed the threshold of a drug treatment hospital, without having any clear-cut “program”. We spent 4 months there just talking to patients, trying to understand how we could make ourselves useful, and how to “attach” our feelings, plots and stories to the future performance. The performance title was also found by us there, at the hospital. It was written on the fence of the hospital yard, though it sounded a little longer – “While you’re HERE, the world lives without you …” It seems to me that much of this work is about fear, the fear of realizing that the place where you are at the moment is that very “here”, the fear that you will be forgotten. And on the contrary, it is about the need to tell your loved one something like: “While you’re here, I can do EVERYTHING!”  Andrei Smirnov, director 

 

The material we collected was comprehended and afterwards we needed to find some adequate artistic form for it (…). 

The audience (neutral people, theatre experts, patients, doctors) say different things:

There is an opinion that the performance is about nowadays life, when every single person is constantly taking pictures or video on IPhone, cellphone, other electronic devices. And at the same time in any moment he or she can also get in somebody’s gadget’s image. It is beyond control.

Some people believe that it is about the hospital, and then there is a fork regarding what particular department it could have been.

Some people find in the performance visualization of the sensations that drug-addicted person goes through in different states.

Others think that we made a work similar to doc theatre – fixing the moment, finding all addicted people to be hoodlums and saying that out from the stage.

 Meanwhile we had an aim to make a performance about our own phobias, addictions, obsessions, desires, dreams…It’s up to you to decide what we have got as an outcome. We like that the performance gives the opportunity to each person from the audience to understand something about him/herself and to interpret the piece in one’s own way. Olga Korshakova, producer

 

«… «Liquid’ers» unintentionally tripped across some new genre which is lying in between contemporary dance and scene-designer theatre. What has happened is what was to happen: a new challenge has enriched the language».  Alexey Kiselyov, «Afisha»magazine

 

This is one of five projects by Theatre plus society initiated by Teatr.doc and supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation in 2012. The program reflected the European experience, French, in particular, of state promotion of independent groups performing socially beneficial work – in children hospitals, prisons, rehabilitation centres, or with people with disabilities. As it turned out, almost nobody is engaged in doing this work in Russia. There are also just a few independent theatres in this country. So almost all of them took part in the Theatre plus society program, leading to many very different and impressive productions. Liquid Theatre deals with movement – working with non-traditional spaces in varied and extraordinary ways, looking for a flexible language to express everyday human rituals, such as work. The language used in WHILE YOU ARE HERE was extracted bit by bit in a rehabilitation centre for people suffering from alcohol or drug addiction. This was not easy for the Liquid group – none of the patients were ready to let them into their painful, private world. None of them wanted to become a character in a play, just like we don’t want anyone to see us when we’re sick. It is a paradox, but the characters in WHILE YOU ARE HERE have a strong sense of acceptance, but not in a negative sense. Having travelled a difficult road, the Liquid group members accept everything as it is, without trying to destroy or improve anything. The most important thing granted to the artists by the “social program” was the ability to see the world through other people’s eyes and an understanding what it means “to be here”.  Kristina Matvienko, theatre critic

 

Idea and realization – Liquid Theatre

Director –  Andrey Smirnov

Designer – Elizaveta Dzutzeva

Participants – Svetlana Kim, Daria Demidova, Elizaveta Dzutzeva, Oleg Tolkunov, Dmitry Melkin, Kirill Pleshkevich, Andrey Smirnov

Lighting designer – Oleg Tolkunov

Music, sound-design – Dmitry Pavlyukov, Andrey Smirnov, DJ Latte

Video – Kirill Pleshkevich, Albena Dyulgerova, Stanislav Lebedev

Scenery production – Alexander Evsevyev

Producer – Olga Korshakova

 

Duration: 1 hour, no intermisson