"Chevengur" by Yuri Pogrebnichko blends two works – fragments of "Platonov’s one and only complete novel" and scenes from Hemingway’s short story "The Killers". Such an unusual symbiosis is one of the stylistic hall marks of the Okolo Theatre, where priority is given to associative rather than logical connections.
In this anti-utopia, time has stopped and the characters seem suspended in ether, in the waters of Lake Mutevo, where no voice can ring out loud, phrases drift from one work into another in a repetitive motion like water in a whirlpool. Nothing is impossible here: at the world boundary, somewhere between Vologda and Kerch, Schastlivtsev (the happy one) runs into Neschastlivtsev (the unhappy one) yet again, and the list of characters on the theatre programme features Nino Katamadze and Frank Sinatra.
Yuri Pogrebnichko is a theatre director and a teacher, People’s Artist of Russia. He is a multiple Golden Mask Award laureate, Fringe First laureate at the International Theatre Festival in Edinburgh and holder of many other accolades.
Yuri Pogrebnichko has created his own directing system based on live experimenting with numerous elements. He makes a convincing combination of different works in one production, relying on elements of video-art and biomechanics and thus getting the audience to notice new philosophical logic behind a familiar text.
Theatre by Stanislavsky's House (known as the Okolo Theatre) was founded in 1970 as the Vyacheslav Spesivtsev Studio, later on renamed to the Moscow Youth Theatre on Krasnaya Presnya. In 1987 Pogrebnichko became the artistic director and the theatre received a more geographically accurate name – "OKOLO (next to) Stanislavsky’s House". Though it is not only the location next to Leontievsky lane that is implied, but also the attitude to Stanislavsky’s ideas, which the theatre exists next to – OKOLO, rather that adheres to.