Alexander Volodin “Five Evenings” Festival

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Сountries: Russia
City: Saint-Petersburg
6 February-10 February 2016

The Festival is named after the prominent Soviet playwright Alexander Volodin and his legendary play “Five Evenings” frequently staged in Russia. This play is associated with the reform of the Russian psychological theatre. “Five Evenings” staged by G.A. Tovstonogov at Bolshoi Drama Theare in 1959 revealed a new hero. A common person with all his/her psychologic complexity came to the Russian stage. Alexander Volodin is undoubtedly a playwright of Chekhov’s tradition.

A. Volodin “Five Evenings” Festival is an extraordinary festival: it has no fanfare and formality. The festival is “with a human face”, the atmosphere of informal communication that Volodin loved so much. It has neither any entry fee, nor permanent organizing committee and office (for the festival period, its headquarters are located in the cellar of the editorial office of Petersburg Theatre Journal).  It is organized by theatre professionals ex gratia.

Over the past 12 years the audience have seen the best productions of Volodin’s plays staged in Russia as well as performances that have the special “Volodin’s intonation” and exist in the playwright’s system of coordinates.

The out-of-competition programme “The First Reading” is an integral part of the festival. It includes staged reading of plays never read before.

“Five Evenings” Festival invites productions based on the works of the playwright, writer and poet A. M. Volodin as well as productions whose spirit is close to that of Volodin’s works.

The first festival was held in 2004. Altogether, there have been 12 festivals. The latest one was held in February 2016.  

Founders: Independent Nonprofit Organization «Petersburg Theatre Journal» (PTJ) , V. А. Ryzhakov with the support of the RF Ministry of Culture and Saint Petersburg Culture Committee

Director:   Viktor Ryzhakov, Director and Artistic Managing Director of the Meyerhold Centre, Moscow Art Theatre Studio School Professor

Аrt Director: Mаrinа Dmitrevskaya, theatre critic, Professor at the Russian State Institute of Performing Arts, PTJ Editor-in-Chief

Моderator of the festival and “The First Reading” programme: Oksana Kushlyayeva, theatre critic, PTJ Editor

Executive Directors: Julia Vorontsova, Yekaterina Miller

Media Relations: Yekaterinа Stroganova

The Festival's Press Release

 The main venue and official partner of the festival in 2016 was “Na Liteynom” State Drama Theatre. One of the five evenings took place on the Small Stage of the Bolshoi Puppet Theatre as the festival programme did not fit in one venue.

One year the main focus of the “Five Evenings” is Volodin and his plays, another year the main focus is “Volodin’s spirit”, a special note according to which the festival tunes its repertory “music”. In 2016 there was more of the latter.

The festival opened with a bow before Volodin’s generation: Viktor Ryzhakov's students played “Old-Fashioned Concert”.

“Tanya-Tanya” from Novokuybyshevsk Theatre, The Golden Mask nominee, and director Denis Bokuradze were responsible for Volodin’s atmosphere, all the more because the play’s author, Olga Mukhina, received the Volodin’s Prize in the initial years of the “Five Evenings” Festival.

Volodin was a soldier and pacifist, he hated imperious attitude of mind in the way only a person like him could. He went through the war as a foot soldier and died with an unextracted shell splinter. He did not write a single play about the war. He did not like to talk about the war. He considered it a hell. That is why it was critically important to include in the festival plays about the war. Tomsk Theatre for Young Spectators brought “The Winners” by Svetlana Alexievich (director Dmitry Yegorov, Mask Plus Programme of the Golden Mask Festival). The Meyerhold Centre presented its production “Sasha, Take Out the Trash” by Natalya Vorozhbit, staged by Viktor Ryzhakov. The theme continued in a small production from Nyagan “May I Please Speak to Nina?” based on Kir Bulychyov’s story and staged by young Petersburg directors Roman Kaganovich and Yelisey Shepelev. In this performance, a person from today’s warring world gets into sieged Leningrad.

The festival finished on Volodin’s birthday. On February 10th, the festival particiapants and guests went to Komarovo, where Volodin had been buried, and on the same day, there was the first night of “Dulcinea”, the play of Nebolshoi Drama Theatre directed by Kirill Syomin, where Olga Albanova performed Aldonza.

The First Reading Programme took place from the 7th to the 9th of February. Out of 250 received plays 6 were selected for staged reading. The readings started at 13:30 and were held in the “Na Liteynom” Drama Theatre.

This festival season had a surprise which will continue to be a bonus to all upcoming festival seasons: Klava’s Snack Bar offered tomato juice in faceted glasses, sprat sandwiches, gobies in tomato sauce at real Soviet prices. And the well-loved by the festival attendees bar lady Klava was happy to serve everyone in the best traditions of Soviet public catering. The snack bar worked in “Na Liteynom” Drama Theatre from the 6th to the 10th of February. The audience could enter using their theatre tickets.  

Open text
Festival Events
22 February
SASHА, TAKE OUT THE TRASH. Director Viktor Ryzhakov
TANYA-TANYA. Director Denis Bokuradze
MAY I PLEASE SPEAK TO NINA? Director Roman Каganovich
03 February
DULCINEA. Director Kirill Syomin
THE WINNERS. Director Dmitry Yegorov
OLD-FASHIONED CONCERT. Director Viktor Ryzhakov
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