Gala Uzryutova's play was presented in Stuttgart

On November 10, the stage reading of the monoplay "Dummerchen" by playwright Gala Uzryutova from Ulyanovsk was held in Stuttgart Atelier Theater (Germany). The author told the portal "Ulyanovsk - UNESCO City of Literature" about the play, which was presented in German for the first time, about the readings in Stuttgart, about a theater of the future and the Goethe Institute's program "Culture on the Move", that made it possible to implement this project.

- What was the play presented in Stuttgart?

- The play "Dummerchen" is a very important monologue text for me. Marlene's speech in Berlin touches on one of the main transformations that we see today: the change in the relationship between power and a man. In fact, we are witnessing how quickly this model is changing. But is one ready for this change? Does he even have enough power over his own life? The character faces this new phenomenon through the transformation of her verified world and realizes that she no longer has control over what is happening. She reflects on whether she has made the right choice or not. To refuse a choice is as much a human right as to choose, especially if there is no choice.The discussion of the play based on the results of its reading showed that no matter where people live, they are concerned about all these transformations, which cause a lot of questions that remain unanswered. As for the genre, there are elements of absurdity and surrealism in the play. In general, the text was designed to convey a feeling when the character can't get out of her inertia and becomes more and more immersed in it.

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Actress Julia Mary as Marlene

- How did you meet the Stuttgart Atelier Theater?

- The Atelier Theater, in addition to staging performances, also organizes the international drama competition "Badenweiler". In 2016, the play "Dummerchen" became the winner of the experimental nomination of the competition and was presented at the festival "Badenweiler" in Moscow and Minsk. We had been discussing the possibility of the stage reading in Stuttgart with the theater for a long time, and when I heard about the Goethe Institute's program "Culture on the Move", which aims to support cultural exchange and international cooperation, I applied there, and everything coincided (note: the project was implemented with the support of the Goethe Institute's program "Culture on the Move: the regional mobile fund in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia"). By the way, the Atelier Theater not only stages performances but also works as Stuttgart's international cultural center. It hosts concerts, film screenings, and dance performances. It was a very useful practical experience to participate in the preparation of the new German version of the play: it was translated by Tatiana Hofmann (last year she translated my poems for reading in Berlin as part of the project "auslandSPRACHEN - DIE WOSTOKREIHE"). The role of Marlene was performed by the actress of the Atelier Theater Julia Mary, and the head of the Atelier Theater Vladislav Grakovsky  was the director of the reading. Of course, there must be a full understanding between the director, the actor and the author, and in this regard, I had a full sense that my text was heard.

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Gala Uzryutova and the director Vladislav Grakovskiy, The Atelier Theater, Stuttgart

- Can a play be a read-only text?

- Sure! A play is, first of all, literature, although now the opposite point of view is popular, considering the dramaturgical text solely as a guideline for the production. This attitude seems to me to be a disregard for the text. When you read a play, you already have a play inside you, and it's your own, which is a special feature of drama. And it is always obvious on stage if the director treats the text as literature (and then the performance happens to you) or if he treats it as a technical document (and then nothing happens to you in the theater).

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- The theater of the future - what is it like?

- I like the minimalism of modern theatre, the air it has and which is not dusted with heavy curtains. I think that the theater of the future will not be needed decorations at all in any sense of the word. The director's vision, the actor's penetration of the human being and, of course, the word are so powerful that they can influence on us much more than any other object on the stage. I have always been more interested in small theaters, where there are just bare walls, text, actors and a director. Nothing else is needed. And, of course, this trend will continue, when the theater is not just a place where you watched a performance and left, but a place for communication, other events, and discussions. The theatre is such electricity produced by people, and only people can support it. The "coming and going" mechanism does not work here. Standing still works. Muscles have to get used to the theater to make it work. Sometimes you go to one theater, and you want to stay there for a long time, regardless of whether you have a performance today or not. And sometimes you go to another theater, and you want to run away from there, so much artificial, it's as if you're even suffocating. There is a place of your own, and there are other people's places. A real theater smells like a forest. And you're able to breathe freely.

Earlier, Gala Uzryutova participated in other international projects: worked at writers' residences in Latvia and Slovenia, participated in the German-Russian project "VERSschmuggel - Poetic Diversion" (project of Goethe-Institute of Moscow and St. Petersburg and Berlin Literary Workshop), readings of the project "auslandSPRACHEN - DIE WOSTOKREIHE" in Berlin, the Literary Festival in Heidelberg, the German-Russian literary and photographic project Shots/Stories, etc.

About the author

Gala Uzryutova is a poet, playwright, novelist. Born in 1983 in Ulyanovsk. Graduated from Ulyanovsk State University, the Faculty of Culture and Art. Author of the book of poems "Turned around, and there was the forest" ("Russian Gulliver", Moscow, 2015), a collection of prose "The Snow I Missed" (Bookscriptor, Moscow, 2018), the Young Adult book "Sasha Country" (CompassGuide, Moscow, 2019). The author's texts were translated into German, English, Slovenian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Italian. Laureate of the Russian-Italian literary prize "Rainbow 2019", laureate of the literary prize Bookscriptor 2018, laureate of the International Drama contest of the European theatrical translation network Eurodram, laureate of the N.N. Blagov poetry prize (2016), laureate of the special poetry prize "Russian Gulliver 2014". Publications: Grand Tour. The Anthology of European Poetry (Carl Hansen Verlag, 2019, Germany), World Poetry book Poetic Encounters (Heidelberg and Fabriano, 2018), magazines Arion, Oktyabr, Sovremennaya Dramaturgiya, Guideon, Colon, Volga, Simbirsk; Bilingual anthology "Poetic Diversion" (Russia-Germany); collection "The Best Plays"; Kazakh-Russian anthology of young writers' texts, etc. Site https://www.galauzryutova.com/

About the "Culture on the Move" program

The Goethe Institute's program "Culture on the Move: the regional mobile fund in Eastern Europe and Central Asia" promotes cultural exchange and supports meetings of contemporary cultural figures, contributing to its further development in the region and Germany. The program aims to create and strengthen international cooperation structures. Within the framework of the program, travel scholarships are provided. The program is aimed at artists and cultural figures, as well as cultural institutions.   

Olga Timoshina