by Bohdan Pankrukhin & Kirill Serebrennikov
Translated by Kyra Heye
Inspired by a story by Nikolai Gogol
Directed by Kirill Serebrennikov
Thalia Theater Hamburg
At a time when war in Europe brings death and destruction, the extraordinary production "The Viy" unites artists in the spirit of freedom. The Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov was one of the most prominent figures of the cultural resistance against the Kremlin long before the war in Ukraine. He was sentenced to years of house arrest in Moscow after a politically motivated court ruling and has been living in exile in Germany for over a year. Serebrennikov realizes artistically what is currently almost impossible in reality: international partnerships between artists who, regardless of their background, are united by the same values. He does this with the words of author Nikolai Gogol, who was born in the Ukraine in 1809.
Gogol wrote down a Ukrainian folk tale in 1835: "The Viy", a fantasy classic that became the subject of fantasy and horror films. Reason has to fight against the dark forces of the Viy, a demon from the underworld whose eyes are mostly covered by his large lids. His gaze kills. He represents absolute terror. Kirill Serebrennikov reworks the material in a radically contemporary way under the impression of current conditions. He fashions a counter-image of European art that believes in the humane, not the power of destruction.
The production opens one's eyes to the monstrous dehumanization of war. It confronts the horrors of armed conflict: realistic, hardly bearable, frightening, raw. It cannot be described with conventional categories of theater, it deliberately eludes them. Yet "The Viy" is also a beacon of hope: it unites a Russian director, a Ukrainian author, and an international ensemble of Russian, Ukrainian and German actors.
With: Filipp Avdeev, Bernd Grawert, Johannes Hegemann, Pascal Houdus, Viktoria Miroshnichenko, Falk Rockstroh, Rosa Thormeyer, Oleksandr Yatsenko
Direction, Stage and Costume Design: Kirill Serebrennikov
Collaboration on the stage design: Elena Bulochnikova
Costume Design: Shalva Nikvashvili
Music: Daniel Freitag
Choreografy: Ivan Estegneev, Evgeny Kulagin
Lighting Design: Sergej Kuchar
Artistic collaboration: Anna Shalashova
Dramaturgy: Matthias Günther
Translation: Kyra Heye
Language notice: an international production in many languages without surtitles
Note: The production deals with war and violence.