«how boring feast it was… nobody danced.
i will do differently next year.
there will be a proper party with nice music.»
villa dolorosa by rebekka kircheldorf may not be so widely popular among the contemporary theatre pieces usually performed, but its principal inspiration derives from one of the most unique world theatre treasures : three sisters by anton chekhov.
i was lucky enough to watch villa dolorosa at théatre de poche (french: pocket theatre), performed by this year’s graduate students of insas (institut national supérieur des arts du spectacle et des techniques de diffusion de la fédération wallonie-bruxelles).
it is commonly known, so far, how much i fancy rewritings of classical works and this was my first time to watch chekhov revisited. imagine my excitement, moreover, when coming into the theatre hall i heard the repeated music of carmen’s habanera… lights on, set, go! i got the feeling, in general, however, that the direction was rather experimental, which -to me- surpasses any wish towards a discreet postmodern approach. to much noise on stage, both sonic and visual, negatively disturbed the balance, which could have offered the otherwise minimalistic scenography. nevertheless, i really liked the choice of the rotation of actors performing the three sisters, who were partially performed by men in a very -admittedly- descent way! it was amazing to watch how well the manly irina had already studied her female preceding colleague, thus performing the role in an almost identical way. but -there may always be a but, while judging experimental realisations, i totally feel that it is partly because of this rotation that the play characters did not manage to be shown in their most complete sense. they were missing integrity indeed.
apart from any artistic critic, though, i also took the chance to reflect on my personal resolution, during the play… irina’s recurring line «i will do differently next year» sounded like such a familiar procrastination signal. all three sisters, self-conscious and thirsty for life are nevertheless flirting with a nervous breakdown, thus mirroring a whole generation which may starve for living a self-determined life, but which at the same time is still too weak to fight for its desires. still too badly trapped between two contradictory states of mind and soul: to wish. to lick the wounds. in vicious rotation.
all in all, masha’s monologue on the incompatible relation between arts and real life, totally touched one of my deepest weak spots. summarizing in just two words, masha shall cry:
until olga dares a radical step, putting relieved the relevant music on…
[ quit my job this morning, said forever i would hold my head up high ]
and this just a few months before my thirties.
just a few days after settling in a brave new world.
take the hint. keep calm and keep on reading chekhov.