For the last two weeks or so, Victoria and I have been writing the play.
The first stage was to read through all of the interview transcripts - hours of interviews with around fifteen people, telling us about their experiences moving from the villages to the towns in the late Soviet period. We tuned in our eyes and ears to pick out the most striking material; both standalone anecdotes (people's accounts of the first time they saw a trolleybus, a woman who moved to Siberia after seeing a stirring film called 'Sel'skaia uchitel'nitsa', a woman whose grandmother did fortune telling and magically found a neighbour's lost cow) and short, pithy comments and observations about their experiences. We eventually chose one of these short, pithy comments to be the title of our play: one man related something his grandmother used to say - 'где хлеб, там и родина' (roughly, 'home is where the bread is') - a practical, pragmatic way of thinking about home. Where is home and what does it mean? was, as you can imagine, a theme which was at the heart of what people talked about. What if bread and home pulled a person in two separate directions?
Our writing of the play itself had to be pragmatic -shaped by the resources we currently have to get it performed. Two young actors from Vologda offered to help. To be able to represent as many people's stories as possible with two actors, we decided that we would not simply have two characters in the play. Instead, the speech of the two actors will be made up of different people's speech. We decided to set the play in a train station, but not one which is obviously in the town or the country - a place of transition, and a place of chance encounters where these voices could come together and share their memories.
We'll keep you posted as plans for the performance develop!
06.07.2010 14:39 (1 Kommentare)
A link to our project has been posted on the National Identities in Russia from 1961 project website: http://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/russian/nationalism/links.htm This project brings together Russian and British scholars working on the theme of national identities, traditions, and deterritorialization in Russia after 1961. It also publishes a...
04.06.2010 16:23 (1 Kommentare)
Semi-Structured Interview: Place of origin: describe the place where you were born? What sort of house did you live in as a child? How many people lived in your house? What are your earliest memories of the place? What did you do there as a child? What sorts of games did you play? Did you go to school in the village? What was the...
23.05.2010 18:47 (0 Kommentare)
Last week, I discussed with a Russian colleague in Oxford some possibile locations for our theatre performance in Russia and London. One realistic option might be Pushkin House in London (http://www.pushkinhouse.org/en). The director of institute, Julian Gallant, recently visited Oxford and was very keen to attract new exciting events. I...