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!
11.05.2010 21:45 (0 Kommentare)
I have been making the press release to our project for the last two weeks. First of all, I contemplated about a general idea of the press-release. Obviously, I wanted to create a little bit more than an ordinary and official statement about our project. I felt I needed to tell a story. Avoiding fluff, embellishments, and exaggerations, I was...
11.05.2010 00:00 (0 Kommentare)
Dear readers, a final press-release (in the form an interview) in which I summed up the outcomes of our project turned out to be become a curious completion of the work. You may look through it here: http://www.hse.spb.ru/owneyes/material.php?id=1293533942 If you don't know Russian I'll quote the most interesting passage (to my...
27.04.2010 22:38 (0 Kommentare)
Following on from our meeting in Oder, Dmitry, Sveta and I met in St Petersburg to discuss in more detail the division of responsibility on the project and our individual timetables. Speaking with Anna through skype, we decided that it made more sense for the Russian-based colleagues to carry out the interview work over the next months while...