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Alexander Zeldovich About His Play "Psychosis": "Nineteen Women Suffer On The Stage"
Alexander Zeldovich About His Play "Psychosis": "Nineteen Women Suffer On The Stage"

Video: Alexander Zeldovich About His Play "Psychosis": "Nineteen Women Suffer On The Stage"

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Suicide, insanity, scandal, fame - these and other collisions have surrounded the dying play "4.48 Psychosis" by 28-year-old British playwright Sarah Kane since its release. From 22 to 25 June, the premiere block of screenings of the surreal production of Psychosis, based on the play that exploded the theatrical context of the nineties, will take place. Film director Alexander Zeldovich, surrealistic video sets from AES + F artists, the text of the auto-requiem play and nineteen actresses from the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre combined in the main season premiere. In an interview with, director with a psychology degree, Alexander Zeldovich, talks about how to stage a play without characters, painlessly change a cinema lens to theatrical stage, and teach actresses to suffer so that no one gets hurt in the end.

Alexander, what can the audience expect from your directorial adaptation of Sarah Kane's cult suicide play? How spectacular and extraordinary will it be?

I hope it will be really spectacular, as this is a joint project with a group of contemporary artists and my close friends AES + F. We studied in the same class with Lev Evzovich, and we communicate throughout our lives. Lev helped me make my first feature film Sunset in 1990. In the play "4.48 Psychosis" neither characters, nor action, nor place are indicated. I had to come up with all this, get it out of the text. This is the ideal degree of directorial freedom. I created the context, and clarified, we composed visual images together with AES + F. Our advantage is that, thanks to many years of communication, our language is in many ways similar, we do not need to explain to each other for a long time.

Is a professional contemporary artist somehow different from a professional production designer when working on a performance?

Oh sure. The artist is guided by the world art context and exists in it. His creative thinking is focused on a laconic and self-sufficient artistic gesture. AES + F in this project are not production designers, but the creators of a part of the overall artistic design. It was an experiment, an attempt to create a full dialogue.

The theater of the “in your face” format, which includes the work of Sarah Kane, should, in theory, make the viewer feel like he has dipped his head into a garbage can. You have a very emotional creativity, burlesque is expected of you. What range of audience feelings do you play in this production?

Something is unpleasant, something is frightening, something is shocking. There is a lot of burlesque in the play, a lot of funny, it is alive, although it is a tragedy.

Tell us about working with text. Have you ordered a separate translation?

Yes, we have made a new translation. My friend Dmitry Volchek advised me Valery Nugatov, with whom I was very pleased. Before that, there was only one translation - Tatiana Oskolkova, it is good in many ways, but, in my opinion, it was more difficult to play, more difficult to pronounce. The new translation is easier to do from a stage point of view, to play, to pronounce. Getting closer to the original in this case is not an easy task, since Sarah Kane has excellent, extra-class and extra-quality English. We tried to preserve all this during translation.

Life, death, suffering, eternity, love, search for oneself, fear, shock - the categorical apparatus articulated by Sarah Kane in 1990 still sounds quite modern …

Kane wrote this play as a very young and already very famous playwright with a triumphant career. She wrote it as an auto-requiem, there are many different theaters in it: when a person tries to make the last play, he makes it as voluminous as possible. Kane was a very educated person; this play has everything - Chekhov, Shakespeare, Hamlet, and Faust. An infinite number of allusions: unfortunately, I still do not know enough English drama and English poetry in the original to recognize them all.


The theme is universal: a play about love, about life, about death. About the need for love. But they are experienced by a woman, and this is specific. There is male love and there is female love, they are different. There is spiritual male and female suffering. There is a man and a woman author. This is a little bit different, another body, another nervous system.

It turns out that this play was written by a woman about a woman, but it is directed by a man. How will this affect the result?

As a man, it is interesting for me to look at the feminine.

The play is polyphonic - do you think there is an autobiographical character of Sarah Kane among the conventional heroines? Or is she in all this multitude?

She's in abundance. But even if, in my opinion, there is such a character, I will not point a finger at him, it would be tactless. There are wonderful actresses in the troupe, each plays a certain edge.

Having caught a fragment of the rehearsal, I saw that in the AES + F video sets there is a completely full-fledged character, which, frankly, is difficult to describe in words. Who is it?

One 3D character is really involved in the action, he has a text. He turns out to be the twentieth.

You are a filmmaker who is putting on a performance for the second time. How did it work for you?

In the theater, in four hours I was as tired as I was not exhausted for a double shift on the cinema. The energy is completely different: it's like when you change the sport and other muscles start to work. It's like moving from boxing to aikido. Or from a sprint to an obstacle course.

Why did you choose the Electrotheatre for the production ?

First, the Electrotheatre and its artistic director Boris Yukhananov showed interest in the project, for which many thanks to them. The theater has undergone a global reconstruction, now it is completely modernized. It has a wonderful modern stage and a very strong technical unit. But the main thing was a large and talented troupe, from which one could freely recruit actors. I don’t know where else, if not here, it would be possible to put this text on such a staging level, after all, Sarah Kane is “off Broadway”.

Art group AES + F (Lev Evzovich, Tatiana Arzamasova, Vladimir Fridkes, Evgeny Svyatsky) and Alexander Zeldovich (center). © Vladimir Fridkes

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