STANISLAVSKY ELECTROTHEATRE

We are creating an 'electrozone' around us, in which a myriad of art events related to music, fine art, varied images of modern literature, and an educational program will unfold. It is a space that is open to the city. You can come here in the morning for a cup of coffee in our foyer. But this is not just a way of spending leisure time. This is a place where you will have to put some effort into comprehending modern culture.
(Boris Yukhananov, 2015).

The Stanislavsky Electrotheatre arose on the site of the former Stanislavsky Drama Theatre due to an auteur conception that was put into effect by Boris Yukhananov after he won a competition to fill the open position of artistic director in 2013. The idea to declare an open competition belonged to Moscow's Department of Culture and was based on the need for changes in the theatre, which for many years had experienced a creative and managerial crisis. The final decision was based on the expert opinion of the professional theatre community, which recognized the quality of Yukhananov's strategy, many-faceted, free in spirit, yet at the same time pragmatic.

In the course of a year and a half, the theatre underwent a large-scale reconstruction that was carried out by the Wowhaus architectural bureau, radically changing not only the stage, but also the public space. Additionally, the repertoire and artistic program were completely updated.

The Stanislavsky Electrotheatre opened it doors to the public in January 2015 with a light show and video mapping on the facade of the theatre to the music of Dmitri Kourliandski.

Одним из самых ярких мероприятий открытия Электротеатра СТАНИСЛАВСКИЙ стало световое шоу на фасаде здания театра 26 января 2015 года. Шоу «Электрофасад» подготовлено командой Электротеатра и компанией «Сила света».

THE BACCHAE

The theatre's first premiere was Theodoros Terzopoulos's production of The Bacchae. It’s foundation was the training that the Electrotheatre company went through with the director, and it represented a modern director’s perception of ancient Greek tragedy.

Terzopoulos had previously worked in Russian theatres, but the contribution he made in the sphere of mastering the actor’s potential while working at the Electrotheatre was especially important. This was accompanied by the publication of his first book in Russian, The Return of Dionysus. Based on the director's deep experience as a teacher, it was published in the Electroheatre’s Theatre and its Diary series. In essence it is a director's and teacher’s diary, and it is suitable for practical use as Terzopoulos describes his exercises in detail. The Bacchae featured a unique cast of actors led by Yelena Morozova and Alla Kazakova, who beautifully performed highly refined roles that were musically and choreographically complex.


"Everyone in this theatre works! The atmosphere here is that of a great, big family. Yukhananov is building a utopia that is deserving of admiration"(Theodoros Terzopoulos, 2015).

The Electrotheatre got off to a powerful start thanks, in part, to Yukhananov’s inviting several major foreign masters to collaborate with his company (Theodoros Terzopulos, Romeo Castellucci and Heiner Goebbels in 2015, and Katie Mitchell with her Five Truths installation from the Victoria and Albert Museum). This helped prepare the public for more, as it witnessed high levels of art and an openness to different styles. The presence of these names on a marquee at the geographical and cultural center of Moscow raised the status of Yukhananov himself – by means of "an overall increase in the quality of productions, rather than of individual parts," as the director himself had predicted in his original proposal for taking over the Stanislavsky Theatre.

THE HUMAN USE OF HUMAN BEINGS

Romeo Castellucci was known to Russian audiences as a frequent participant in international festivals. His performance-installations made a strong impression on the Russian public with their radical form and the severity of the director’s message. But The Human Use of Human Beings, rehearsed before the Electrotheatre’s official opening, was the director’s first work with a permanent Russian company. The premiere of Human Use, based on the biblical story of the resurrection of Lazarus, took place in July 2015. For the performance, the simultaneous viewing of which was possible only for 100 people, the theatre’s entire foyer was covered with a special polyethylene film, while, on the Main stage one could sit directly on a felt floor watching the artists bring in and manipulate a huge circle bearing text in a universal language invented by Claudia and Romeo Castellucci. Human Use emerged as an incredibly important experience, both for those within the theatre who performed its complex mechanics, and for the spectators who encountered the consciousness of a highly unique artist, one who works in a theatre as he might in a modern museum.


"Theatre in Russia is a form of art so deeply felt that I am deeply shocked every time I come here. I have been friends for many years with Boris Yukhananov, the artistic director of the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre. Our relationship evolved philosophically and intellectually, but we were always on the same wave. As soon as I began working here I understood how deep our dialogue is."
(Romeo Castellucci, 2015).

MAX BLACK, OR 62 WAYS OF SUPPORTING A HEAD WITH A HAND

The renowned German composer and director Heiner Goebbels was also familiar to the Russian public due to his participation in the Chekhov Festival and special productions within the Golden Mask Festival. Goebbels created a new version of his production Max Black, or 62 Ways of Supporting a Head with a Hand especially for the Electrotheatre (the first was created for the Swiss theatre Vidy-Lausanne). This technically sophisticated and "old school" performance for one artist (Alexander Panteleyev brilliantly coped with the role of a scientist-physicist who tests not only pyrotechnics but also paradoxes of modern philosophy and science in his laboratory) was an important experiment in combining a composer’s mentality, technology, high precision work with space and objects and, in fact, text. Max Black participated in the Theatre Olympics in Wroclaw (October 2016), was nominated for a Golden Mask Award in the experiment category (spring 2017), and was invited to perform at the TEART international festival (Minsk, October 2017). Goebbels, whose visits to Moscow are always accompanied by public appearances and master classes, has won the love and respect of the professional community and of those who are seriously interested in contemporary theatre. Goebbels’ book The Aesthetics of Absence was translated by theatre expert Olga Fedyanina and published in the Electrotheatre’s Theatre and its Diary book series. It is one of the most important works today about contemporary theatre and music. The Colta website named this book a cultural event of the year for 2016.


“Tremendous energy was needed to build the Electrotheatre, as well as massive energy for the uncompromising work of seeking unencumbered artistic solutions. This is one of those rare houses that supports the artist no matter what he decides to do".
(Heiner Goebbels, 2015).

These three immersions in the technology and methods of working with fundamentally different, though highly tuned artistic consciousnesses determined the paradigm of the Electrotheatre’s existence. It is a theatre that is open to experiment and the challenges that one associates with contemporary art. The artistic vectors of the theatre’s future were expressed in what these three directors proposed. Two of them – Goebbels and Castellucci – are also, respectively, a composer and an artist.

Another vector of Yukhananov's artistic policy was to invite Russian filmmakers of different generations and methods to work on his Main stage. Over a period of two seasons, productions were mounted by Alexander Ogaryov, Roman Drobot, Alexander Zeldovich, Philip Grigorian, Vladimir Kosmachevsky, Yury Kvyatkovsky, Yury Muravitsky and Kirill Vyotoptov.

Another aspect of the Electrotheatre’s artistic policy was the production of shows by young directors. Beginning in fall of 2016 the newly built Small stage became a space for debuts in the framework of the Golden Ass project. Ten productions based on Russian and foreign classics, as well as on contemporary drama, each conceived in their own way, virtually formed a full repertoire within the theatre’s repertoire. Thus did young directors, designers, composers and choreographers make their first statement before Moscow’s professional community and general public.

In creating the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre, Boris Yukhananov offered the city of Moscow a unique theatre multiplex consisting of highly-equipped Main and Small stages that are intended to support both dramatic and musical theatre, as well as a foyer, a coat check area and a stairwell where performances and concerts take place. In the midst of a productive environment of public interaction, this international center of directing, as Yukhananov envisions it, is called upon to promote cultural tourism and the prestige of the city. Educational programs, concerts, film screenings by the Cine Fantom film club, cultural actions and exhibits have all become a productive and innovative medium for communicating and interacting with the public. Combined with the high quality of the theatre’s productions, all of this has provided the effect of a cultural multiplier. The principal tenor of the Electrotheatre’s work is its extensive international activity and the promotion of the theatre abroad. Many of its productions are equipped with English subtitles, while every bit of the theatre’s print product, including the website, are produced in English and Russian. Guest lectures and master classes are conducted in the theatre’s foyer. Beginning in the 2017/18 season, two parts of the Drillalians opera series will be screened in American and European cinemas. The video version of The Blue Bird will be shown on platforms at university libraries around the world.


“This is the best production I have ever seen of this play. I am very inspired. I will return to the United States inspired to continue writing.”
(Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, following the premiere of his play Anna in the Tropics).

DRILLALIANS

By mounting musical projects that are of prime importance for the Russian stage (primarily the Drillalians opera series (2015), music for which was written by six top contemporary Russian composers: Dmitri Kourliandski, Boris Filanovsky, Sergej Newsky, Alexei Sysoev, Alexei Sioumak, and Vladimir Runnev), Yukhananov revived the original purpose of this Moscow theatre. It was, after all, founded by Konstantin Stanislavsky in the 1930s and was named the Opera-Drama Studio. At the end of the 2016/2017 season Yukhananov and Dmitri Kourliandsk’s opera Octavia. Trepanation opened up new horizons for the Electrotheatre in an international context. It was mounted as a co-production with the Holland Festival, an “A” class festival. In May 2017, the Electrotheatre became a member of the Union of European Theatres, a prestigious international organization supporting the high status of theatre as an institution.

Сверлийцы. Трейлер

GALILEO. OPERA FOR VIOLIN AND SCHOLAR

The theatre unveiled a new performance space in July 2017 - the Theatre Yard, an environment for enlightened communication, and the perfect place for outdoor activities, festivals, and performances. The debut production in the Theatre Yard was Galileo. Opera for Violin and Scholar, a co-production of the Electrotheatre and the Polytechnical Museum. The scholastic conception of the project, music for which was written by five contemporary composers (Dmitri Kourliandski, Sergej Newsky, Kirill Chernegin, Pavel Karmanov and Kuzma Bodrov) belonged to the soloist and violinist Yelena Revich. The role of the scholar was performed by mathematician and physicist Grigory Amosov. The production perfectly fitted the concept of the Electrotheatre as a place that illuminates everything around it with "rays" of humanitarian knowledge.

Uniting modern opera, multi-genre projects and dramatic theatre in one space, Yukhananov took the only course possible in today's cultural environment – he rejected narrow specialization and the destruction of formats, which the modern spectator has justly begun to mistrust. It is no accident that the director in Yukhananov’s artistic agenda is called the "integral leader".

Трейлер «Галилео. Опера для скрипки и ученого»

«We call the production an opera for violin and scholar, although many believe that in an opera someone must necessarily sing. In fact, this is not true, of course. An opera is a composite performance. I have long wanted to burn a great scientist, and I finally can do so with the participation of a few geniuses of contemporary music. As such, a lecture, transformed into a stunning, condensed dramatic text, goes up in flames.
(Boris Yukhananov, m24.ru, July 19, 2017).

THE BLUE BIRD

The inventive connection between the theatre’s present and past proved to be extremely important for the climate inside the theatre, as well as for the artistic context as a whole. The Blue Bird (2015), Yukhananov's first work with the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre (i.e., the former Stanislavsky Drama Theatre), offered up a meeting of actors from the older generation with a highly contemporary theatrical language. Actors’ reminiscences about their personal and historical past, carefully selected and interwoven, were merged structurally and meaningfully with Maurice Maeterlinck’s play, which occupies a legendary place in Russian theatre. The language of the play, combining the visionary fantasies of designer Yury Kharikov and costume designer Anastasia Nefyodova, presupposes a multivalent conversation with the public: it reflects both a historical and theatrical past, a multicultural image of the present, as well as individual experience and cultural memory. The Blue Bird, conceived by Maeterlinck as a symbolic journey into the past and future at the same time, became a key offering on the renovated theatre’s marquee.

Трейлер спектакля «Синяя птица»
«Синяя птица. Путешествие». Трейлер
Трейлер фильма «Синяя птица. Трансформация»

THE CONSTANT PRINCIPLE

Yukhananov’s second dramatic production on the Electrotheatre’s Main stage was The Constant Principle (2015) after Calderon and Pushkin. It drew parallels not only between eras (medieval religious wars and modern conflicts spurred by fundamentalism), but also different acting methods. Igor Yatsko, an actor from the School of Dramatic Art, where the first version of the play was staged in 2013, provided a perfectionism and passion that made him the ideal Prince Fernando. The introduction of a highly skilled performance of poetic text was extremely important for the theatre as a whole. The Constant Principle, which runs approximately six hours in one or two days, was a response to modern political and social processes that divided the once unified space of Europe and the world in general.

Трейлер спектакля «Стойкий принцип»
Трейлер спектакля «Стойкий принцип»

THE GOLDEN ASS

The Golden Ass (2016) project, which ran over several five-day periods, was unique, even unparalleled in theatrical practice. It was constructed as a compilation of many etudes, sample scenes and finished fragments based on the novel by Apuleius. Meanwhile, Yukhananov’s own presence in it was that of a kind of demiurge and despoiler, a commentator and interrogator, and, ultimately, as a performer. In tandem with the performance’s open-ended structure, this offered a new theatrical experience that had no analogues in domestic practice. The heterogeneity of the elements in The Golden Ass allowed the public to engage and be engaged in a new type of theatre that lacked the old criteria for "quality," but which offered the opportunity for risky, exciting, lively communication. Critics noted the unique character of the project, describing it as an unprecedented space for communication in contemporary theatre.

Трейлер спектакля «Золотой осёл»

Thus is the artistic policy of the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre being built, freely and with purpose, openly and without prejudice favoring comfortable old ideas. Here world-renowned masters work alongside young artists, while the repertoire consists of multidisciplinary projects that are performed on three stages, as well as in the foyer, the coat rack area, an outdoor courtyard, and a grand stairwell.

The Stanislavsky Electrotheatre, as the new artistic director promised, is in the process of becoming a model for highbrow urban entertainment, where theatre and education, leisure and intellectual endeavors, interactive communication and the opportunity for thoughtful solitude are combined skillfully and generously. The Electrotheatre today is a cultural oasis created by Boris Yukhananov right in the center of Moscow. It is a place lacking in restrictions, ideal for the contemporary urban landscape.