ARKHANGELSK. The cruelties and horrors of war have been described in a convincing way by famous Soviet writer Isaac Babel. He was himself enrolled in the Red Cavalry during the Russian Civil War (1918 -1921), and later wrote short stories based on his experiences. The “Red Cossak” Semeon Boudenniy was disappointed with Babel´s book “Konarmy”, and tried to prevent its publishing, but Babel was supported Maxim Gorky, the father of “socialistic realism” in Soviet literature.
Several years ago a group of Moscow actors, led by Dmitry Brusnikin created a big theatre play based on “Konarmy”. It was directed by Maxim Didenko. The play is a strange mix of drama, opera, ballet and modern art, where actors have to demonstrate good physical abilities and be ready to play nude. This year “Konarmy” was the highlight at the Arkhangelsk theatre festival “European Spring. Theatre leader Brusnikin presented his project on Cosmonaut’s Day, 12th of April – 56 years after Yuri Gagarin´s short trip (108 minutes) around the Earth. Not a bad date for launching something extraordinary, unusual, outstanding, something that became the central point of the festival.
Brusnikin’s tour to the Russian Civil War was longer – about three hours. His concept of this tragedy is quiet optimistic. In this world, everything depends on people, and even under unbelievable cruel conditions of war, ordinary people might be reasonable in their emotions and fears. Especially if they feel that they support good principles of life and a truthful ideology. Perhaps, this vision comes closest to Babel’s own one.
“Konarmy” made a great success at the Arkhangelsk Drama Theatre. Victor Panov, the leader of Arkhangelsk’s Youth Theater and main organizer of “European Spring”, presented his friends and colleagues after the performance.
/ GRIGORY DITYATEV
More info – “Konarmy” was discussed in main local medias: