After countless turmoils with a Russian transportation service, several changes of the program and a race for seats in the hall, “Old-World Landowners” was performed at the festival. The more difficult part for us, who have watched it, was to survive emotionally, because it is a greater than life staging of Gogol’s text.
While immersing yourself in the incredible coziness of the life of Pulcheria Ivanovna and Afanasiy Ivanovich – the owners of the warm home, well-stocked with sweets, tea, vodka and guests – suddenly you are turned into a part of this stage life. Although the expression techniques are far from reality, the gentle navigation hidden in the acting and the careful construction and balance between each element used impose on the audience a reality that decisively replaces the one we have brought with us at the performance.
As you watch the two elderly enjoy the apple jam with fine devotion, or how every joke is forgiven, only if it is followed by something very tasty and enjoyable, you are constantly shocked by the directors’ inventions that rise before your eyes. Just to mention a few – the fact that during the show apple jam is actually boiled on the stove, the undressing dance with which the two leave each other in their undergartmenths and lie in the family bed, or how they create music with tea cups… At one point (the one with the cups) all of this becomes so overwhelming that you get angry – how can this performance be so good?
But soon you find that it’s not yet revealed why you see all of this and that we all are the victims of an illusion – this story is not of the joy of life, but of the only thing that can stop it. Suddenly, the song about the delight that comes with use of matter catches the human heart and stretches it’s gentle strings to a tingling shock. Because the time comes when matter leaves the soul. And the soul wonders: Will my beloved will wear warm and ironed clothes? How will he live without me? How will he dance alone? No need to worry though – everything will be fine, you’re waiting for him on the other side.