The Mystery of Spirit
Many authors throughout history have offered their own rendition of the classic myth. This antique story focuses on Phaedra, wife of Theseus, king of Athens, who fatally falls in love with her husband’s son, Hippolytus. Different versions of the myth tell a varying story: in some, Phaedra is obsessed with the young Hippolytus and his rejection pushes her into madness; in others, she tries to fight these feelings, understanding their illicit nature.
For this staging of Phaedra, Roman Viktyuk reached for Marina Tsvetaeva’s verse poem in which the author sides with the protagonist, overpowered by love, yet fully aware of the weight her feelings carry. However, Roman Viktyuk’s Phaedra does not focus so much on the characters, as it is more about the ritual of theatre, a deliberately created sacred spiritual space on stage. It is not the plot of the poem but the passion, the emotions and the energies embedded in Tsvetaeva’s text that interest Viktyuk the most.
One can take part in this ritual only by accepting their juxtaposed animalistic and divine natures, where ‘animalistic’ carries its original pre-christian meaning of honest and present. Director Roman Viktyuk constantly searches for primordial divinity and pre-human nature in the characters of his productions, and Phaedra brings him very close to his goal.
Cast and Characters
Face of Phaedra – her mask
Hon. Artist of the Russian Federation
Reaching after perfection in motion, and in this sense, certainly, being the successor of Tairov’s theatrical ideas, Viktyuk builds the performance as a series of spectacular still images. This show about life and death, about love that leads to death, for both Tsvetaeva, and Viktyuk, is a show about the challenge of the Gods. Viktyuk emphasizes this idea by including a quote from Tsvetaeva’s diary: Tsvetaeva, at last, too, defied the God when she put her head in a noose.Phaedra by Viktyuk is a tragedy of rebel against the Gods and , naturally, human powerlessness in this fight. Poetry, as well as life, is opposed to silence, Viktyuk in his performance achieves perfection in control over the human body, and the verse, and the silence on stage.
Grigoriy Zaslavskiy «Independent Newspaper»