On the Edge
Ivan Vazov National Theatre of Bulgaria, Sofia
premiere 16 April 2015, Main stage
Author and director
Slav Bistrev – doublebass
George Palikarski – violin
Samuil Pavlov – accordion
Deyan Donkov, Renny Vrangova, Valery Yordanov, Darin Angelov, Deyan Angelov, Plamen Peev, Teodor Elmazov, Albena Koleva, Stoyan Alexiev, Hristo Petkov, Velislav Pavlov, Radena Valkanova, Iliana Kodzhabasheva, Albena Stavreva, Ivan Yurukov, Leart Dokle, Eva Danailova, Blagovest Blagoev, Dimitar Nikolov, Simeon Galabov, Zlatina Nikiforova
A group of people meet on the roof of the building they live in and witness a friend of theirs jump from a roof across the street. They stare into the dirty city, talk about life in desperation. Convinced that their friend took the best decision, they take hands and jump all together.
As they fall, passing the worn, ugly facade of the building, a new scene reveals the boxes of soviet panel apartments. People there have hidden from the world, each of them absorbed in his thoughts about an insurmountable personal crisis – the widow, the jobless one, the unaccomplished writer, the wife of the unfaithful husband, the young couple, the lonely woman, the soccer fan… A cascade of thoughts throws us into the new day on a busy street. Life goes on in cycles, repeated actions and lines, repeated sounds, repeated anger. The street is the inevitable curse – where the weak are mocked and abused by the rich. Towards the end of the show the normal person is now an inhabitant of the landfill. Their common faith created a small community that celebrates the new year with findings from the street bins. These ragged and shabby people are the last Bulgarians – all the rest have left to a better life abroad. Difficult life has taken away the child from its parents, the loved one from his partner, the brother, the friend, or the stranger that you used to greet each morning on your way to work.
“On the Edge” is an emotional response to the social environment in Bulgaria in the past decades. Morfov originally intended to stage a classical text about Odysseus’ journey far from home. As he began rehearsals he encountered so many personal stories about young and capable people leaving the country that he altered his idea, showing the other side of the story – what happens to those who decide to stay.
Reading the reports of the European Commission is not necessary. Corruption is everywhere in Bulgaria, mafia-protected figures occupy major political positions, the judicial system is helpless and the common man is getting more and more isolated from business interests, moral decline is extensively imposed. Their children leave the country to seek better living, rarely call or send money as life is difficult everywhere around the world. The five-piece production incorporates physical and dance theatre features and reveals its message through very short but recognisable repartees – the arrogant nouveaux riche, the exhausted housewife, the gang from the neighbourhood, the desperate father – all of them standing on the edge of a high building, ready to jump into a better reality.
Every leaving plane is a marked by a moment of silence. It is a sudden realisation that we are abandoned to fight poverty and injustice alone.
video: Yavor Vesselinov
video: Ivan Yurukov