V. F. Komissarzhevskoy Theatre
St. Petersburg, Russia
premiere 19 July 2009, Main stage
Set & costumes
190 min., with intermission
Margarita Bychkova, Sergey Byzgu, Olga Arikova, Oksana Bazilewich, Evgenia Igumnova/ Olga Belyavskaya, Kristina Kuzmina/ Inna Antsiferova, Alexandra Sydoruk, Elizaveta Nilova, Anatoliy Gorin, Denis Pyanov, Rodion Prihodko, Egor Bakulin, Ivan Batarev, Vladimir Krylov, Alexander Bolshakov, Evgeniy Ganelin, Yuriy Ershov/ Evgeniy Ivanov, Sergey Kolosov/ Genadiy Grigorov, Arseniy Ivankowich, Mashenka Baryshnikova, Ilyusha Grinin, Alexander Bargman
You know how to walk on tightrope?
Of course, you know how to - otherwise you would have died... An angels is holding you!
Each morning after you wake up you start walking on a very thin string
keeping a balance between love and hate, nobility and meanness,
generosity and greed, anger and patience.
And all around you - spectators. Half of them want you to fall.
And then there's the other half - those who love you. Also there are your angels.
Place of action - the area near the Havana port; time of action - the eve of the Cuban Revolution. Here they are - the actors from a travelling circus - the "soap angels" - who tried their luck and bought a lottery ticket; the lottery ticket got them a fully furnished cottage... They gave away all the possessions to neighbours and started for a joyful journey to their new life, but their joy was about to be fade soon...
The sad characters of Quintero can be both funny and serious as their lives are full of both dramatic and comic experiences - from joyful childish sincerity to frightening anger, egoism and love. And there is no point of asking where or when this is happening as it is always happening here and now.
What does a director need to sacrifice for his profession?
Very often – his personal life. It also happens that you are forced, want it or not, to accept different people as they are – impersistent, not loving, not understanding… While I can’t live without love and when love is on hold – I make up for myself a new, intriguing fantasy or some imagery. It’s important to me that I’m always in a state of being in love. But sometimes, when you are busy loving, you forget about your family. Then your closest ones become victims of your latest devotion. This is a heavy burdon because you realise – it’s not suppose to be like that, they are not suppose to forgive you every time. But, thank God, I’m often forgiven…
Who do you address with the “Soap Angels”?
All the people. We wanted to make a human production. I knew that there would be the choosy viewers who won’t like it – the modern theatre critics, the conceptualists who always know how modern theatre should sound like. But I’m interested in the common, sensitive, sentimental viewer. When you present him, the one who chose to come and see this show, with specific problems – without trying to make him look stupid or dumb – he suddenly becomes interested in analysing those for himself, for his own life. If the person on stage is not simply showing off or trying to look like a big star but is asking humanely each viewer in the hall – “And what about you – do you want to be loved?” – then each viewer will answer. I think theatre should pose simple, human problems. Every scene from this production brings a different message. If we try now to separate a single thought or a single emotion – it would make the production very poor. At the end of it, the most important message is to remain human, to preserve our souls regardless of the circumstances. We have to forgive. We have to love and to forgive.
~ Alexander Morfov, interview by S. Volodina, "Vash dosug", January 2010
It was clear to me that mr. Morfov staged his finest production on that stage. The reasons that made mr. Morfov stage the play by the "progressive Cuban playwright" Hector Quintero were clear yet on the very premiere. [...] Alexander Morfov sees no reason for dances: for him it's perfectly enough that Quintero's play bears a striking resemblance to a random Latin American soap opera. But those TV producers can only dream of such a director.
The Promised Circus | Andrey Pronin, Kommersant - SPB, 22.09.2009
"Soap Angles" - another confession of love for theatre by this director. It seems that in his life theatre is the only reality for escaping all miseries. Alexander Morfov captivated Russia back with his first work on the stage of "Komissarzhevskaya" Theatre. He continues his work in theatre and in cinema in his native Bulgaria, while staging two productions in Moscow's "Lenkom" Theatre in the past ten years. A simple story told crystal clear to us by the director.
The Angels of Freedom | Elena Yurinskaya, Rossiyskaya gazeta, 23.09.2009
[Byzgu] builds yet another incredibly detailed character of the "little man" and helps Bychkova fully expand her acting talent. His indifference towards life outside of the circus is replaced by hatred for his wife, interrupting the circus' life, this hatred turns into thirst for revenge, this thurst into uncertainty, this uncertainty into contempt, and the contempt into an unexpected love. And there is nobody, as it seems, who can love and support one's neighbour like the one who can have a good laugh in the most tragic moment of life, as difficult as it may be. There is a mad, mad world around us and survival is only found through the heroism of the clown mask. Keep smiling, gentlemen, you will neither escape, nor sail away from it.
No Escape | Ekaterina Ometsinskaya, Reklama-Chance, 02.10.2009
The hand of the director Alexander Morfov is strong and skilled one. He personally translated and adapted the somewhat forgotten play of Hector Quintero, then orchestrated an excellent company.
Soap Angels | M. Kingisepp, Pulse, October 2009
TOURS & NOMINATIONS:
Presented at the Arts festival "Baltic Seasons" - Kaliningrad, Russia, 2010
Presented at the International "Ohrid Summer" Festival - Ohrid, Macedonia, 2011
Presented at the Bitola Cultural Summer - Bitola, Macedonia, 2011
Nomination for 2009 "The Golden Soffit" theatre award, St. Petersburg, Russia - Margarita Bychkova, Leading Female Role of the Year