Krasnodar, 12 September – Yug Times. The first night of The Philistines after Maxim Gorky will be staged in Krasnodar on October 4 and 5. This premiere will begin the 99th season of the Krasnodar Drama Theatre – like it was in 1920, when The Philistines became the first play of the new theatre. Then it was perceived as a certain symbol of social disintegration reflected in the dramatic art of the 20th century. We asked Producer Gennadi Shaposhnikov to recount why the themes of the previous centuries may be interesting for contemporary theatre.
“I think that classical texts gain more favour [with contemporary audience] because they have been checked by time. It’s human generations, but mot human beings themselves, that change over time.
“Why has there always been a conflict between parents and children? All begins with not being able to understand each other’s lives. Definitely there are moments when a child does not hear his or her parents, and the parents do not hear their child. It’s two different distances, to different worlds – forever, if I may say. That is why it’s an eternal theme.
“Gorki presents this conflict in the social aspect. That’s what’s reflected in The Philistines.
“At rehearsals, we can’t stop being surprised at the feeling that absolutely nothing has changed since the play was written in 1903. Why? Because we are used to thinking that we are at the threshold of a new turn of the human history, when we are able to change everything globally. But we can’t. So in the future there will be new human beings wishing to utterly ruin everything to begin to build their bright future. But the things will resume their normal course. This is the main theme of Gorki’s play.
“As for the family – it’s another big enigma: why can’t close relatives hear one another? Why don’t they want to understand the changes, or to accept them, or to be more tolerant? Why does it all happen? Gorki didn’t answer this question. Even the wisest text can’t answer it – what they can is ask the question. Literature must ask questions, but it should not provide answers. “I like it when after a play some spectator says: ‘I have seen it for the third time, and every time I saw it I think that I should call Mum.’ It means that art does have a certain influence upon the human nature – and that our efforts haven’t been useless.”
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