Theatrical censorship: feeling like 1983 yet?


March 31, 2015 by AK

This is shameful and sad. Russian theater seems to be going through a golden age but artistic censorship can quickly put an end to it. Timofey Kuliabin, principal director at the Red Torch drama theater in Novosibirsk, is one of the younger contributors to this renaissance, well respected for his stagings despite his relative youth. The Kremlin is probably thinking that pitting neophyte churchgoers against art-savvy intellectuals in the public arena is a great way to turn people’s attention away from the double-digit inflation and all that. Apparently it’s OK to destroy, as a side effect, the few major achievements Russia can boast of, theater. What’s next?


  1. JCass says:

    And now these clowns are protesting against the staging of an Oscar Wilde play. Before I looked at the article I thought, “I bet it’s Salome“, because that would make some kind of sense. But no, it’s An Ideal Husband! As far as I remember from Ellman’s biography, even when Wilde was in Reading Jail, the Victorian public still happily went to the theatre to see that play and The Importance of Being Ernest. Is Putin’s regime developing a Russian Orthodox Taleban?

    • AK says:

      Hah. I’ve seen that one. It’s rare treat but it’s not a staging of Wilde’s play although it may presume familiarity with it (conservative Soviet theaters were fond of Wilde). John Freedman of The Moscow Times, who did not like it as much as I did, called the show “a wicked, intricately constructed parody of contemporary Russian society and politics… surely the most comprehensive comic attack I have seen on the excesses and deceptions of contemporary Russia.” It ends with two male lovers (one of them a corrupt “Minister of Rubber Stuff”), who have just died in a mockery of Romeo and Juliet’s death-suicide, being covered with a huge Russian flag.

      Bogomolov’s scenography has been compared to Krzysztof Warlikowski’s but I don’t know if the similarity goes beyond visuals.

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