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The Golden Ass. Expanded work space

Creative team of the Golden Ass project:

Boris Yukhananov – director

Ivan Kochkaryov – set designer

Anastasia Nefedova – costume designer

Dmitri Kourliandski – project musical director

Fyodor Sofronov – composer-curator

Andrei Kuznetsov-Vecheslov - choreographer

Yevgeny Vinogradov – lighting designer

November 23-27 at 2pm & 7pm

The public showings of Boris Yukhananov’s “new processual” project is devoted to work interpreting Apuleius’ novel Metamorphosis or The Golden Ass.

The project is conducted in a manner that is completely new for Russian theatre: the genre of the open-circuited workspace. The project is so constructed that it will undergo constant change and development.

Each of the five days of The Golden Ass consists of daytime showings of modules (2 to 6 p.m.) and evening compositions (7 to 11 p.m.). Modules are independent scenes created by project participants and they may be shown in fragments or interrupted by Boris Yukhananov, who publicly discusses them on the spot. Compositions consist of two “Shaggy” and “White” segments, and one “City” segment. Compositions are fully-fledged performances consisting of episodic scenes in which the text of Apuleius’ novel intertwines with the commentary of those participating in the action.

The five-day project reflects its structure, which is constructed like the two wings of a butterfly (each consisting of two parts, the upper and lower – “Shaggy” and “White”) and its body (“City”). In this way a butterfly takes shape before the eyes of spectators in a logical, though non-linear fashion; first the left wing, then the caterpillar-body (“City”), and finally the right wing. As soon as the butterfly takes shape it figuratively takes wing – which is to say that the given composition assumes a new life as a full-fledged production in the repertoire of the Stanislavsky Electrotheatre. But the butterfly exists physically too – it flies over the stage, quite alive.

The text of each composition is an intertwining of fragments of Apuleius’ novel – including the story inserts, the so-called “Milesian fables” – and live speech (although the actors commit it to memory as if it were a role), wherein the actor reveals to us his or her own concerns and thoughts. “Shaggy” and “White” compositions are designated by their appearance: shaggy columns grace the stage in the “Shaggy” segments, while white columns are featured in the “White” segments. The “City” compositions are so named for their content and they feature black columns (i.e., a black Parthenon).

One radical aspect of the project is that it embraces Apuleius’ text in its entirety. Insofar as the novel is impossible to separate from all the layers of meaning and contexts that have accrued to it over the centuries, one way of approaching it is to employ an artistic strategy by which the creative individuals (directors and actors creating the modules) are given free reign with the text.

Schedule of November showings:

Wednesday, November 23
2 – 6 p.m. Modules. Day One.
7 – 11 p.m. Composition Shaggy.

Thursday, November 24
2 – 6 p.m. Modules. Day Two.
7 – 11 p.m. Composition White.

Friday, November 25
2 – 6 p.m. Composition City.
7 – 11 p.m. Modules. Day Three.

Saturday, November 26
2 – 6 p.m. Modules. Day Four.
7 – 11 p.m. Composition Shaggy.

Sunday, November 27
2 – 6 p.m. Modules. Day Five.
7 – 11 p.m. Composition White.

More info on website