Staying human

Andrei Merkuriev

“You all laugh at me because I am different.

And I laugh at you because you are all the same”

Michail Bulgakov


It is great luck to be born Human, but how burdensome it is to preserve the Humanness of our personality.

Life is a struggle. Entangled are within it the strongest feelings and qualities that command people: love and jealousy, sincerity and envy, kindness and ruthlessness, truth and lies. Life compels us to make our choice on a daily basis – whether to follow the way of the highest resistance or to remain inert. And not a strong or a weak character makes us decide, but mere strength and purity of our mind and our heart.

How easy it is to lose your uniqueness, to disappear in a selfless, impersonal crowd because you fear being unlike the others, and thus to destroy your identity, year after year.

Dear spectators! Creating this ballet I was not trying to translate the content of each chapter of Alexander Zinoviev’s “Go to Golgotha” literally, but I was conceiving a figure this novel inspired me with. You’ll see the impact of the novel, its epoch and background that inspired me to the quest for “the hero of our times”.  The hero of the “Yell” who lives in the system as who acts against it seeks to free himself from the stereotypes compelled by the system. What lacks us is the freedom to live, love, dream, and speak out without fear. I would like this ballet to trigger the most genuine and sincere emotions in you. This was the way I was working on this ballet: laying bare my mind, my feelings and my nerves.

I am certain that once you immerse into this tragic story, you’ll recognize yourselves, your own lives, your aspirations and longings.

Don’t be afraid to laugh or to cry if you feel like. Just be sincere with yourselves as we are with you. What’s the point of living without emotions? What’s most important – preserve your own world within yourselves – it is unique!

Odessa, April, 2014.


The quintessence of the yell.

Polina Zinovieva

Though the idea of the ballet “Yell” occurred long ago, it was striding to and fro in the backyards of my mind without finding its appropriate form. I was carrying this seed of the stage adaptation of one of my favorite books until I accidentally came upon a jazz band which God only knows how turned up in our remote Finistere, justly called “end of the world”. “What has jazz got to do with this story?” you might ask. But it was this spark that made all these wandering ideas assemble. The image overlapped with the sound and made one. And I said to myself: “Eureka!”

I shared my project in its first archaic and spontaneous form with Andrei Merkuriev, and we immediately started shaping it. Some scenes and images found their ideal implementation in a flash; others had to be dealt with cracking our brains with a lot of pains and efforts, some ideas just fell away by themselves.

Andrei instantaneously grasped the idea of the hero – he must have been bearing the origins in himself: his life tragedy, the struggle, the loneliness. Solitude resounds as the principle leitmotif throughout the whole performance. Besides his formal resemblance with the main hero of Zinoviev’s novel, Andrei has a striking psychological affinity with Ivan Laptev. It is as if Andrei is painting his own psychological portrait on stage.

“Yell” is the quintessence of the novel, the essence of an individual’s life drama in a society, a tale about the collapse of an Individual’s utopia. I strongly sensed this concentration of these issues during the first hours of Andrei’s work with the ballet ensemble. You watch how a movement is cut from an immense chunk, and you realize that this gesture is the only right one. Michelangelo comes to my mind, hewing out of marble block here an elusive smile, there a quizzical squint, a fugacious frown or a skeptical questioning glance.

The yell and the fainting of the soul among banality, dimness, mediocrity, fathomless solitude of Ivan Laptev is perceived from the very beginning of the narration. He is doomed. But it is his destiny to go his way to the end to face his Golgotha. In fact, cast off to the margins of society by his friends, colleagues and disciples, Laptev repeats the tragic path of Alexander Zinoviev.

Each creative opus has its internal dynamics, its inner life. Since the idea of “Yell” was conceived, since the first outburst of this idea, the project has come a long way through various stages of development. Then at some point it became interactive and started directing its creators… It is very important to avoid interfering too much with this genuine evolution process, though at the same time one has to be alert not to let it go beyond control.

Munich, April, 2014.