Rebel Moscow theatre shuts doors after final show


The Gogol Centre theatre, one of many final bastions of inventive freedom in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, shut its doors lately with a defiant final show referred to as I Don’t Take Part In War.

The emotional play protesting towards the Kremlin’s army intervention in Ukraine marked a dramatic finish of an period for the Russian capital’s ever-shrinking opposition and intelligentsia circles.

Previously run by insurgent director Kirill Serebrennikov, who left Russia after criticising Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine, the Gogol Centre staged daring performs for a decade, typically testing more and more strict legal guidelines and Moscow’s sharp conservative flip.

Last Thursday’s efficiency had among the viewers in tears when actors recited poems by Soviet poet and soldier Yuri Levitansky, a Soviet poet and soldier who was born in what’s now Ukraine.

The play’s title was taken from certainly one of Levitansky’s emblematic verses: “I do not participate in battle, it takes half in me.”

As the show ended, the theatre’s outgoing inventive director, Alexei Agranovich introduced: “The Gogol Centre is closed. Forever.”

Recently the Moscow authorities introduced a change of management at a lot of the capital’s high theatres.

Gogol Centre artistic director Alexey Agranovich (left) gives a speech on stage after a recent final performance in Moscow. Photo: AFP Gogol Centre inventive director Alexey Agranovich (left) offers a speech on stage after a latest final efficiency in Moscow. Photo: AFP

They embody the Gogol Centre, which is able to now perform beneath new administration and its previous title – the Nikolai Gogol Drama Theatre.

Serebrennikov, who reworked the theatre firm right into a nationwide cultural beacon, accused the authorities of “murdering” the Gogol Centre.

Last Thursday, he addressed the viewers through video hyperlink from Avignon in southeastern France.

“The Gogol Centre is an thought, the concept of freedom. Freedom just isn’t useless. Freedom lives on so long as we dwell,” he stated.

Another outstanding Moscow theatre, the Sovremennik, may also have a change of administration, authorities stated.

These adjustments are seen as a part of an rising crackdown on any dissent since President Putin despatched troops into Ukraine.

Before the play, some spectators lay roses towards the theatre’s white partitions.

Gogol Centre actors and personnel stand on stage in Moscow on June 30. Photo: AFPGogol Centre actors and personnel stand on stage in Moscow on June 30. Photo: AFP

“They are closing every little thing, blocking every little thing,” stated Daria Kozhevnikova, a 36-year-old instructor who got here to see the play.

She paused, earlier than smiling uneasily: “Soon we are going to all be shackled collectively by one chain.”

Her voice trembled and she or he appeared on the verge of tears. “It was a spot the place I felt good.”

‘Symbol of freedom’

“The Gogol Centre is a spot of freedom,” stated 39-year-old advertising specialist Aliya Talibova, who additionally got here to see the play.

“Now they’re taking it away from us.”

Actor Ilya Vinogorsky, 22, stated the closure of the theatre in its present iteration was “very painful”.

“This shouldn’t be taking place. Especially within the twenty first century, after we declare to be a civilised society and state.”

Serebrennikov was inventive director of the Gogol Centre between 2012 and 2021.

The 52-year-old was caught up in a high-profile fraud case that his supporters say was punishment for difficult the Russian authorities. He was pressured to depart his put up in February 2021.

In his deal with, Serebrennikov vowed that regardless of the closure in Moscow, the theatre’s mission would dwell on.

“There was this constructing. There will probably be one other,” he stated.

“I hope some day the battle will finish and the gorgeous Russia of the long run will emerge.” – AFP

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