On 13 December 2019, the Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theatre became the venue for an intellectual marathon entitled “The Plywood Theatre. Art breaking boundaries”.
A series of intellectual marathons has been held in the State Hermitage since 2016. Thanks to collaboration between the Hermitage, the BDT and the Pro Arte Foundation, the project is expanding and has acquired a new venue. The marathon became part of the major project “The Plywood Theatre; a programme of contemporary art in the BDT” and of the Jan Fabre festival “Love Is the Power Supreme”. The programme included productions and an installation by Jan Fabre, showings of video art by Bill Viola, original excursions around the Plywood Theatre devised by Gleb Yershov, and “Architecton” – an acoustic experiment by the composer Boris Filanovsky.
Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director of the State Hermitage, prepared a video address to those who had gathered to participate in the marathon. The topics for discussion were Contemporary Art and the Contemporary Theatre; Architecture and the Sacral; Mythology in the Theatre and Art.
The participants in the intellectual marathon included Andrei Moguchy, Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Drama Theatre, the artists Jan Fabre and Alexander Shishkin-Hokusai, Dmitry Ozerkov, head of the State Hermitage’s Department of Contemporary Art, Yelena Kozlovskaya, Director of the Pro Arte Foundation, and Xenia Malich, lecturer at the Higher School of Economics.
The starting point for the discussions was the Plywood Theatre – a conceptual architectural object created for the 100th anniversary of the BDT. The intrusion of a plywood construction into the space of a classic 19th-century theatre takes viewers back to the year 1919. The architectural installation is devoted to Alexander Blok, the first artistic director of the BDT, and to the outstanding artists who worked at the theatre in the 1910s–30s. The Plywood Theatre plays with space, going beyond the boundaries of so-called “common sense”, and is also a theatre within a theatre that has its own stage area and a 30-seat auditorium.