Blizzard in the Academy Theatre: At War Against the Future

From that point of view, we got on really well with Corona. On the other hand, a virus is spreading in the vast expanses of Russia, turning the infected into wolf-like monsters. When they emerge from the graves to stalk the living, their tentacles have even pierced the frozen ground. This epidemic is, of course, a literary fiction and invention of Vladimir Sorokin. A staunch opponent of Putin published his novel “Blizzard” in 2010.

Russian storytellers clash with post-Soviet society

In it, he allowed the great Russian narrative tradition of Pushkin, Gogol or Tolstoy and their world of poor peasants to be heated by tile stoves and where distances are measured in versts to contrast with a post-Soviet society ruled by a despot with Tsarist ambitions after the communist dictatorship. As Sorokin explained in an interview, he is waging “a war of the past against the future.”

When dramatist Søren Sarbec and director Marcel Koehler were busy adapting the novel for production at the August Everding Theater Academy, “we looked at the script through the lens of the Corona pandemic,” according to an article in the program.

For Sorokin, the story of a doctor who went against all odds to deliver a vaccine to a rural population threatened by the coronavirus is one from Putin’s rule.

Staging jumps between different time periods

The man in the Kremlin re-developed his nation into a medieval fief. In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sarbeck and Lohner have expanded the perspective from Covid-19 to the SS-20, a Soviet-era nuclear-armed medium-range missile. This means that wrapping up the evening, which is packed with pictures but only lasts 60 minutes, gets a little out of reach.

The production has bravely escaped that danger up to that point, even though the original novel was dark between ages.

The theater is a great playground for actors

Scenes from rural life in a province left behind by big cities (“I saw it on the radio”), Kafkaesque surrealism and gory horror films happily come together here. The director also developed the spatio-stage concept of the Academy’s theater and created a large stadium for nine students at the University of Music and Theater. The two main characters – Doctor Garen and his assistant, whom everyone calls Squawk – play mostly over the course of the game.

And they’re all horses that make up a riding school before the show starts, pull “mobile” up later, are hilarious at medical school graduation or are zombies in the ice longing for human flesh.

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In the end, much of Sorokin’s “Blizzard” was lost. But you get a very scenic commentary on the present, which is just as puzzling as the current state of disease and war.

Academy Theatre, June 10, 7:30 pm, also June 11, 3:30 pm, phone number 21851970

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