The Norilsk Nickel, Issue №6
Andrew Chernitzin, Ivan Chuvilyayev


The "Kudryashy"

Graduates of theater institutes can nowadays be identified by the name of their course's artistic director. The "Kudryashy" came into existence following the époque-making "Fomenky" and "Zhenovachy". But everything is quite clear with the latter: their artistic present and future is under the wing of today's highly acclaimed and successful stage directors. Which one could not have said about the "Kudryashy" – until a certain moment.

"As they graduated from GITIS," Timothy Sopolev, Bullfinches performance director, says, "they were invited to several Moscow theaters, as a team, with the whole repertory, but they refused, and that was their decision. They went to different theaters. And when the Theater of Nations suggested that they should make a rendition of Bullfinches, they came together and rehearsed at night, as each of them was busy at one's own theater during the day. And they've made it."

Thus the young actors were given harbor by the Theater of Nations under the direction of Yevgeny Mironov, where the resurrected diploma performance Bullfinches (a play by Nina Sadur based on the works of Victor Astafyev), which was a success, is now part of the repertory. It will be shown during the Norilsk Festival.

It is a production about the war and young soldiers, boys, who are, more or less, taught soldiery. But they fail to learn anything because they miss their mother and they are cold and hungry. They do not understand what war actually is, and they truly believe death is not going to touch them and that victory is close at hand. They are like Suvorov cadets: their major victory is to keep things from their lieutenant. Naturally, the Fascists are going to kill them all, except one of them, the youngest and the merriest. And the Snegiryov brothers (with the nickname of Snegiry, or bullfinches) will be demonstratively shot in the name of the Soviet Republic, just because they happened to have been there in the heat of the moment and run away to see their mother. Life is going to change drastically in a moment. One cannot watch such things calmly.

The production manages to avoid trite patriotic pathos, which is often present when theaters undertake to stage plays about the war.

"We are going to The Norilsk Seasons with great pleasure," the actors engaged in Bullfinches told us. "We have heard a lot about this town. We want to be understandable to our spectators. But the main thing is, we hope that this remarkable town with its difficult destiny will always stay apart from theatrical money routes and see only real performances, which are, thank God, not so few in Russia."

Perhaps in some respects Bullfinches is not perfect, but it is surely sincere. One actually wants to weep after the performance. ...