Mutual Actions Theatre
Duration: 1 hour 30 min
Age Suitability: 12+
Venue: Museum centre “Ploshad Mira”
Premiere of this play took place during NET festival in November 2017. “Alien Invasion Museum” is the first project created by the Mutual Actions Theater - an open association, founded with a view to practice horizontal artistic processes. The association consists of three artists (Shifra Kazhdan, Lesha Lobanov, Ksenia Peretruhina) and a producer (Alexandra Mun). Visual orientation and absence of authoritarian figure of the director are the main distinctive features of the association.
This mocumentary play, based on the science fiction novel “The War of the Worlds” by H. G. Wells, is a tour of a museum dedicated to an alien invasion that allegedly happened in February 1989. An event that humanity has been dreaming about for more than a hundred years - an encounter of terrestrial and alien mind - happens without any fuss and has nothing in common with its fantastic prototypes. Residents of a small village in Tomsk province care much more about food vouchers and survival rather than contact with an extraterrestrial mind. An event of worldwide significance fades in time unnoticed until summer 2016, when a group of theater artists takes an interest in it… Alongside with fictional events - alien invasion - the author uses real facts and events, the most important of which is the largest geomagnetic storm that caused radio communication interruptions, electrical grid breakdowns and the Aurora Borealis all around the world on 13 of March 1989.
Decor of the play is designed as a museum exposition, where actors play roles of tour guides. Audience gets acquainted with exhibits: drawings by scientists, interviews with witnesses, reconstructions of space suits and with other traces of extraterrestrial life, simultaneously taking a historical excursion into the recent past - during the dissolution of the USSR in the late 1980s.
The play touches on relevant topics: authenticity of history and scientific knowledge. Game of truth in such form is a reflection on the process of meaning creation and historiography. There is always a space for presentation, interpretation between a fact and a person consuming it. In which case do we have a right to claim that “it really happened”?
Authors disorient viewers by releasing a vast amount of facts, forcing the audience to puzzle over their accuracy. The ufological plot itself carries the spectator away and, at the same time, conceals author’s statement that belongs to a totally different dimension. By using techniques of object theater, documentaries and reenactment, authors allegorically reflect on the issue of xenophobia and fear of “otherness”, absolute anxiety, that has displaced human joy and curiosity for life.
Horizontal as a result of the way it was created, the project offers its viewers similar rules. Audience, deprived of authors’ didactics and guidance, has a chance to independently form their perception, to disentangle and compile meanings. It is this structure of equal relationship of all participants of the theater performance - artists, actors, audience, - that actualizes theatrical process as innovative and socially significant, turning the play into peculiar “freedom simulator”.
“Golden Mask” nominee for category “Experiment” 2018.
Mutual Actions Theater - an open association consisting of three artists and a producer: Lesha Lobanov, Ksenia Peretruhina, Shifra Kazhdan and Alexandra Mun. Its main aim is creation of independent theater projects. Visual orientation and absence of authoritarian figure of the director are the main distinctive features of the association. Currently, the association cooperates with a playwright Natasha Borenko.
Mutual Actions theater debuted with the play “Alien Invasion Museum” (premiere took place on 17 of November 2016) that immediately generated huge interest in theatrical and artistic spheres. The play participated in NET festival in 2017 and is currently a russian national theatre award “Golden Mask” nominee for category “Experiment”.
Lesha Lobanov, artist
Graduated from Russian State Institute of Performing Arts as Puppet Theater Artist in 1997, studied at Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography specialising as Non-Fiction Film Director. Worked as set designer at Moscow Art Theater, Taganka Theater, Theater of Nations, Mossovet State Academic Theater, Alexandrinsky Theatre, Bryantsev Youth Theater, Novosibirsk “Globus” Theatre, Krasnoyarsk Drama Theater, Krasnoyarsk Youth Theater, Voronezh Drama Theater, Vaba Lava center in Tallinn, Russian Drama theater in Ulan-Ude, Center of Drama and Directing, Prokopyevsk Drama Theater. Stage-designer and performer of the play “Camera Obscura” based on a novel by V. Nabokov at Alexandrinsky Theater. Took part in creation of the play “Beware the white KAMAZ” as a part of “The Access Point” festival in Saint-Petersburg. Multiple nominee for the “Golden Mask” award.
Natasha Borenko, playwright
Was born in 1986 in Novosibirsk. Lives and works in Saint-Petersburg. Graduated from Novosibirsk State University with a major in Psychology, did her masters degree in dramaturgy at Russian State Institute of Performing Arts (curated by N.S. Skorohod), Theater Leader School (Vs. Meyerhold Center). Her plays entered short-lists of drama competitions: Lyubimovka, “First Reading” at the International Theater Festival “Five Evenings” named after Alexander Volodin. Original plays and pageants were staged at theaters in Saint-Petersburg, Kemerovo, Perm, Izhevsk, Ulan-Ude. Playwright and author of documentary, social and participatory projects of Saint-Petersburg, Irkutsk, Tomsk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. In 2015-2016 was the curator of drama projects that were taking place on the New Stage of Alexandrinsky Theater.
Alexandra Mun, project producer
Graduated from Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography with a major in Economics in 2005, in 2003-2009 worked in TV series and film production sphere as camera crew administrator and director. Finished advanced training for theater workers “Theater Leader School” at Vs. Meyerhold Theater and Cultural Center in 2013. Starting from 2014 was a manager in theater producer company “Creative association “CultProject”.
Ksenia Peretruhina, artist
Graduated from Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography, modern arts school by Russian State University for the Humanities, contemporary arts school by George Soros Foundation. Her works were displayed at Tretyakovskaya Gallery, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, XL Gallery (Moscow), GMG-Gallery (Moscow), Espace Louis Vuitton (Paris), White Box Gallery (New York City). Worked as theater artist at Moscow Art Theater, Theater of Nations, Vs. Meyerhold Theater and Cultural Center, Bryantsev Youth Theater, Taganka Theater, Center of Drama and Directing, Theater.doc and at many other non-theater sites. Nominee for the modern art award “Black Square”, multiple nominee for Kandinsky Prize, laureate for the National Theater Award “Golden Mask”.
Shifra Kazhdan, artist
Lives and works in Moscow. Education: modern arts school by Russian State University for the Humanities, contemporary arts school by George Soros Foundation. Her works were displayed at GMG-Gallery (Moscow), Moscow Museum of Modern Art, National Centre for Contemporary Arts, White Box Gallery (New York City), Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (Turin, Italy), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Casa dei Tre Oci (Venice), Espace Croise (Roubaix, France), Center For Contemporary Art Futura (Prague) and etc. Also works as an artist for theater projects. Nominee for russian modern art award “Innovation” (2010), multiple nominee for Kandinsky Prize (2007).