Medium-controlled Telephone –
Telephone-controlled Medium


Alexander Molochnikov’s directing career is taking off. By his early twenties, he has long cooperated with leading theaters in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Last year, he made his debut at the Bolshoi by taking part in Cantatas lab (this project entered the long-list of the Golden Mask National Theatre Award).


ALEXANDER MOLOCHNIKOV:

The two operas – The Medium and The Telephone – will be performed in one night, exactly as composer wished. But we wanted to go further and unite them into one piece with a common plot and characters, and at the same time to dramatize the cheerful Telephone, making it any closer to The Medium. In our performance there are cross-cutting characters, whose parts are performed by the same artists. Two main heroes of the Telephone – a girl, and a boy, trying to break through phone calls and to confess his love to her, – they are complicit in a fake spiritual séance. The girl turns out to be Madame Flora’s daughter, and her admirer is none other than mute boy Toby. We have divided his role for a dramatic actor and a singer: first, Toby without uttering a sound declares his love by means of … a cyborg (The Telephone), and during the spiritual session he provides technical support (The Medium).
Also our operas share a common space – we called it the Temple of Hope. Madame Flora receives clients here, while her daughter conducts seances remotely.

Medium_photo by Vladimir Mayorov.jpg

Alexandra Mayskaya (Missis Gobineau), Roman Shevchuk (Mister Gobineau),
Olga Deineka-Boston (Missis Flora). Photo by Vladimir Mayorov.


To make the story more authentic, we replace the action from the XX century to our days. Today a performance made in a classic way would be deliberately naïve, or even an absurd. Both the audience and the artists would have to pretend they believe the pure deception played out “behind the curtain”. Of course, even now people believe in the existence of paranormal phenomena (I had no idea before how many people still resort to the help of mediums!). And yet modern man is not easy to convince with just one magic ball. We wanted to portray otherworldly spirits differently. Modern technologies have helped us to create an illusion and I hope that we have even managed to frame an issue. Excessive use of gadgets has changed our lives making it more restless and affected people’s communication with each other. On another note, artificial intelligence has reached a level of development that sometimes exceeds human capabilities. What will happen if we lose control? I do hope this idea will be put on the agenda by our performance if we achieve the utmost naturalism, perceive authenticity, shock and suspense – like in a horror movie! This is important! The situation must be tough and ruthless. Ideally, we would like to involve the entire audience in this story.



				
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