Elle, JULY, 1989 InSight


by Enrique Badulescu

'The great difference between theatre in Britain and the USSR is that here a man must cry before people will listen to him.' So says Anton Adasinsky, the founder and father of Leningrad's Derevo theatre company. But the seven-strong group, with its collective aims and asexually anonymous shaved heads, is not so much a company as a family, and the word spiritual rather than theatrical is more apt.

Derevo's work has a cathartic intensity that reflects the company's vision of the human condition: There is no joy, no laughter and no love in the world. There is only the light of a distant star-and all people have to do is lift their heads.' So while the Soviet press bombards the public with the economic and social promise of Perestroika, Derevo is crying for the resurrection of the soul. To categorise their nonverbal, physical theatre with the critical jargon of the west would be reductive. Although you can play spot the genre and note Japanese Buto and Medieval clowning, theirs is an original and particularly Russian voice.

CH Derevo is at the ICA, The Mall, SW1, tel 01-930 3647, Jly 17-23, as part of the London International Festival Of Theatre. For full details, tel 01-8367433.

the new
Leningrad's DEREVO,  photo by Lexine M. Alpert
Lexine M Alpert
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