The opening night of the play by French director Antoine Gindt’s “Lyudka” took place on the stage of the “Ilkhom” Theater. The focus of the play is about a common family with a simple life and complicated relationships, consisting of three people who have the same names, the name that has become a kind of symbol of this play. Read the review about the opening night of the play by “The Mag”. Everyone who is in love with the “Ilkhom” Theater talked about the play even at the level of rehearsals.

The play describes the most ordinary and far from ideal family, which lives its most ordinary and not at all ideal life. This is exactly what the French director Antoine Gindt tried to show, who titled this story “kitchen-ish”. Indeed, the famous stage of the “Ilkhom” Theater turned into a huge kitchen table for these opening nights, which symbolizes this closed-loop of life – it is easy to enter, but so difficult to escape.

And everything in this seemingly simple, but philosophical play is symbolic: the names and surnames of the characters that more closely remind nicknames – Dostoevsky, Griboyedov, Ivanov, Cherepovets, Romashka, Ba; the title of the play is the name of the main character, a symbol of life, fate, which, together with the name, like a baton, is passed from generation to generation from grandmother to mother, from mother to daughter. This whole closed-loop revolves around a single core, Lyudka-mom, who, in pursuit of her happiness, endlessly changes the most primitive and not ideal partners. And those primitive ones break up with her but appear from time to time – but just to get what they want and then they disappear again. And at home, there is an aged mother with her ambitions who tries to look younger than she is and a daughter looking for love and burning with hatred for everyone.

And only dream of tango that is bright, floating, beckoning, broken – sometimes illuminates such a dark gray life of the main character – the dream that keeps her afloat.
The main character’s five piercing monologues: about her dreams, her life, which is so similar to tango, but with different partners, about her aspirations, full of philosophy and unfulfilled happiness — what is listened to but not understood by the rest of the characters, but what absorbed by the audience.

The light in the auditorium turns on and those who recently laughed at the humorous moments of the play leave arguing what was it: a tragedy, a comedy or a drama?

And after all – the table, it’s the only thing that stays on the stage as the symbol of closed-loop life. And of course, the red shoes standing around the table as a symbol of tango and bright moments.

So what was it? What did the stage director and the author want to say? And how was that manage to create such kind of similar and at the same time different characters, in some way grotesque? These questions were answered by the stage director of the play, Antoine Gindt.

Antoine Gindt,
The stage director.

This play is a family portrait. And, of course, it is clear to everyone that this family is not the finest, not the most ideal, not the most exemplary. No one can say for sure in which genre it is written and staged: tragedy, comedy, or drama. Everyone decides for themselves. In the text of the play by Eugenia Palekhova, it is written that this is a kind of buffoonery (comic action, circus or theatrical, built on the reception of excessive hyperbole, harsh, rude, caricature – the play author’s note.).
I wanted to keep this idea alive and involve actors who should always be on stage. This allows them to interact with the text and find opportunities to existing in the text during the play. Lyudka is the main character and the nature of this play. It’s clear that this is not just a common family where there’s a mother, daughter… This’s a type of family in which there are a lot of men — unreliable men. They all revolve around this kitchen, where they come to eat, grab the money and have pleasure. This is the unpretentious life. And Lyudka herself lives with dreams of tango. I myself can’t say for sure and answer the question of why she dreams about it, but I think it’s a very beautiful idea that lives in her head. Perhaps it’s what she lost, what she didn’t achieve, but its part of her dreams and some secret ideas.
I was already familiar with the theater troupe when I was given a list of actors. I didn’t have any issues and questions about casting, because the theater management was familiar with the play and knew what type, age of actors I needed, how many men and women would work. Before that, I didn’t know that the play was specially written for the performer of the main role Marina Turpisheva. For the rest of the cast, the audition was conducted according to the age of each character, since the author of the play described each part very clearly.
While working with the cast, I tried to connect their own, personal nature with the characters they represent. How well it turned out is for an audience to judge.
As I have already said, the play is written in the genre of buffoonery, but I really did not want the actors to turn into comedians, so that they laugh at themselves or their own jokes. I suppose it would be convenient to have subtitles for the play, explaining that this is not buffoonery and not the happiest life of Lyudka. At some point, this story becomes sad. But I like the idea that you still can joke about this situation, because in any case, life goes on, in any situation you can find some bright and even funny moments.
The last scene is quite emotional to a certain extent because in the end, the audience can find out who Lyudka is. She is very heartfelt: Lyudka looks at herself, at her man, and suddenly we all understand about her, we understand that she stopped at the saddest moment of her life.

Marina Turpisheva,
The performer of the part of Lyudka-mom

Lyudka is a woman, and, like every woman, she has many faces: she is tender with someone, for example, with children, but life forces her to live differently. She really desires to find someone behind whose back she may hide, someone who will lead and will not force a woman to solve all problems on her own. Such a dual origin— she behaves variously with all men. In my point, these are men who have been with her throughout her life, and not in an instant. Such kind of life for more than 50 years, full of unreliable of men, that what made her so harsh, forced her to take on male functions.
I didn’t have to break myself for the part. The only thing is that I had a slightly different attitude to this play and the character, I saw Lyudka in a completely different way. Therefore it was a little resistance on my part. And yet we are actors, and in any case, we are led and come to the place where the stage director led us.

Gleb Golender,
The performer of the role of Ivanov

“Ilkhom” is a place where people try to live according to humankind’s laws, and not according to theatrical laws. I suppose that’s the reason why it’s possible to show life on stage here.
About my part? It’s me! I am in many manifestations of my part. So how can I treat myself? This is a man who has lived a lot, read a lot, worked a lot… And he just wants to see a woman next to him who wouldn’t invent all these odd stories. And he tells whatever he thinks.
I won’t say that I got into the job easily. It’s not because of the characters and not because of the play’s material — just because I don’t feel close with dramatic material. But because of the method of work — the meditational, unhurried, European way of directing of Antoine Gindt: it has to be understood and it needs to be worked with such kind of a person. And when all became clear, everything went like clockwork and I loved working with him.
As noted by the characters and the actors who played them, as well as the play’s author only we, the audience, need to determine what it was – a tragedy or a comedy, drama or life? And how often do such characters meet on our way, closing it in a circle from which it is hard to escape? Perhaps after watching the play you will be able to get answers to at least some of these questions?