Death of a Giraffe

2009, School of Dramatic Art

Collective composition. 

A collective composition is the sort of subheading that a director would stick on. Seven actors, themselves authors of the show’s text, tell a sad, absurd story about the solitude of man, under the direction of designer Vera Martynova and director Dmitry Krymov. A giraffe dies. His family and friends come to his funeral. They stand at the giraffe’s grave and remember… In the show, there is no dialogue. Nobody converses with anyone. Instead, there are seven monologues. Sad, funny, tragic, strange, touching, and confessional.

“Sentimental clowns, perpetually fixated on themselves and on their feelings. They’re old friends of this funny, colorful giraffe, comprised of colored blocks, teacups, sugar, some sort of pipe, a piece of broom and a balloon. There is

The clown-wife,

The clown-son,

The clown-lover from Taganrog,

The clown-friend from work,

The clown-woman at the graveyard.

The funeral musician, who initially doesn’t seem to be a clown, but then…

The clown-actress from the theatre where this show was staged, who wants to play some big role there, but they cut her and left her with a small part.

Ultimately this is all an interruption in the funeral, before the interrment of the body. An awkward pause, dragged out a little bit longer.

The wife’s legs go on for miles, and the son has an ungainly neck, and ears sticking out; the first wife – a quiet provincial girl – seems totally normal, but when she starts to speak, she speaks only about cutlets, sings operatic arias and dances the tango.

The son is tender and earnest, his mother is out of her mind, the wife is maladjusted and infantile to distraction, his friend is a hideous dwarf with one leg and sad eyes. This whole entourage is, in fact, us. But it’s not a straightforward self-portrait; rather, as Anya says, it’s grotesque, a “warm kind of absurd.”

‘Cheburashka buries Gena the crocodile, clapping his ears.’

We started creating “Death of a Giraffe” in the hopes of not resembling our previous selves. I don’t know how well it turned out – the desire is always greater than the end result. In “Giraffe,” seven people from the strangest of creative professions appear, but they all play like dramatic actors. They read seven monologues, which they themselves wrote for the giraffe’s funeral.

In the show, artists, actors, musicians, and even a clown take part. We are changing all the time. And if at the beginning, we were the “theatre of artists,” then now we are already no longer just drawing – a pretty picture won’t cut it anymore. And moreover, you can’t trust visual art alone in the theatre, where words are also important; not to mention music, and movement, and, most of all, actors – it’s their personalities which create the atmosphere of the show, and you can’t change that out for anything, not for any “novelty” whatsoever.

Dmitry Krymov

Authors of the text:
Inna Sukhoretskaya, Irina Denisova, Natalya Gorchakova, Maria Smolnikova, Mikhail Umanets, Sergey Melkonyan, Arkadiy Kirichenko
 
On stage: 
Maria Smolnikova, Mikhail Umanets, Inna Sukhoretskaya, Sergey Melkonyan, Irina Denisova, Arkadiy Kirichenko, Natalya Gorchakova, Alejandro Chervenko 
 
Passerby with the dogs:
Anton Telkov
 
Behind the stage:
Idea, composition, and direction: Dmitry Krymov
Designer: Vera Martynova
Animations: Filipp Vinogradov and Vera Martynova
Film: Aleksandr Shaposhnikov
Puppets: Valentina Ostankovich
 
Lighting: Olga Ravvich
Sound: Sergey Aleksandrov
Costumes: Irina Bakulina, Svetlana Zabavnikova, Yuliya Makarova
Props: Tatyana Mishlanova, Olga Tarskaya, Asya Kazanovskaya
Technical support: Svyatoslav Zaytsev and Sergey Chernyshev
Stage manager: Margarita Bondarenko
 
Many thanks to V. Grishanin and V. Grakhtunov.
Thanks, of course, to the administration of the Open Stage project.
Thanks to A. Korovin (“San Sanych”) for starring in the film.
Thanks to the Republic of South Africa for their generous, caring attitude toward animals and materials provided.
A special thanks to Aleksandr Nazarov.
 
Premiere: 12 September 2009 at "TERRITORIЯ" Festival in Perm.
Runtime: 1 hour 45 minutes.

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