VMESTE. Teenage theatre against xenophobia (Russia, 2016)

So you still think he deserved to die? Yes. I would kill him myself. Explain! He’s a khach, he’s a mutt. What do you mean, he’s a khach? He was no Russian. Voice off: Maria, is everything OK? Everything’s swell! He’s a khach. Well, what… What is a khach? No Russian! A wog! Khach, first of all, is a name, and second, it means “cross” in Armenian. Not Russian. – Well, not a Russian.
– A wog.
– Well? He was a Tadjik, I think. So? It explains everything! Theatre project “Vmeste” with the assistance of
Laboratoria ON.Theatre with the assistance of
Netherlands Consulate General in St. Petersburg with the assistance of
SaintPetersburg Jewish community centre YESOD presents a documentary to
Olga Shakhnovich and Nirit Kreiman “VMESTE”
Teenage theatre against xenophobia
*In Russian language “vmeste” means “together” Friends, let us begin! I am very glad, that you’ve come to this moment, that we’ve all gathered here. October 14
Today is the first workshop of our project — the Theatre project “Vmeste”. It’s a project where 20 young people (a little less now) will get together in order to make a documentary performance about their lives here in this city, about what is going on in this city. I hope it is going to be good. We’ll have the premiere right on this stage, right here, where we sit now. I think, it is very symbolic, that we are beginning here and will have our premiere here, too. Ada Mukhina,
curator and member of the directing team:
For about 3 years I have been thinking about a social theatre project. I wanted to make a crossdisciplinary project at the junction of theatre and social life. I want to ask them how we are supposed to live together when there are ethnic killings happening around. And, as the kids told us, someone is being bullied down in their school because of his ethnicity. So, I want to ask them, how do we work this out. What can we, so wonderful and good, what can we do together for this not to happen. Sasha Gorbova,
script writer:
Well, I’ve been thinking a few times if I should go somewhere to study for a long time, maybe move to some place in Europe. But then I realised, that in fact I do not want to move away. But there’s one problem: I live in St. Petersburg, I love it very much, but my St. Petersburg is in Europe. And the St. Petersburg of the majority of the citizens, it seems to me, is probably somewhere else. When people generally do not want to engage into a dialogue and communicate, there’s nothing to be done. But I very much hope, that it’s not going to happen, that is, that people will not want to communicate to us. We have to find some common ground anyway. And now I have a proposal. Who wants to be the first to try, tonight, right now, to take a video camera (be careful, it’s my camera) and film something, maybe to interview someone, maybe talk to someone, or just to film what is going on around? In any format, whatever you find interesting. Who wants to try? We can go over that, over the screen. OKSANA It seems like all right here, I think. Not so close, OK? In a distance. So that I’m seen like this. No, I meant it exactly to be close. Nah, I don’t like it close. Your name is Oksana. Just so. Were you born here, in Petersburg? Yes, I was born in Saint-Petersburg. Are your parents from Saint-Petersburg? Yes, my parents are from Saint-Petersburg. What is your nationality? Russian. GURGEN Gurgen, introduce yourself, please, just in a few words. I’m Gurgen Sogoyan. My last name ends on “yan”. I am an Armenian. Right, and I’m a 9-grader and I participate in the project “Vmeste”. May I ask you,
why did your parents decide to move to Russia? Well, it didn’t go well there in Armenia then, and it was about time… We needed money, we have a large family: 4 kids. Right, we needed a lot of money, and so we had to move, well, to find a new place. And there are better paid jobs in Russia, more opportunities. Well, my father moved here, and then we followed. I see. SASHA Right, hi, Sasha, what is your name? Hi, Gosha. My name is Sasha. And yours? Which is your nationality? Which is my nationality? I think, I am a cosmopolitan. A cosmopolitan. What is a cosmopolitan? Well, that is, I’m a citizen of the whole world, because I do not believe that I belong to a particular country or a particular… gosh, so close… particular nation. I am just me. I am honestly not tolerant towards the Caucasians. GOSHA To the men of Caucasian descent. Well, it’s more tolerant to say “of non-Slaviñ decent”. To some Asians, right, not tolerant either. I don’t know, I do not understand where this hatred comes from, but it’s just… I haven’t yet reckoned myself, to be true, as a member of any nationality. I can’t really say that I’m some slaviñ guy, nor can I say I’m a pure Bashkir. But I believe, that in the future our city will change in some way, and the people who live here will change somehow. There will be fewer cads, less evil, less hatred. And everything is going to be very good. Here’s the task. By the way, get ready for a lot of etudes. Is it clear what an etude means? Yes. No. No? Here, right, here it is. An etude is, say, a short… In fact, its main concept is a tryout. I try something. On the set. On the stage. Somewhere, somewhere An etude must be composed. That is, it’s a short story. Short, tiny, little. On a topic. Topics will vary in the context of our project and our future performance. Well, I’m a Jew. Are you, like, cunning? Are you hiding? No, I am a Jew. You got those caps. Why do you wear them? Well, I’m not wearing a cap right now. Well, I know what the Jews wear. You are a Jew, right. Yes, but that is a part of our religion. Not all the Jews wear caps. And why do you wear them? Well, because the Lord said so. Do you believe in Jesus or what? No. He was a… a Jew, but it’s… Who was he? Darina, tell us, please, were you actually curious about what Venya was just saying? Well, we never had any plan whatsoever. We made up a plan when we were called up. He said: “What are we going to do?” And I said: “I will give you stereotypes. What I actually think. What I actually would like to ask. And you will reply with your own truth”. Right, right. Genious! Good job! Good job! Let’s answer a question: what does it really mean to be an Armenian? Mekhak, so, what is it? Well, just like the Russians. But of different nationality. Common people. Common people, of course. And what makes us different? What makes us different? Nationality. Well, and what is the difference between nationalities? Just for you: what is it? What makes us, let’s say, drastically different? What do we have that you don’t? And the opposite. Can’t say. Do not know yet? No. That it’s safe here. More opportunities. What is a Russian? What is it to be a Russian? Your group works on a story “What is it like to be a Russian?” And you too have to decide on what it is like to be a Russian. Vanya got so drunk yesterday, much vodka, much vodka. With a pickle. And a bear, there’s got to be a bear… Winter season. – And then the bear appears.
– Someone has just been sweating
out in a banya, he comes out, pours cold water over him or dives into icehole… – OK, let’s…
– Wait for it, he hasn’t finished.
– Oh, sorry. We can just stand up and list
Russian writers and so on. – One by one.
– By the way, that’s actually a cool idea. Well, they love their city, do not want others to live there. It happens. Well, no! No, it happens! – What?
– So you think? That they do not want others to live in this city? Racism? Yes. Hey, are we, like, having philosophical
conversations here or what? Let’s decide on what we should do. We can make it after Andreev’s short novel.
“Bargamot and Garaska”. Haven’t read it? We are Russians, right, we love our city,
culture, all that stuff, right? Let’s, kinda, on the street, we can go and ask, like: “Have you read Brezhnev or Pushkin?” Brezhnev? Ekaterina Maksimova,
member of the directing team:
The main thing in all of this is,
in fact, the teens and their age. Well… Above the fact, that it’s a debatable topic and a controversy, for me too, right, what matters is the age, in fact, of these people who, as you said yourself, are going to live after us. What bothers them? How do they see it? What do they feel about it? They will work out this life further on. That is why it’s so interesting. MEKHAK Hi, everyone who is watching. My name is Mekhak, and it’s my video diary. Right now I’m going towards the bus stop to go to the workshop. Well, I like everything we do with the guys, very much. So cool. We laugh all the time. Right, and I like everything very much. Except for, I don’t like that Masha is always… Well, not always, right, but once she started a conflict with other girls, you know. Above that, it’s just cool. Perfect! Today we were walking with Erdnya and Venya. Coming home. MASHA And, I don’t know, we were just chatting. And then Venya said that… I don’t even know why he said that, I can’t remember… But he said he was a Jew and Erdnya was a Buddhist. I kept walking and I thought: “Is that right? We are, sort of, just walking along, just our little company, but in fact we’re just, you know, just members of three absolutely different confessions”. Why would they, by the way, why would Venya say that he was a Jew and Erdnya was a Buddhist? It’s about that one time they were on a subway train, two of them, they were talking about it without me, and there was this old woman, right, who overheard them talking and started making the sign of a cross on them saying: “Dear God! Dear God! How come? How do you, boys, live? Poor boys! A Buddhist and a Jew! How is that possible? Come closer, I’ll bless you, and you’ll be Christians. Be Orthodox, whatever. Because, well, how on earth can you live like this?!” I listened and I laughed. It was so funny. Because it’s so cool that they are a Jew and a Buddhist. It’s so great! Damn, it’s… it’s just cool! There was a story like this at our training with Dmitri Yurich. ERDNYA There’s this school watchlady. Got it? So, there’s this watchlady. And we’re having a training going on. He shows us a hold, and we watch. And then she comes, and she asks so insecurily: “Excuse me, there’s someone asking for you at the door. These… two men.” And then she points at me: “Well, looking like him”. I laughed. The coach approaches me after and says, like… I say: “And who were they?”. And he says: “What does she think, that I can’t see a Kalmyk from an Uzbek? Some Uzbeks they were. Wanted to practice, too.” Lately, by the way, something made me laugh. OKSANA Just before the New Year I was walking down the Prosvescheniya prospect,
and there were these guys, the Tadjiks, and they were throwing mandarin peelings at me. Well, I turned to them, like this, and I said: “Hey, what is wrong with you people? Are you out of your mind?” And they were, like: “What are you saying there?” And they started talking, like, “bla bla bla” in their monkey language. And I said: “Guys,” I said “you are migrants!” I said: “Can you show at least some respect to the people, right, who are, you know, who are natives”. And I said: “You act as…” -“We are Russians!”. I stood there, like… -“Whoa?! You are Russians?” and then, “Really? And who am I then?” Why I am saying this is, you see, because, it seems so, that in the future it’s going to be something like this, that there are going to be tones of them, and it’s going to be a total disaster. And they all are going to be Russians. No, in general, I don’t mind, for God’s sake, they can, I don’t know, they can all come here. Well, it doesn’t depend on me at all, but, well… No, they just have to, I suppose, have some respect to the people, who… You’re not the only ones living here, right. Moreover, you’ve come to a foreign country, right. You want to live — live, for God’s sake. I suppose, you just have to act normal, you know. That’s all. During the first few workshops we will train breathing and phonation at the level of sounds. And only in a while we will go on towards words. So, in order to train our breath, we will run. Go! Let’s catch a common rhythm. You here me clap — try to follow it. Try to feel, that your body is relaxed. That is, your shoulders are relaxed, your neck is relaxed. Broader, broader! To the very edge! For me, the most interesting part here
is some sort of an experiment. Stas Svistunovich, member of the directing team: The search of a new theatre, indeed. And the main goal that I personally see here, what I try to accomplish, is the desacralisation of the space, desacralisation of the stage. When the spectator realises, that the stage is not an altar, that the stage is a space that he can come up to and be equal to the others. Those who have been there before. What is the difference between the documentary theatre, right, and the common one? Yuri Klavdiev,
guest expert, playwriter: That there is a true story of the true people underneath it all. If we want to make a play, say, about 8-graders, for instance, if we are going to make it in a documentary manner, then we will go to a real school (as we actually did in the “Shkola” series). We record it. Then you make a transcript, and, making no “writer’s” enhancements, that is, you do not include your own perspective there: whether you like this people or not, whether you like what they say or not, whether you find it right or not — none of it matters. You make a play about them. Thus, they are the main actors, not you. That’s it. 9 of 10 people know nothing about their true nature, they think that they are just what they think they are, and what they have thought about
themselves for all of their lives. This is what they are going to tell you. They will subconsciously try to impress you. And you have to get though all of that to dig down to the personality of a particular person. Anton, hi! Hello. Hi. Hello, Pavel Valerievich. Hi. This is our history teacher. Seizing the occasion, I want to send my regards to my Mom to the faraway town of Tikhvin. Mom, hi! Pavel Valerievich, what do you think about nationalists? Nothing at the moment. Why don’t you answer the question: “What do you think of the nationalists?” Well, what can I say, I haven’t met any in person. Popov! Popov is a nationalist? Well, yeah. Didn’t you know? Popov, he’s a child yet, you see. And so, calling him a nationalist… What kind of a nationalist is he? Just a child. Here. Darina’s best friend. He says he got it while walking the dog. Well, what can I say about Popov? He has his two front teeth chipped off, what makes him look even more dangerous. Right. He has scratches on his elbows, scars on his knees. Idiot! Popov, you are a moron! I’m sorry, really! Are you a nationalist? Yeah, I can nazisalute just like that, or say: “I hate wogs!” Great. And what do you think of negroes? Nah, negroes are cool. I like them. You do like negroes? Yes! I know a lot of negroes. And what do you like about them? Well, because they bend everyone over. Oh! What is your motto? Come on, say it! I won’t. Say it! I won’t. Say it! I won’t. Say it! I have a motto: “The only place with no exit is a casket”. Come on, say something! I don’t know. Say it, I’m telling you! You hear me? I have no motto, I live just like that. You don’t live for anything? Don’t you have a meaning in life? Well… I do! What is it? I don’t know. Pff… But I do! True story: I am a teacher, I have a student in my class, who, say, drew a swastika on the blackboard during the break, right? It is a student, who’s long known for it,
that he has nationalistic point of view, one way or another. So what is my reaction, as a teacher? Well, I would do something, I don’t know, something rather tough, but, well, not in front of the whole class or school, just tell him in person. OK, class, everyone leave the room! After, after the class! OK, so, just wipe it off myself? No, make this person wipe it off! Make him wipe it off! Make him! OK, OK… And pay no attention to it afterwards… Why no attention? – Wipe it off, and be in my office after the class!
– Continue the class, and afterwards just try to, well, talk to him, find out what it is all about. Not making a mountain out of a molehill here… He drew it he wipes it off. End of story. All right. Venya says, that it is complicated
for him to discuss things like this, because it’s hard to find arguments. Indeed, the first way of doing it is to understand, at least, another point of view, any point of view it is very important actually, I think. And, to me, humour is a strong weapon. What? Humour. We have this boy in our class, right. So, well, he is of pretty radical nationalistic beliefs. And for the last few days he has been walking around very sad. He even spoke to his parents about it. I told him: “Edward, look, I showed your profile on vk.com, some pics of yours to one ethnologist I know,
he said you got Mongolian features. What? Mongolian features! Looser! “I asked my dad” says Edward the next day “and I got no Mongolian features!” “Have you asked your Mom?”. He says: “No, I haven’t asked her, but it just can’t be”. I say: “Damn, how can you be sure who your ancestors were five, seven generations ago?” Very funny conversation. I believe, that humour is such a thing, that often, when you have no opportunity to react deeply to any sort of situation and have some kind of a serious conversation with a person, it can help, one way or another. I found this project very interesting. Maksim Ivantsov, civic education trainer: In fact, it is quite costly: we have a group of somewhat 20 people, and, at that, a lot of adults hanging around them. That is one perspective. Another perspective is that this project is a possibility for the teens, not just the teens, for me too, to sort out many difficult things and processes, that happen in the today’s world. It is about how people of different nationalities can live together in this city, and also about the nationality itself, if it’s important or not, at all. The exercise we are going to do next is called “the Hunt”. What do you have to do? I signal you and say: “Go!” What does that mean? That is this moment you have to find a person, either one that you wouldn’t like to stuck in the elevator with, or the one you know least. Approach him, and touch him. The one you’ve touched can’t hunt anymore. Let the Hunt begin. Go! We got another pair, the last one. Now every pair finds a place in this room, or you can go outside, to the corridor. What you got to do? You have to take that piece of paper where you wrote
the names of 10 the most important people in your life. And tell each other of those people. Well, I put Mom and Dad first. Well, I don’t know, it’s just obvious. Well, yeah. Then a flower. Because I drew a flower here. I couldn’t think of anything else. Well, OK… You put a flower to the third place? Mom stands first, Dad – second. Why did you put it like that? Well, I don’t know, it’s just… Mom understands you better? Well, probably. And, moreover, when I was little… I… Dad worked a lot, and he almost never talked to me… And me and my Dad, well, it’s weird… My Mom is just Mom, well, you know, she takes care, she can do stuff. And my Dad – he’s just like a total equal. Dasha? It’s my friend. We’ve been… How long? 7 years, we’ve been best friends for 7 years… My Mom said that she wouldn’t see me, say, since Winter and until Summer, until July maybe. It was Winter when… in the 10th grade… well, she works in the ambulance unit, and she had a shift the day I was leaving. Well, we came with my Dad, well, there, to the unit, where she was. Well, she knew I was leaving, and so… Kalmykia. Russia We said goodbye, all that. Then my Dad left. She hugged me and started crying. I don’t even want to come
home once again, so that, well… Not to see her cry… It’s not that I don’t want to see
her cry. It’s just… well, we’ll say goodbye again,
she’ll start crying again and… Anyway, you sit there in a bus and she stands outside and cries. I understand you. It’s hard to see your Mom cry. OK, let’s go. You haven’t told about yourself! Screw that! We’ve been crying here for 2 hours, anyway. Let’s go! Oksana, have you been crying or what? No. You enter here like… What were you doing up there? Looking happy… Russian, pure Russian? I think so, yes. Hey, by the way, Varya, you and Katya, you were ordered to… Appoint someone to put the chairs right. Guess what the next question is? So! We’ve had a huge energy boost! What boost? A cosmic one. You look alike somehow. What? Come on, say it, same weight! Hahahah! My opinion of the person hasn’t changed drastically. Did you want it to change? Well, it’s not that I wanted it to change. I just wanted something more, here’s something missing. This conversation, well, it’s actually very important for me, because… Well, I had no idea, at all. Where from? Well, I knew he was from Armenia, but nothing else. That’s it! And I knew he’d come 5 years ago. I laid all my cards on the table. He opened up, and it was a very touching conversation. Very much… I had no time to tell about myself, but I do not regret at all. And to me now Erdnya is as close as… I don’t know… I even think we’re alike somehow. Thank you! October 14. St. Petersburg Citizens, do not enter the traffic area! Is it the famous Russian march? One for all, and all for one! One for all, and all for one! All those blacks have to be deported, that’s all. Me too, I agree to this woman. I’m not afraid that you will show my face. Me too. I would even like you to show my face. Will those blacks kill me? Will you show it to them? Nobody at all is going to kill you. Those kids are so great, and you chase them! You hit them! Don’t use your fists on them, at least! What are you going to end up with? With the Tadjiks? Those are our kids! Well, I consider immigration as an opportunity more than a problem because with the immigration comes also many benefits, I think. It should be well developed though. The government should do something to provide help for immigrants more than trying to stop them because it is impossible usually to stop immigration. You see, it shall haunt the generations, that will follow. Such a great city… how can we give it away… how can we give it away to… I am afraid to put a proper word here… For someone to intrude…
into this… such historical… So you think that the motto
“Russia – for the Russians” is a positive motto? Of course! Of course! Guys, I’m all in, all in! If there were more people like me, then everything, I don’t know,
would be better on Earth. Home town is never alien for ya. We’ll come here work, study. Here is an alien place anyway. And in a home town we’ll walk like a queen, like a king. There are evil are, there are good are. When I ask for a street, some are: “I don’t know!”, some are “I know, come here, let’s go together, I’ll show you! There, here and here”. There are different kinds. Among our people, too. There are different kinds of people. When I, for example, ask for the direction, some people say: “Get lost, I don’t know!”, some say: “I don’t know”, and some: “Come with us, we will show you!” That is, there are different kinds of people. There’re different people among us, too. They are everywhere. What do you think of people, who say things like “Russia – for the Russians”? Negatively. It’s the same as to say, like, “Bananas – for monkeys only”, “Fridge – for vanilla icecream only”. Sort of, “Chocolate? Get out!”. And so on… That is, all of us, we live on one big planet Earth, right, and it’s our main Motherland. And all of this separation, it’s all those governmental, or political games and stuff. All of us, we live on one big planet Earth… Use your hands! If you’ve worn those stupid gloves, then use it, come on! And all of this separation it is imposed by the government, well, it’s a political game, right. One can become a skinhead here, yeah, easy. Why? Well, why? Because you see this all the time, and see, and see. It’s impossible to get used to. And they drink more than Russian dudes, in fact, yeah. Pigs is what they are, pigs. What do you think, what future does this city have, – if the number of migrants increases?
– Armageddon. What does it mean? It means what it means. We’ll see. It all comes to that, eventually. So, total pessimism? Absolutely. Though, I’m an optimist, I’m an optimist. It’s going to be fun, too. In the future it is going to be an Armageddon. Well, it means, I’m sure, that it all comes to that. Total pessimism. Though I’m an optimist, an optimist. It is fun, too. You know, what is going to happen? Armageddon is going to happen! Well, it means, I’m sure, that everything eventually comes to that. Say for sure: “Yes, yes, yes”. And: “Wanna have fun?” I should say that? Well, I don’t know, look at that, you see… When I was living on Vasilievsky island, I once left home and went along the street. There was some granny walking towards me. She lift up her head and said: “Go where you came from”. Well, I laughed and went on. Hava Nagila! Hava Nagila! Hava Nagila! Do something Ñaucasian style! Give us a beat then! Look, how beautiful the sky is! Look, look! Here’s our school, guys. Do you see that, she’s hitting him. I’m not hitting him! What was it then? So, you still think he deserved to die? Yes. I would kill him myself. Explain! He’s a khach, he’s a mutt. And why do you allow yourself to, say, hit someone and so on? I mean, I get it, something bad can happen, like, rape or assault or something. Of course, rabbling is madness, but it’s OK sometimes. It’s just that, you can go to jail for being a rabble. I know that. Do you know where the skinhead path ends? In morgue or in jail. OK, wait, wait. What is your nationality? Russian. Tatar. Totally Russian? His top half’s Russian… Grandma – Russian, Grandpa – Russian, Mom – Russian, Dad – Russian. All lived in Uzbekistan. Totally Russian? Well, um… His top half’s Russian. Just like yours, right? No, no, I’m Tatar. Come on! What do you feel about people of different religion? About the Jews, say, or the Buddhists, for example? I’m tolerant. You’re tolerant? Well, to be true, I’m an intolerant intolerast, but to a certain degree. What is there to say? Compare them: how we act at Caucasus and how they act here. The difference is obvious, I think. Just compare it, mate, how we act at Caucasus and how they act here. Listen, you say again: “Compare it, mate”. All right… – Say: “Compare it, people!”
– All right. Yes, yes. Because otherwise I don’t understand who you’re talking to. Compare it, people, how we act at Caucasus and how they act here. The difference is obvious. Right. – Yeah, yeah, yeah!
– Right away!
– Do it right away! Listen! Listen! There are a lot of migrants, that’s true. Here you go. – And I am one of them. I’m from the North. From Komi.
– That is it. Vorkuta – I served time there. And now with some spirit, cheer up: “Vorkuta – I served time there”. And now I live here, I work, rent a flat for a life-term, right. I think I may buy it one day. Or I may not. Well, it’s this person there. Now Katya is not this person. She doesn’t pick this person up. We see just Katya. No person, you got it? You have to grow into this person, into this text, so that it’s not Katya. You know what I’m saying? Right. And in order to… All right, if you won’t make this particular girl, but someone else. Let it be someone else. You got it, Katyusha? I worked at a plant. Right. At night… You worked at a construction site! Oh! At a construction site, not a plant! Come on, come on! She’s shy. You want her to tell something, but she’s too shy. And I think, that sometimes Masha speaks up just to create a more positive image. That is just like when Mekhak told us about the fight, and you said: “Nah, no conflicts I see, and I like the city”. Hello there. Hello! How is it going? 2 weeks before the premiere Oh, don’t ask me how it is going. It is all going down. And we still got a problem with Erdnya. It’s possible that he’ll be off before the premiere, that he won’t be here. Right. But it’s yet undecided. Initially all the participants are on the spectator’s seats. They are not presented as actors. They are among the public, right, and then they start coming up on stage. Between the etudes we’ll move the camera across the viewers’ faces. And when someone else says “I want to say something”, it follows him up to the stage and then we switch it off not to disturb anyone. That is, what we want to say is that the stories we tell they are real stories of the real people, just like those who sit on the spectator’s seats. And it means that we can show, from the very beginning, we can move the camera across all the spectators, make a closeup of every face. And afterwards they come right out of this public. Common people who just express their opinion. This way, we push them and allow them to come on stage. And we groom them psychologically. And we groom them psychologically for an idea, that the stage is actually not a sacred space, where only actors may stand, but that it is rather an open space for a discussion. Well, the idea is good by itself, but I have to repeat, that it actually has nothing to do with the theatre. And the whole story should be rather promoted as, I don’t know, as a certain project, or something, and not to call it a performance. Because it is not a performance. ll this that we are talking about right now is not a performance. Well… And I think, I’m not sure if I’m right, I think that it should be something unexpected. That is, people should come and be absolutely unaware of what awaits them. And it should happen suddenly. You see, this situation that we were just… Suppose we set it, the discussion may start at any moment. That’s cool! Yes, that’s cool! Right. And some things that you’ve planned, theoretically speaking, some of these monologues, some of these etudes may not happen. Ok, see you. Say hi to the kids. Ok! See you. Thanks! Bye! Bye! Like this. We can put something in here. Yes, yes, yes! If we… Right, since we’ve decided to film it. People enter the room, everything is already on the screen… – It is on the screen!
– Egor records it… “The Uzbeks”. Where’s our “Gusein”? I have to rewrite his text here. We have it. We have it, OK. But we have to… I’ll take a look. At least, I should take a look at it. What he tells there. Because, apparently, we have too many etudes, so we’ll have to throw out some. Generally, three stories like this should be enough. What do you think? Generally speaking, yes. It’s sad though, but… But then we’ll have to… And how many nationalists’ stories do we have? It’s better here. Take it away! Put it somewhere else. And then this. Yes, yes, yes. Here it is. OK, let’s do it this way. “Armageddon”. “An anecdote about an old bag”. It says here: “About a granny” About a granny. But he says “An old bag”! OK, about an old bag. “A woman from Samarkand”. Apparently, it all goes under “The Uzbeks” yet. Well, “The Uzbeks”. “The Uzbeks”, right. Let’s call it “The Uzbeks”. May 5. Premiere I can’t physically do it on my own. Oh, Lord… Oh, come on, come on. All right! What I honestly feel before the premiere? GOSHA That I’m disturbed by the people of other nationalities,
other than mine, that’s it. And the preparation for the performance brings out nationalistic feelings in me. But I play
the nationalistic characters. One is whacking the khaches, hits them,
another one just doesn’t like them. But I’m not like that. We… We are for the future of Russia! MISHA
Well, I don’t feel anything. – How’s that? Nothing at all?
All of that is very surprising. And, frankly speaking, I do not believe that we have a show. I think it’s just another rehearsal. VARYA
Well, my mood is pretty messed up, because I… I’m sick, I’ve got high temperature. And I don’t know, I feel like shit. GURGEN
I want to say, that now I feel the very best of what
I’ve felt during the whole project. VENYA
Well, nothing. The show. Parents. Cool. Professional theatre. I see, smart face. I can give you, I can give you a number of nouns. Well, I, at least, if you’re interested whether I’m worried or not, then I’m not. Well, what… I don’t know. Keeping in mind there will be just my parents, I do not worry much. Relatives? Strangers? Now there’s a point in worrying. Yeah, I wanted to say something too. It’s all cool, but those last words that you say are like something obvious, and it doesn’t mean that… Come, come, Sasha! Come, come, come, come! Captain America? Here. Ironman? Here. – Gurgen, Gurgen is not here!
– I’m here.
– Fantastic Four are all here? All here. One, two three! That’s it! Go! Come on, carefully… Action! Meeting the audience, all that, right? “A human must think. A human must believe. A human must remember. A human must be. He must be happy. He must be free. He must be tolerant. He must love. Tolerance is the fascism of the minority. Tolerance…” Isn’t that enough? Turn the music off! What is wrong, huh? Everything is wrong! Turn it off! It’s nice music! What’s your problem? Not nice at all! I don’t understand, what is it all about? What is wrong? I’m OK with all the nationalities. Well, in fact, putting it lightly, I’m not OK with some like the Chechen or the Dagestani. They took me once to the Sennoi market When I came there, it was some kind of a revelation for me. I saw there good people, those very people who you call “the khaches”. Even now if you enter the subway train, 90-95 percent are… Those very khaches! The blacks, or whatever, and so on… Yes, khaches! Is it their fault really? Yes! Yes, it is their fault! That they come here by their own will, deliberately? Yes, they deliberately come here to work…
And they mess everything up!
– Find us a job at home! Lately there’ve been, like, shit tones of them in SaintPetersburg! OK, guys, I’m very sorry, but you say some stupid things and dance about it. I wanted to say that all of your mottoes, like, “Russia – for Russians” and all that, I treat it, say, very negatively. I think it is just like saying “Bananas – for monkeys only”, “Fridge – for vanilla icecream only”, “Chocolate? Get out!”. Where does this come from? Why can’t it be normal here? Good job, that’s right. All right, I shall say something. Please! About 4 years ago I met, by chance… I used to buy vegetables from the same boy. And this boy told me he was from Tadjikistan and that he’s going to be deported, because he has no place to register at. I have a big apartment, and I told him: “I can give you a place for registration”. You got a cucumber and you’re happy. You registered one migrant and you’re over the moon. It’s called charity, not a solution to a problem. May 10
Where does this come from? I just, I don’t understand why it can’t be normal here? Because millions of migrants here, that’s why it can’t be normal! I don’t get it, why is it bothering you? Why the hell do you care? What? Are they to blame for the dirt under your feet? I don’t get it. Do they hit you often or what? Hello everyone! Has anyone of us ever thought, what would it be like if all the guest workers, all the migrants were put away? If all the migrants, all the guest workers were put away now, the Moscow would collapse, it would stop moving. No, what I mean is, a Russian guy would work for 30 thousand. But why would they hire a Russian for 30 thousand if there’s someone like that, who would for 10… 30 thousand is unreal, I assure you. – Can I say it not from my character, but from myself?
– Ok, say it. Come up.
– My name is Gosha. So you say “I’m an American!” or “I’m a Russian” and what have you done? What are you proud of? The fact that your Mom popped you out on Russian or USA territory? You can tell us, where you’re coming from and how you got here. What is your name? – My name is Samik.
– All right. I’m an Uzbek. Sometimes it is so, that resentment happens inside, because we pay respect to them, right, and here we get no respect at all. Everyone has nasty people, you see? Everyone: the Russian, the Tadjik, the Uzbek, I don’t know, everyone has nasty people like that. You all make choice here, you go to the market, you choose vegetables, fruits, right? You, sort of, chose the best, right? You don’t want a rotten one. Nobody chooses the rotten ones. Choose the best in men, too. Do not choose rotten, don’t even look at it. Look only at the best. You should talk to people from time to time. Different people. Some of them you won’t like, some you will, and it will have no ethnical ground whatsoever. It’s just, you’ll choose some of the vegetables because they’re fresh, and you’ll throw away the other because they are rotten, because in the end it all comes to whether you found each other or not. May 30 I’m leaving, guys! OK, guys, I’m leaving! I have to go home! OK, bye! – Bye!
– Bye! Let’s go to Egor. Bye, Egor! Bye! Bye everyone! Bye-bye-bye! OK, off you go! Bye! During the summer of 2013 there was a series of bashings at the Saint-Petersburg markets. The nationalists ruined several dozens of stands that belonged to the migrants. The police failed to act. Cast: Project participants: Mekhak Baroyan, Oksana Voronina, Misha Golovin, Gosha Yeliseev, Venya Mirovich, Darina Popova, Sasha Romanchuk, Masha Vasilisa Selivanova, Gurgen Sogoyan, Masha Titova, Varya Chyornaya, Katya Shevchuk, Erdnya Erdneev Project team:
Ada Mukhina, Stas Svistunovich, Alexandra Gorbova, Ekaterina Maksimova, In episodes:
Andrei Burov, Nika Verovaya, Liza Makarova, Nastya Pokhvalova, Zhenya Shin Camera
Mekhak Baroyan, Stepan Bogatyryov, Nika Verovaya, Oksana Voronina, Yuri Gautsel, Gosha Yeliseev, Gleb Klimov, Dmitriy Korshunov, Roge Noryak, Ada Mukhina, Darina Popova, Sasha Romanchuk,
Stas Svistunovich, Masha Vasilisa Selivanova, Masha Titova, Varya Chyornaya, Erdnya Erdneev, Maksim Efros Sound
Vladimir Nesgovorov, Roge Noryak , Vadim Kananykhin Idea and final editing
Ada Mukhina Color correction
Anton Movsesyan Titles
Yan Paul Dubbelman The documentary includes fragments of songs “Tolerantnost” by SuperVanya and “Puma” by NRKTK Special thanks to:
Laboratoria ON.Theatre and personally Milena Avimskaya, Netherlands ConsulateGeneral in St. Petersburg and personally Elena Titova, SaintPetersburg Jewish community centre YESOD and personally Maria Aryeva, Youth Human Rights Group and personally Maksim Ivantsov, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and personally Dubi Rodman and Yekaterina Potapova, Center of the Youth Initiatives and personally Mikhail Levin Maria Kolosova, Natasha Borenko, Elena Vaskovskaya, Anastasia Tyutikova, Ekaterina Yushkevich, Platon Terentyev, Ksenia Babushkina, “dada” studio, Eva Smedemyanskaya, Roman Boyarkov, Arkadiy Gutnikov, Yuri Vetyutnev, Andrey Makarov, Svetlana Sharapova, Alexandra Shakleeva, Iraida Zakharevich, Yulia Kruk, Mikhail Sidash, Ilya Panshenskov, Viktor Khodak, Lyubov Dunina, Yulia Titova, Alexander Vainshtein, Andrei Yakimov, Yuri Klavdiev, Anastasia Semenova, Mikhail Golovin, Yulia Alexandrova, Natasha Naumova, Anastasia Torokhova, Alexandra Nekrasova, Yan Paul Dubbelman Saint-Petersburg, 2015 Theatre project “Vmeste”

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