Maris Sako

newspaper HELSINKI SANOMAT, Helsinki/Finland

published 8 February 2010

Andriy Zholdak is recognized by the style in which no one is spared.

        “In Finland, half of my rehearsal time was spent on trying to make actors become human in the first place. Theaters here have too many dead actors”.

         The Small Stage hall of Turku City Theater filled with Finnish actors does not shudder at the words of the 47-year-old Ukrainian theatrical director Anderi Zholdak. He is recognized by the style in which no one is spared.

         “Finnish actors have some computer program in their heads. All my time is taken up by crashing that program and what I see in people in the end is a gleam of light. Yet when they come here next morning they seem to have gotten a brand new program in their brains which needs to be destroyed again”, sighs Mr. Zholdak.

         The director demands self-sacrifice of theatrical workers. “Technically, the Finns are more skilled; they act, however, from under a personal protective glass dome and with no partner in sight”. Highest-level European directors need actors who do not bring archetypes onstage. On the part of Andriy Zholdak, it is a mistake to be present on the stage as in real life. He knows what he’s talking about – a director who has been in-and-out of the most famous theaters of Ukraine, Switzerland, Romania and Russia, and is a desired guest at festivals. His creative works emphasize women’s stories: “Medea”, “Phaedra”, “Carmen”, “Turando”, which have now been joined by “Anna Karenina” in Turku.

         At present, he is writing a book about his theatrical thoughts; the manuscript contains seven hundred chapters already. “An actor for me is Prometheus’s descendant. His eyes blaze. He craves to know what is on the writer’s mind”.

         Zholdak’s ideal of an actor is the Nietzschean superactor. There are special directors, Christopher Marthaler or Alvis Hermanis, for instance. They worked in a different manner and called for “different” actors.

         “Now I speak about the directors like myself, that is those who follow in the steps of Kantor, Artaud and Grotovskiy” For the Ukrainian director, the theater of the future is definitely a return to the age-old shaman expression, but at the same time it is not void of modern admiration of speed.

         “A high-level theater will need quantum actors, those who outrun the speed of light. The theater of the future does not create the illusions of reality, but representations that draw close together abstractions, music and fine art”.

         Due to shocking allegories and maniacal repetitions, the director’s five-hour-long production is formed into a spiral speech of a kind that always goes past the actor. “I love the actor. What really matters about an actor is that which is invisible”.

         Meanwhile, the director enjoys his own recklessness. In the future, Zholdak warns, a man may arise possessing all possible functions and reflexes, but without a heart. An artist must live a life that differs from that of a machine; he must discover himself.                        

        “Do not be robots!”


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