Marina Davydova

newspaper IZVESTIYA

fragment from press reviews (available in English)

        No other director working in the European theatre arouses such contradictory feeling as Andriy Zholdak.  In appearance he resembles Pantagruel pretending to be Taras Bulba (just the top-knot means something). In spirit he is a child with claims to genius (well, how else should one take someone who signs posters Zholdak-Tobilevich IV, like some petty princeling?). He is the only pupil of Anatoly Vasiliev to be in no way like his teacher - because he is like nobody and nothing. Even admirers of this indefatigable radical await first nights with hair on end and heart in mouth: what has he been up to this time? Of those ill-disposed to Zholdak, the less said the better. “A man should have his nuts cut off for productions like that!” commented one eminent theatre critic after Zholdak’s “Three Sisters” a few years ago at the Baltdom festival.

           In the Ukrainian theatre the emergence of a firebrand like Zholdak is like the sudden sprouting of a coconut palm in a potato patch. What is to be done with him? How can he be used? Not surprisingly, Zholdak is looking hopefully towards Russia. In Russia itself many, quite without foundation, consider him a russophobe (the notorious top-knot is hardly a basis for such a conclusion). Utter nonsense! Zholdak is one of those directors for whom the theatre replaces homeland, religion and ideology. He is obsessed to the exclusion of all else with finding a new dramatic expressiveness and in his quest he is merciless, relentless, excessive and criminally immune to reason. His energy spills over and his imagination knows no bounds. Zholdak is neither a fountain nor even a geyser, but rather a fire pump.


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