by Sasha Denisova
The play “The Hague” by the Ukrainian author Sasha Denisova is a grotesque, funny, and sinister “phantasmagoria” based on real events and people related to the Russian war in Ukraine. The text interweaves real elements of the political and ideological reality of the Russian Federation together with fragments of documentary war stories and family tragedies to create a non-linear narrative that constructs an image of the war through the emotional world of a little girl. Written shortly after the onset of the military aggression, it had its premiere in February 2023 in Poland, and in June Sasha Denisova staged it at Arlekin Players Theatre in Boston, USA. Galin Stoev's production will be the first premiere of the 2023/2024 theatre season at the National Theatre.
“This text is an impossible encounter between Shakespeare and Monty Python. A kind of version of the (future) trial against Putin and his entourage at the Hague tribunal for war crimes and crimes against humanity plays out before our eyes, taking place in the mind of a child. A child who will stand as the main accuser. In this sense, “The Hague” is a theatrical fantasy - both comic and chilling. It is the first time I have worked on a theatre project that has such a direct and definite connection to our immediate reality. I am exploring the possibility of a harmonious or, on the contrary, paradoxical coexistence between politics and poetry, documentary and musical, myth and current news. This gives rise to emotional and intellectual vertigo and forms a field of reflection that is purely artistic in nature. In this playing field, the fragments of the “normality” we have lost because of the war come into direct interaction with each other. This builds a kind of labyrinth for the viewer to explore the limits of their personal understanding of good and bad. Just as a child, forced by circumstances to become an adult, does”.
Galin Stoev, director
Sasha Denisova is a Ukrainian playwright and director. She graduated from the Faculty of Philology at Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv. She taught directing at the Meyerhold Theatre Centre, lectured at the Moscow Art Theatre School, and ran a studio for auteur and documentary theatre – Studio-OFF. In 2010, after completing her training in Documentary Theatre at the Royal Court Theatre in the UK, Denisova created a company of like-minded artists with whom she practices forms of experimental theatre. She fled Russia at the beginning of the war and now lives in Poland, where she has written and produced several documentary plays, including “The Hague”.
Galin Stoev has been working as a theatre director since 1991. In Sofia, he started with the classical repertoire and later turned to modern and contemporary texts. After his success in Bulgaria, his work was introduced to various European stages in Belgium, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Argentina, and Italy. His encounter with the Russian playwright Ivan Vyrypaev proved decisive. Between 2002 and 2005 Galin Stoev directed three of his plays in various European theatres. Since 2007 Galin has mainly worked in France and Belgium, more specifically at La Comédie-Française, Le théâtre national de la Colline, Théâtre de Liège, Festival d'Avignon, Odeon theatre del'Europe, etc. Since 2018, he has been Artistic Director of ThéâtredelaCité - Centre Dramatique National Toulouse Occitanie, where his first production, “Unbearably Long Embraces” by Ivan Vyrypaev, received the French Critics' Prize "Le prix du Syndicat de la critique”. In January 2023, his latest production, “Uncle Vanya” by Anton P. Chekhov, a production of the ThéâtredelaCité – Centre Dramatique National, Toulouse in co-production with the Comédie – center dramatique national de Reims and with the support of the Cercle de l'Odéon had its premiere at the Odeon theatre del'Europe, Paris where it was performed within a period of one month and was a huge success. In 2019 Galin Stoev was pronounced Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the French Republic.
With English subtitles.
Olga Nedyalkova, Elena Todorova
Nikolay Dimitrov – NAD
Premiere: 19th and 20th of September 2023