by Bernard-Marie Koltès
Frol Podlesniy, Pavel Minarskiy, Alexander Razuvalov
Alexandros Ioannis Hills
The famous play by Bernard-Marie Koltès was written in 1985, four years before the playwright died from AIDS. Within it the French theatre researcher Patrice Pavis finds references to the philosophical dialogues of Plato and Diderot, and Koltès himself calls it "a philosophical dialogue in the manner of the seventeenth century". The action takes place "on the other side of time" - in the dark hours of the night, when a “seller” and a “buyer” meet and become entangled in a dangerous game of buying and selling, in which fear, desire, sexuality, repressed guilt and aggression rule.
The object of the "deal" remains vague and unnamed. Some painful secret is kept, which not only cannot be spoken but also cannot be humbled by the inner measure of right and wrong, of good and evil. The dialogue resembles a dramatized monologue of consecutive presentation of philosophical theses; lines and arguments are exchanged according to the rules of a treatise on logic or law.
Beyond the apparent impenetrability of the text - with its poetic language and verbal sophistication – themes of love as longing and impossibility; of commerce as the dominant modality of human relationships; of desire as something shameful, hidden, painful and self-destructive; and ultimately of loneliness...settle down. Cotton Fields are mentioned only once in Koltès’s text. Perhaps this wonderful metaphor, with its beauty and doom, was born during his last trip to Mexico, a few years before his death.
Timofey Kulyabin, the director of the performance, says: “Our show is about sexual perversion, about a hidden desire, which is punishable by many of our contemporary societies. There are two actors in our show - Ingeborga Dapkūnaite and John Malkovich, but not two characters. We are in the subconscious, in someone's nightmare, and he is not physically on the stage. He lives in terrible internal disharmony because he has realised that his sexual desire is criminal. But that's his nature and he can't fight it. He wants to admit it to himself, but he can't, because it is both scary and dangerous. We are in a man who endlessly struggles with himself. It is a projection of his consciousness, a nightmare in which he is constantly trying to come to terms with himself. Therefore, he comes up with these two himself, the seller and the buyer. Two entities are fighting. The further we go, the better we understand what the story is about. The actors will change roles during the performance. And after a while we will realize that it is a person's inner monologue that breaks down into a dialogue. It is the last dialogue before the tragedy…”
Five videographers also participate in the performance, filming in real time what is happening on stage. Projected details are superimposed on the theatrical image. The mixing of live and recreated space-time reflects the split consciousness, the attempt to distance oneself and disregard reality, but also represents its heavy validity.
Timofei Kulyabin was born in 1984. In 2007 he graduated from the directing faculty of the State Institute of Theatre Arts in Moscow in the class of O. Kudryashov. While still a student he made his professional stage debut with the production “On Nevsky Prospect” by Nikolai Gogol at the Omsk Drama Theatre (2006). Since 2007 he has worked at the Novosibirsk Academic Theatre “Red Torch”, and in 2015 he headed the theatre, becoming the youngest chief director in Russia at that time. He was head of the “Red Torch” Theatre until February 2022 and during this time carried out a number of productions offering radical contemporary interpretations of A. Pushkin’s “The Queen of Spades” (2007) and “Onegin” (2012), with which he became a winner of the National Theatre Award “Golden Mask”. Also “Hedda Gabler” by Henrik Ibsen (2012), “KILL” (based on “Treachery and Love” by Friedrich Schiller, 2013), “Three Sisters” by Anton Chekhov (2015) - a performance awarded with the National Theatre Award “Golden Mask” and “Best Performance” for 2015. “The Trial” by Franz Kafka (2016), “Children of the Sun” by Maxim Gorky (2018, winner of the National Theatre Award “Golden Mask”), “The Wild Duck” by Henrik Ibsen (2021).
Among Timofey Kulyabin’s productions in other theatres in Russia are: “Dress-code” at the “Comedian’s Shelter” Theatre (St. Petersburg, 2012), “Elektra” (2013), “Ivanov” (2016) and “The Broken Cannon” (2020) at the Theatre of Nations (Moscow). He has also worked in a number of drama theatres in Europe, where he has staged productions of “Livejournal” (Russian Drama Theatre, Riga, 2007), “Kolyma Stories” by Varlam Shalamov (Residenztheater, Munich, 2018), “Nora or A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen (Schauspielhaus, Zurich, 2019), “Miss Julia” by August Strindberg and “Platonov” by A. Chekhov (Deutsches Theater, Berlin, 2020 and 2022).
In 2022, on the stage of the Dailes Theatre in Riga, he directed “In the Loneliness of the Cotton Fields”, based on the play by Bernard-Marie Koltes, starring Ingeborga Dapkunaite and John Malkovich - a show that is already going on a world tour this year and can be seen in many different countries.
Timofey Kulyabin directed his first opera production - “Prince Igor” by A. Borodin, performed in 2009 at the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre. His second production in this theatre - “Tannhäuser” by R. Wagner, provoked a political scandal with the church in 2014 and the performance was pulled down. Nevertheless, the director continues to work successfully on the stages of a number of opera houses such as. Donizetti (2016) and A. Donizetti’s “Rusalka”. Verdi (2017) and “Oedipus Rex” by I. Stravinsky (2019), and at the Prague National Opera “Distant Bell” by F. Schreker (2022).
In connection with his unequivocal anti-war stance, Timofey Kulyabin was forced to leave his post as the chief director of the “Red Torch” Theatre and all his productions planned for the coming years in Russia were cancelled. He currently lives and works in Europe. His upcoming productions include “Fear and Misery in the Third Reich” by Bertolt Brecht (Tallinn Drama Theatre, Estonia) and “Macbeth” by W. Shakespeare (Frankfurt Drama Theatre, Frankfurt am Main, Germany).
Ingeborga Dapkunaite is an internationally renowned, London-based, Lithuanian actress. She has played numerous leading parts in film, television and theatre. She starred in ‘Burned by the Sun’ by Nikita Mikhalkov (Oscar for Best Foreign Film, Grand Prix de Jury at Cannes FF), ‘Katia Ismailova’ by Valery Todorovsky (Best Actress Award at Geneva FF and Russian Film Academy Award), also in Brian de Palma’s ‘Mission Impossible’, Jean-Jacque Annaud’s ‘Seven Years in Tibet’, Emily Young’s ‘Kiss of Life’ (premiered at Cannes FF), Stéphane Voillet’s ‘25 Degrees of Winter’(Audience Award at Berlin FF), Christian Carion’s ‘D’Affaire ‘Fairwell’ and ‘Occupied’ Norwegian TV series amongst others.
Ingeborga’s theatre work includes productions around the world — ‘Slip of the Tongue’ opposite John Malkovich at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago and then in London’s West End, ‘Libra’, directed by John Malkovich at Steppenwolf, ‘Cloaca’ directed by Kevin Spacey at the Old Vic in London, World Tour with Giacomo Variations, leading roles in productions of Moscow Theatre of Nations from 2013 till 2022.
An American stage and film actor, as well as a director, producer, and fashion designer, John Malkovich has appeared in more than seventy films throughout his career. He also is the holder of twenty-five award wins and twenty-six nominations, and his career stretches back nearly three decades and has included everything from the acclaimed period drama Dangerous Liaisons (1988) to action thrillers In the Line of Fire (1993), Con Air (1997), and the Red film franchise to Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich (1999).
In 1976, Malkovich joined Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. In 1980, he won an Obie Award for his performance in a version of Sam Shepard’s True West, which was soon followed by his Broadway debut in Death of a Salesman, for which he won an Emmy Award.
In 1982, he appeared in A Streetcar Named Desire with Chicago’s Wisdom Bridge Theatre. He then directed a Steppenwolf coproduction, the 1984 revival of Landford Wilson’s Balm in Gilead, for which he received a second Obie Award and a Drama Desk Award. That same year, he received his first Academy Award Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance in Places in the Heart. In 1984, he won the National Board of Review, National Society of Film Critics, and Kansas City Film Critics Circle awards for Best Supporting Actor for Places in the Heart. He became a star when he portrayed Valmont in the 1988 film Dangerous Liaisons, featuring Glenn Close and Michelle Pfeiffer, a role he reprised for the music video to Annie Lennox’s song “Walking on Broken Glass”. In 1994, Malkovich received a second Academy Award nomination for his role in In the Line of Fire.
John Malkovich continued to pursue more unusual roles and films, including The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; Beowulf; and Burn After Reading, a Coen brothers comedy.
Because of his aptitude for comedy, Malkovich has hosted Saturday Night Live on three occasions: in 1993 with Billy Joel as his musical guest; in 2008, the show featured appearances from Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Molly Sims, and Justin Timberlake.
Also, in 2008, Malkovich portrayed Jack Unterweger in a project for an actor, two sopranos, and period orchestra entitled The Infernal Comedy, which was premiered at Barnum Hall in Santa Monica. In 2011, he directed Julian Sands in A Celebration of Harold Pinter in the Pleasance Courtyard for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and in 2012 a production of a newly adapted French-language version of Dangerous Liaisons for the Théâtre de l’Atelier in Paris.
Known for his achievements as an actor, producer, director, and writer, John Malkovich continues to win prestigious awards worldwide, including a News and Documentary Emmy Award in 2010, a special prize at the Moscow International Film Festival in 2011 for his contribution to the world of cinema, and an Independent Spirit Award in 2013. He also was presented with the Golden Eye Award at the Zurich International Film Festival in 2014 for lifetime achievement.
Co-production by Dailes Theatre Latvia and Ekaterina Yakimova
Tour management - Flow Projects GmbH
General Partner of the project: Blavatnik Family Foundation
Partners: BORMIO, Flow Projects and Dailes Theatre.
Duration: 70 minutes
Premiere: 28th of May 2022 - Riga, Latvia