It’s been so long since I was lucky enough to find myself at the May 31st, 2009 performance of “Gobo.Digital.Glossary” by St. Petersburg-based Akhe Group. I can’t let this slide. The following are loose strands, just whats left, besides a very strong feeling that I saw something special.
-the low-fi scrappiness to the electronics (wireless trigger cameras, hacked motors, hot plates) created a linear mise-en-scene, going from one thing to the next in an environment that was a mystery. Circus-like in its essence.
-The way in which the body is the subject upon which each actor was experimented upon, mainly humorous, but allowed the form to open- always in a direction, but absurd as well
-The novelty found in the simplest of things, because the actors just exist. Total honesty. Particularly the rubber bands.
-The sound. How much I felt it needed something beyond incidentalism. If only some sounds could have been conceived and birthed in these ‘kernel scenarios’, with so much else that made this interesting.
-The reading in english. Filler. Purposely too long, purposely making the audience self-conscious? Cheap laughs?
Here is some real information, taken from the SF Intl Arts Festival:
|The Akhe Groups latest project, “Gobo.Digital Glossary,” is directed by ensemble veteran Yana Tumina and features founders Pavel Semchenko and Maxim Isaev on stage with the rest of the group operating the multiple hand built props and stage effects that have become Akhe trademarks. “Gobo.Digital Glossary” is Akhes absurdist, surrealist take on the Everyman story told through a collection of semi-mute micro-plots created in different genres and with different techniques, from cinema to shadow play, ironically playing a trick on the average hero of modernity.
Absurdist theatre group Akhe from St. Petersburg pushes theatre to its limits. Challenging theatrical creativity with extreme minimalistic props; this avant-garde troupe explodes on stage. Their shows are in a constant state of flux and sometimes change from performance to performance. The constant variable in their work is honesty; which makes for dynamic ritual and mesmerizing visual theatre. Akhe was founded in St. Petersburg in 1989 by Maxim Isaev and Pavel Semchenko both from a visual art background and fomer members of Boris Ponizovskis Yes-No theatre group. Isaev and Semchenko were joined in 1996 by the actress Yana Tumina and Akhe Russian Engineering Theatre was born.
The Akhe Group have been nominated for the Russian Golden Mask Award, have achieved cult status in many theatre festivals worldwide. Their shows are filled with absurd objects and art citations, drawing on an ironic eclecticism that seek to unite the “sublime” with the banal. Their search for contact with fellow humans results in their marching right past one another. Ironic rituals and absurdly eccentric actions are combined mysteriously, allowing the depths of the human soul to shine forth.