Culture News, 01/06/2018

‘Homo Soveticus’ Enchants Ukrainian Audience

June 4, “Homo Soveticus. American comedy & Soviet tragedy” play, which gained recognition as the most popular performance of the International Theatre Festival “Melpomene of Tavria,” is shown in the Taras Shevchenko Academic Ukrainian Drama Theatre to conclude its tour.

Interestingly, the opening night of the tragicomedy after “Aggrieved Goldener” play by Russian opposition writer and journalist Viktor Shenderovich, was also first shown to the public in Kharkiv in October 2017. The author personally presented the play.

During its first season, the performance was shown in Kyiv, Sumy, Poltava, Kremenchuh, Zaporizhia, Dnipro, Kropyvnytskyi and Zhytomyr. The play was also performed at the 20th International Theater Festival “Melpomene of Tavria” twice – in Kherson and Mykolaiv, amassing a total audience of over 1,450 people.

This is a droll story of Wolf Goldener, the former boss of the fictional Kharkiv Energovazhmash plant, who emigrated to the USA. Living in America he finds he hates American lifestyle and has nostalgia for the Soviet life. Once he gets hit by the car of an American Jane Watson. The woman is sentenced by the court to look after the aggrieved person. In their witty dialogues two sets of mind – the American and Soviet one – clash.

Maksim Holenko, the play director from Kyiv explains, “This performance shows how ‘sovok’ (Soviet mindset) has mutilated people, twisted their mind and keeps dominating their thinking in the system of false, idiotic values. And the question now is how to eradicate this? What can we do to it while living next to it? As this is actually a huge problem for Ukraine currently.”

“The play absolute box office success at the theatre festival ‘Melpomene of Tavria,’ shows the viewers highly evaluated the play’s idea and its creator’s efforts,” says the festival director.

Text: Olena Sokolynska

Photo: Mikho Kantarovich, Yekateryna Chetyrina