Culture Opinion, 16/07/2017

What the Brainwashing is? Or ‘The Imaginary Invalid’ in Kharkiv Puppet Theater


One of the most awaited premiers has been shown on the stage of Kharkiv State Academic Puppet Theater. It is “The Imaginary Invalid” by brilliant Jean-Baptist Moliere in a stage edition by director Oksana Dmitrieva and master of scenography Natalia Denisova.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about political and social responsibility in government theaters during such complicated situation as we have with Russian aggression. Does it mean that directors have to reflect? Does it mean that shows have to be political? Or patriotic? How does an individual have to reflect or respond?

Oksana Dmitrieva’s magical theater has none of that. None. But steel she and her esthetical illusions are more than timely today. Her values are global kindness and love. She is Petite Prince and Don Kihot in one. Her questions and themes are much deeper and close to everybody. How can you be satisfied with who you are? What does truly matter in your life? Those are the main themes of Dmitrieva’s “Imaginary Invalid” on the puppet theater stage.

Director Oksana Dmitrieva and master of scenography Natalia Denisova are excellent in the creation of new realities, making a theatrical world more real than a real life is.

All of humans every day, every minute choose by themselves own reality in external context. All of us are the mirrors who’re in one hand reflecting the world, and on the other, projecting it on ourselves. Argan, actor Vyacheslav Gindin, find his way at a Vanity fair; he manipulates his family by imaginary disease. And ironic is that he has been manipulated in return by Aesculapius who cure him of the imaginary diagnoses, and his wife who wants only his money and to get rid of his daughters.

“The imaginary invalid” is one of the best dramatic pieces among Jan-Baptist Moliere comedies. But unfortunately, this grace is stunning. This text was the playwright’s last one and, during the show in the role of Argon, Moliere died on the stage. Oksana Dmitrieva uses the whole palette of puppet theater animation effects – large moving bones and skulls, giant sculpture with death’s head on one side and dope on the other – that attach us to the old carnival culture and are represented on the stage in scenography by Natalia Denisova.

One of the most important signs of Moliere drama texts is combining folk Comedy del Arte with raffinate French theater tradition. Oksana Dmitrieva uses the masks and total looks of Chrestomathic heroes in the show.

Every role is played with great love; it is pure joy to watch all shadows and emotions on the stage. The art piece of Oksana reminds some child game in a very beautiful, esthetical form.  Actors are enjoying being part of this game and spectators are delighted with them.