The Young Guard
The Story of a Myth in Three Parts
Part I: Myth
Director – Maxim Didenko
Part II: Document
Director – Dmitry Egorov
Part III: Life
This is not an adaptation of the famous Soviet novel. It is a meditation on the creation of a myth. A historical and cultural myth created at the expense of human lives. It is an attempt to recreate and make sense of the birth of a heroic story that inspired millions to carry out acts of bravery, and of history itself as a chain of events. What do we know about the underground resistance movement of the small town of Krasnodon? What do we want to know about them? What actually happened to those young partisans? Who killed them so cruelly and why? And what was it like for those who survived? How did they live within the confines of a myth?
The first part of the show is Maxim Didenko's interpretation of that myth through movement, with pathos, thundering music and exaggerated characters. With a minimal amount of text, it is almost a ballet performed by groups of sculptures come to life. As is fitting for high tragedy, the audience feels pity and horror, that their souls might be cleansed.
The second part of the show is based on real documents – records from archives and museum collections, old photographs and the memoirs of relatives of the Young Guard. Dmitry Egorov investigates the history of Krasnodon resistance movement and the events that led to the myth's creation in order to remove the “textbook lacquer,” the bronze, and free those people from their monuments. Those young people, vivid, loving, fearful, hopeful and hating, not their heroic incarnations. People whose tragic fate was used for the creation of a morale-boosting legend, and about whom we actually know nothing apart from that legend. It is an attempt to take a peek inside the history of the Young Guard by means of theatrical journalism.
Stage and Costume Design – Evgeny Lemeshonok
Multimedia Director – Natalia Naumova
Composer – Ivan Kushnir
Sound Design – Dmitry Bachinsky
Light Design – Dmitry Albul
Stage Managers – Alena Parshina and Svetlana Povalyaeva
Consultants: Marina Tursina (Tambov), Natalia Nikolaenko (Krasnodon), Galina Lugantseva (Krasnodon), Oksana Lugantseva (Krasnodon), Irina Chernienko (Krasnodon), Viktoria Rybalko (Krasnodon), Elena Steshenko (Krasnodon), Irina Shiryaeva (Rovenky), as well as Galina Chepanskaya and Alina Kamenshikova (Krasnodon).
The show contains songs written by J. Lennon, O. Feltsman (based on the poetry of R. Rozhdestvensky), V. Basner (based on the poetry of M. Magusovsky), V. Solovyev-Sedoy (based on the poetry of S. Ostrovoy), arias and choir pieces from Y. Meitus' opera The Young Guard (libretto by A. Malyshko, translated by M. Isakovsky).
The show's creators express their enormous gratitude to the following people:
Dmitry Sherbin, the employees of RGASPI and A. K. Sorokin and O. N. Golovach specifically, RGALI and D. V. Neustroev specifically, the RNB department of sheet music publications and music recordings and I. F. Bezuglovaya specifically, The St. Petersburg State Theatre Library, Mikhail Alexandrovich Fadeev, Pavel Morozov (Novoshakhtinsk), Alexander Kalganov (St. Petersburg), Valery Kovalenko (Moscow), Mikhail and Olga Zaets (Rostov), Leonid Batsko and Alexander Batrak (Krasnodon).
The show uses documentary materials from the archives of the Young Guard Museum (Krasnodon), Memory of the Falllen (Rovenky), RGASPI, RGALI and the www.molodguard.ru and www.fire-of-war.ru websites.
ATTENTION: the audio used in the show contains frequencies that may provoke a reaction from those suffering from epilepsy, cardiovascular disease or neurological disorders.
Premiere – 16 October 2015
Duration – 4 hours with two intervals
Recommended for audiences 18 and older.
The show has been nominated for the Golden Mask Awards, the national theatre awards of Russia, in two categories:
Experiment and Best Supporting Role (Maxim Fomin).
It previously participated in the Golden Mask's off-program, Mask Plus (Moscow, 2016).