In March 2019 the New Stage of the Chekhov Moscow Art Theater welcomed the premiere of Philipp Grigoryan’s Cannon Fodder based on the play by Belarusian playwright Pavel Pryazhko, a collaborative project of International Festival-School of Contemporary Art Territory, the Moscow Art Theatre School, Aksenov Family Foundation and the Brusnikin Workshop.
The play by Pavel Pryazhko features three characters, three young women. Photo artist Alina, “exhibition curator” Marina and their common friend Olya exist in the gallery space. They are surrounded only by memories, feelings and emotions. In Philipp Grigoryan’s performance, the story told on behalf of three women is complemented and emphasized by the appearance of “male characters” who are both fictional figures and agents of the everyday reality that the inhabitants of the art gallery diligently ignore.
There are five characters in the performance, three women and two men. We increase the number of people on stage so that the imaginary characters and events could also have not only a verbal but also a theatrical form.
Cannon Fodder is not the first Grigoryan’s work with Pryazhko’s texts. The director and playwright met more than 10 years ago. At that time Grigoryan was creating spectacular multi-genre projects, and Pryazhko’s texts demanded unusual stage solutions that would enable an adequate stage dimension for the minimalism of the “new drama”. Philipp Grigoryan moved beyond conventions and anesthetized Pryazhko’s texts using costumes, set design and movement. The playwright wrote the play Third Shift (2008) especially for the director, which was staged at the Joseph Beuys Theater. Later, Philipp Grigoryan staged two more texts by Pavel Pryazhko: Chukchi at the Scena-Molot Theater in Perm (2009), and The Field at the Moscow Theatre "School of Modern Drama" (2010).
Cannon Fodder play was first presented at the The Lubimovka Young Russian Playwrights Festival, 2015 as a stage reading directed by Dmitry Volkostrelov.
The play was performed by fourth-year students of the Moscow Art Theatre School (master of the course Dmitry Brusnikin): Eva Milgram, Maria Lapshina, Yasmina Omerovich, Nikita Kovtunov and Kirill Odoevskiy. Cannon Fodder was their graduate performance, released on professional stage.
Staging — Philipp Grigoryan
Set and costume design — Philipp Grigoryan and Vlada Pomirkovanaya
Movement — Anna Abalikhina
Music — Andrey Borisov
Project adviser — Olga Fedyanina
Director-tutor — Sergey Schedrin
Executive producer — Natasha Kirillova
Chief producer — Ekaterina Yakimova