Noir Clowning

Premiere took place on December 16, 2015 (Theatre of Nations, Moscow)

Despite the fact that the stage version of the novel written by Konstantin Fyodorov, includes 20 characters, the play actually engages only four actors. Together with inimitable Ingeborga Dapkunayte, which plays Prince Myshkin, on the stage are Evgeny Tkachuk, Pavel Chinaryov, Roman Chaliapin and Alexander Yakin. The director has set for himself the paradoxical task to make “The Idiot” in the aesthetics of “noir” clowning. He says that “in this world, among other things, there are two things that are lost: culture of clowning and the perception of Dostoevsky as an ironic and living man.”

All the events will be happening in the space created by artist Pavel Semchenko of AKHE Theatre, who often uses complex video-mapping and interaction with real objects. For Maxim Didenko, the novel has in its foreground the love triangle “Myshkin – Nastasia – Rogozhin” and those paradoxical events that we often do not notice being lost in the “accursed questions” and hopeless situationы described in the novel.

“It appeared to me that we can research this novel through a keyhole, as if peeping at the last scene, when the prince and Rogozhin were sitting near the corpse of Nastasya Filippovna. I saw it in a surreal way. I have kept this vision in some kind of box in my head; I was running everywhere with it.

Two years ago, Vyacheslav Polunin invited me to do a show in the Circus on Fontanka. Personally, I never met him before, but I knew almost everything, because one way or another I had been engaged in clowning. We ran to his shows from the exams in the Theater Institute. He was a god for me. And here I was talking to the people who had started clowning in Russia. Then I realized how it looks like today, and wanted to have my say. It may sound naive or false, but it seemed to me that “The Idiot” by Dostoevsky is a fertile ground to say that word.

The adventure is that the people who will implement these ideas at the Theatre of Nations are no clowns at all. In some sense it may help to clear the clowning genre from some “shells” that adhered to it. An impossible task, but an interesting one.” (Maxim Didenko)

“We are in the state of a question, not in the state in an answer. It is a cool state, there is no preaching in. It fits to me, because I feel the same way in the process of staging. There is no global response, but there is a challenge that life presents to me. It is this challenge that I interact with in the field of theatre. It is such a kind of activity the value of which I do not really realize.” (Maxim Didenko)

Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes


Maxim Didenko

Stage Version
Konstantin Fyodorov

Ivan Kushnir

Stage Designer and Lighting Designer
Pavel Semchenko

Costume Designer
Anisiya Kronidova

Video Artist
Ilya Starilov

Characters and performers

Prince Myshkin
Ingeborga Dapkunayte

Parfen Rogozhin
Alexander Yakin
Evgeny Tkachuk

Nastasia and Lebedev
Roman Shaliapin

Aglaya and Ganya
Artem Tulchinsky
Paul Chinarev