Power, Politics and Performance in Russia: “The War Hasn’t Yet Started” + Q&A

Talk Friday 15 January 2016, 7:00 PM

The Frontline Club and Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with Sputnik Theatre present four nights of new Russian drama. Featuring exciting and topical plays by British theatre directors and cast – translated into English by Sputnik’s artistic director Noah Birksted-Breen. Each evening will touch upon various aspects of life in Russia covering an array of issues, from the clampdown on theatre and freedom of speech to growing social tensions and immigration.

The War Hasn’t Yet Started by Mikhail Durnenkov

This play was originally commissioned by A Play, A Pie and A Pint theatre company in Glasgow.

Running time: 55 mins

Does war amount to a father threatening to burn down a brand new house built for him by his son, simply to avoid the humiliation of being dependent? Is war what happens when a wife is obedient to her violent but devoted husband? Durnenkov depicts the dehumanising effects of living in a society on the brink of all-out war.

Stylistically reminiscent of the formal experimentation of Caryl Churchill or Martin Crimp, The War Hasn’t Yet Started is a dark but often hilarious play about where war really lurks – in our homes, on our streets, in our hearts.

This reading will be followed by a post-show discussion chaired by Lucy Ash, an award winning presenter of foreign affairs documentaries at the BBC. Ash spent four years in Moscow in the 90s, is a frequent visitor to Russia and is passionate about theatre’s ability to hold up a mirror to society.

The panel:

Bridget Kendall MBE is BBC’s award winning Diplomatic Correspondent, reporting and analysing major global news events, with a particular interest in Russia.

As Diplomatic Correspondent, Bridget Kendall has been covering major international events for the BBC since1998. Before that she was Washington Correspondent and Moscow Correspondent. She has a particular expertise in Russia and East/West relations and covered the collapse of the Soviet Union, as well as conflicts in Kosovo, Chechnya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and now Syria.

She is also presenter of BBC radio’s flagship discussion programme on global ideas, The Forum.

Noah Birksted-Breen founded and runs Sputnik Theatre Company which is dedicated to bringing contemporary Russian plays to the UK. Sputnik has premiered eight new Russian plays in the UK in their first English language translations. Recently, Birksted-Breen co-authored with Christine Bacon, a play about independent journalism, On the Record, which was produced by Ice & Fire theatre company at the Arcola Theatre. Previously, Birksted-Breen won a Channel 4 Theatre Directors’ Award in 2006 and was attached as Resident Director to Hampstead Theatre.

Simon Stokes is the Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Plymouth. He trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and has directed abroad in Germany, Switzerland, Israel and The USA. Stokes’ most prominent work includes Kiss Of The Spiderwoman with Simon Callow and Mark Rylance, When I Was A Girl I Used To Scream And Shout with Julie Walters, Geraldine James and Dawn French; and Slip Of The Tongue with Ingeborge Dapkunaite and John Malkovich. Stokes is currently directing James Graham’s new play, Monster, Raving, Loony.