A blue dot

First contact with the Viripayev universe. The company gathers in Local 3 of the Teatre La Biblioteca to do the first reading of Unbearably long hugs . There is Ferran Utzet, the director, Paula Malia, Alba Pujol, Martí Salvat and Joan Solé. The musician, Jordi Busquets, Giulia Grumi, costume designer; and Mònica Molins, assistant director.

And Miquel Cabal, the translator, makes an introduction. He explains that Ivan Viripayev is one of the greats of the contemporary Russian theater, who lives in Poland because he confronted Putin's government. He explains that, by personal decision, he does not direct or participate in anything in Russia.

"The characters in Unbearably long hugs are socially displaced, disconnected from reality and disconnected from each other. A bit like what happens to Dostoevsky's characters. But they also have a bit of Chekhov, of his irony", says Cabal.

Unbearably long hugs plays a lot with the repetition of language, a classic element of Russian literature. There is a permanent game of inner dialogues, a constant contrast between formal language and everyday speech. "A clash between two ways of understanding the world". And in this clash, says Cabal, a kind of connection between the Slavic peoples can be guessed: Emmy is from Serbia, Monica is from Poland and Krystof is from the Czech Republic. It is a historically dangerous Slavic cocktail.

Ferran Utzet, director, joins the conversation to put the work in context. Viripáiev has been translated in France and this same production was seen in Nancy in some meetings of dramatized readings. "I was captivated but I don't quite know why," he says. The storytelling is captivating: are the actors actors or are they characters? That maybe they talk about the afterlife? Everything happens in the present and at high speed. "I connected with it emotionally right away."

Each character in Unbearably long hugs comes from a different world, from their own beliefs. And everything is very fragile and can collapse at any moment. But there is room to save. Despite the tragedy experienced by the characters, the nihilism it exudes, the play has no moralizing will. There is irony in this fatalism.

"And how do I approach the work?" asks Ferran. "The work must fly over. Rhythm is very important. I have a reference: the movie Dead man , where Neil Young's music is constant. This is why rhythm is important; the work is more a four-part poem than a purely theatrical text. We must go in search of musicality, let ourselves go, search for lightness.

And to think we're making a comedy."

And the scenography? "It could be very small, very tight, the actors almost step on each other. But it could also be the opposite, and take advantage of this vast and majestic space that is the library, there can be an interesting vanishing point."

A blue dot.

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