“Between me and not-me a bridge of cards is crumbling…”

Among the thirty-five victims of the terrorist attack at the Domodedovo airport was the 29-year-old Anna Yablonskaya, a Russian playwright from Odessa.  She flew in for one day – for the presentation of the “Iskusstvo Kino” (Art of Cinema) magazine award, not knowing yet (and never getting a chance to find out) that she became the winner.   As Tatyana Drubich was naming the winner – Anna’s latest play “The Pagans” -- she was not yet aware that Anna was gone.  Back in Odessa her husband and three-year-old daughter were waiting for her to come home.  

“Bermuda Square”, “Video Camera”,  “Access to the Sea”, “Thumbelina and the Butterfly”, “Abandoned Radio”, “Mono-Dialogues”, “Letter to the Zoo”, “Warmth”, “The Irons”, “A Cowboy Show Without a Dog”, “Chatsky-Kamchatsky”, “Newton’s 4th Law”, “Somewhere and Around”, “Family Scenes”, “The Pagans”, numerous poems – Anna Yablonskaya managed to do an amazing amount of work in her short twenty-nine years.   She wrote about some very contemporary problems – the crisis of faith, a terrible societal disunity, infantile parents, abandoned children, the dreadful influence that consumerist society exerts on human beings.   And she wrote all that in a way that made it very easy to stage, very “convenient” for theatre productions.  

As things go, no man is a prophet in his own country – Ukrainian theatres ignored Yablonskaya’s plays.  The only exception was the staging of her play “The Door” by Odessa’s “Tour de Force" theatre, where Anna performed, where she met her future husband.  In Russia, on the other hand, Anna was instantly appreciated, as evidenced by the productions of “Somewhere and Around”, “Video Camera”, “Family Scenes”, “Chatsky-Kamchatsky”, and her other plays, as well as by the numerous awards and readings.  

Last year she was received by the famous London’s Royal Court.  Elyse Dodgson , head of the theatre’s international department, called her “one of most brilliant, promising writers we have ever worked with.  She was a true friend to her friends.  Thank God we have her work to remember her by.”   

On February 22, instead of the usual amateur variety show on the occasion of the theatre’s birthday, “Teatr.doc” will be presenting an evening dedicated to the memory of Anna Yablonskaya, and soon after it will be followed by the premiere of her play “The Pagans”.  Work on that play began even before Anna’s death, but she did not fly in for the first run-through because of the heavy snowfall.  The events, evenings and performances dedicated to the memory of Anna Yablonskaya will also take place in the “Stsena-Molot” theatre in Perm, the “Praktika” theatre in Moscow and other Russian theatres.   On April 7, “The Pagans” will be presented by the “Royal Court” theatre.  Furthermore, funds are currently being raised for a movie based on the play “The Pagans” -- something she had dreamed about.  

More detailed information about Anna Yablonskaya will be available in our next issue...  

 

 

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