Discussion with KATE PENDRY after the theater performance PUTIN IS SKIING /a play about the birth of a killer/
KATE PENDRY ABOUT PUTIN IS SKIING
The Norwegian performer and author watched the production of the Líšeň Theatre Putin is skiing on 12/5/23 in Brno. After the performance, she talked with the audience about political theatre, her work and presented samples from her latest play, My Dinner with Putin.
She also talked about the performance Putin is skiing:
…when this was made in 2009 how very different its impact would have been, it’s a different story. Now, it’s on the map, everybody is talking about this now. So how ahead of time you were. (…) This needs to be told, people don’t listen to you at first, and then suddenly he invades Ukraine. We became in essence, forgive me, the war prophets.
…physical proximity (of the play) is a powerful medium, the smell of the tent, the physicality of the space, slightly uncomfortable; you have these wonderful random sounds that happen outside, which somehow become the soundtrack to the play.
What I noticed about the style of Putin is skiing, it is radically different from the style of the theater that I do. (…) It is absolutely sure of itself, morally and ethically. It does not set any questions at all. It makes it absiolutely very clear (…) who this is in praise of, who this is in memory of, who is right and who is wrong. (…) This is a really valid form of theater because you have to ignite your base, you have to preach to the choir to remind them what is right and what is wrong so that there can be energy there.
Its absolute certainty of right and wrong is valid but it worries me, it makes me very nervous. Because we can speak about Putin’s rise to power, in this brilliant Brechtian satirical way, and satire is what we need now, (…) but he (Putin) did not manifest out of ether, it was not big bang and there was Putin, or just Lenin, Stalin; although I think this is a brilliant image, and it absolutely draws together the historical threads, (…) but it does not speak to people who keep him in power.
… beautiful and very painful at the end, as this play is, it troubles me because it leaves me as an audience feeling absolutely helpless. I know and now I know even more than I knew, it’s even worse (…) and I want to say to the theater, “Don’t just fucking leave and go to the pub afterward. And say, it’s your responsibility, audience, voila, we have illuminated evil, you fix it.” And I don’t know what to do, and I think this is also a great feeling to have ignited as an audience, my frustration that I feel bad and I assume the company is like: “yeah, you feel bad, think of the people on the front line, in Kyiv.”
Kate Pendry is a woman with a reputation of a political and controversial artist, performer, film and theater actress. She was talking about her experiences with political theater, transformations of political theater in connection with the war in Ukraine and also her latest self authored monodrama ‘My Dinner with Putin’.
(discussion in English)
Kate Pendry: https://www.katependry.com/