Performances and street theatricals: What not to miss at Inspiration Festival

Performances and street theatricals: What not to miss at Inspiration Festival
Joining a theatrical performance, staging a play of your very own, watching a fresh production by a popular French street theatre: Inspiration Art Festival suggests a new angle for looking at art.

Managed by Roman Dolzhansky and Ingeborga Dapkunaite, the Inspiration Art Festival (scheduled to last until August 5) presents modern theatre in all its aspects. gives a few hints about the events on its programme that will be worth your while to include in your curriculum during the next few days. What’s more no tickets are needed, the main thing is simply try to be on time.

Becoming an actor and a stage director

If you want to gain an insight into modern theatre, you should take a walk through the Central Alley at VDNKh, which is home to several makeshift theatres designed by Xenia Peretrukhina, a well-known Moscow theatrical artist. These do not show plays but suggest that you stage one of your very own. Each place follows a distinct theatrical trend and obeys its own rules.

The Total Theatre located next to the Friendship of the Peoples fountain is where you just stand still, think of yourself and the time wave that swells under your feet, look at the surrounding landscape and feel like a hero – a Hamlet torn by fatal questions, an enamored Romeo, a Katerina from Ostrovsky’s “The Tempest,” or one of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” who finally managed to reach Moscow.

The Horizontal Theatre near the Stone Flower fountain is where you can meet other researchers, take one of the chairs and follow the instructions that will help you together with others to jointly make a small production.   

The Pocket Theatre hiding inside the architectural ensemble of the Friendship of the Peoples fountain is where you will have to turn out your pockets. Perhaps their contents will be enough for staging a play.

The One Spectator’s Theatre located in the same place gives everyone a freehand: you can sing a song, read a monologue, make a confession, or present a one-man/woman show.

To watch a music-and-light show and a French theatre’s production

On Thursday evening visitors will be offered two events simultaneously. At 8 pm, the Moscow Symphonic Orchestra, Russian Philharmonic, will perform the Polonaise from Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin,” the overture from Mikhail Glinka’s “Ruslan and Lyudmila,” the waltz by Aram Khachaturyan from the film “Masquerade,” “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” by Johann Strauss and other compositions on a stage built in front of the Central Pavilion. To warn people that the concert is starting, the organisers will switch on special lighting on the Central Alley, the Central Pavilion and the Friendship of the Peoples fountain.

At 9 pm, a French street theatre, Les Plasticiens Volants, will perform their “Space Odyssey,” a new show created especially for Moscow. The theatre is popular in many countries. They were involved in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Sydney, Sochi and Barcelona, and participated in theatrical festivals in different cities across the world from Avignon to Taipei. Their signature style are huge puppets, some of them over 20 metres tall, and powerful pyrotechnic effects. Their portal to an enchanted world opens easily anywhere – a crowded street, a city square, a stadium, al fresco…you name it!

Admission is free.   

To see two films made at the juncture of cinema and theatre

The festival’s cinema programme, Stage. Screen. Reality., merits particular focus. It includes 11 films that show the principles of stage art. Almost all of these are recent high-profile premieres, from a film about the Argentine-UK Falkland War by Lola Arias of Argentina to “Asino” by the legendary stage director and teacher Anatoly Vasiliev.

“Asino” that premiered at the latest Rotterdam film festival is Vasiliev’s first experience with films, a three-hour cinematic research into the cultural role of the donkey. The footage of the animals at work is accompanied with quotes from Apuleius, Aeschylus, Heiner Müller, and Tonino Guerra. The narrative is slow and ingenuous like its hero. The world literature’s stories involving donkeys are rather simple as well as being on the whole mostly funny.

“Simulation,” the debut by Iran’s Abed Abest, has been practically shot against the background of a theatrical set (in the spirit of “Dogville” by Lars von Trier) and looks like a video version of a minimalistic theatrical show. A modern Iranian youth drama is played out in a room with a minimum of furniture. Young people who are partying at a private home are arrested by the police for drinking alcohol in violation of the dry law existing in the country. The host and his guests are brought to a police station, a room without walls, from which, however, there is no way out. The absurdity of the proceedings makes spectators enquire time and again whether they are watching a stage production or a film.

All shows are at the VDNKh House of Culture (Pavilion No. 84). Admission is free.

“Simulation” (16+) already took place on 1 August (7 pm). However, it not too late to see “Asino” (6+) on 5 August (7 pm).

An episode from “Simulation”