* world premiere
21.05.2023, Boris Hristov House of Culture
A study of the soul in war: the new performance by Gergana Dimitrova is inspired by Nikolay Gogol’s novel-poem and the contemporary times
When does the soul die? Which souls are dead? Those whose bodies are killed or dead or can souls die before bodies? Is the dying of the soul a one-time and one-way act? If you kill or harm someone, does that hurt your soul? Can you be born without a soul? Gogol sought answers to these questions more than a century and a half ago. Against the backdrop of what is happening today in Ukraine, his homeland and the setting of his novel Dead Souls, we cannot help but ask them again. And in his tradition of portraying the small but telling details of a man’s behavior, surroundings, and clothing, we will explore the mark of war on body and soul.
Short portraits of people from one city.
People of different ages, with different social status and occupations.
They pass by us, in front of us.
One is in a hurry for school, another is out shopping.
A third is at home getting ready to go out.
A fourth is sick and a fifth is in love and eating ice cream.
Someone is riding a bike, another is walking his dog.
We see them on the same day.
The day they all meet death.
The images of the war in Ukraine shocked the whole world. It is the visual documentary materials of the events there that are the basis on which the movement scores and the images on stage are developed. The show explores the language of bodies in wartime to try to understand what happens to the soul in such an extreme situation.
Gergana Dimitrova studied classical ballet for three years at the State Choreographic School in Sofia, after which she studied contemporary dance techniques for another 5 years. She graduated from the German language school in Sofia. After that she graduated as Master of Cultural Studies at Sofia University “Kl. Ohridski”, directing at NATFA “Kr. Sarafov and directing at the Ernst Busch Theatre Academy in Berlin.
Since 2006 he has been working as a freelance director in Bulgaria and Germany. She has staged over twenty theatre productions, for many of which she is also involved as producer and manager. She actively translates contemporary German dramaturgy and is the translator of the theoretical study “The Postdramatic Theatre” by Hans-Thijs Lehmann (published by NBU and Panorama+, S. 2015 ). Gergana is the author and co-author of eight theatre plays, 3 adaptations of novels, several articles on theatre and dramaturgy in Bulgarian and foreign publications. In 2012 she received two Icarus Awards for directing and dramaturgy for the play co-written with Zdrava Kamenova, followed by numerous nominations and awards for her productions.
In 2007 she founded the theatre formation “Organization for Contemporary Alternative Art and Culture – 36 Monkeys” (www.36monkeys.org), based in Sofia and is its artistic director. She is co-founder of ACT-Association for Free Theatre (2009), coordinator of the Bulgarian committee of the international network EURODRAM (since 2014), and in 2023 she was elected president of the network.
The main focus of her work so far is contemporary dramaturgy and new theatre forms. She is interested in the dialogue between theatre and science, the interdisciplinary approach in theatre and cultural policies in the field of independent performing arts.
Author of the idea, director, playwright, choreographer: Gergana Dimitrova
Choreographer, tutor: Angelina Gavrilova
Scenography, costumes and video: Nikola Nalbantov
Composer: Veselin Veselinov-Eko
Angelina Gavrilova, Vyara Bolgradova, Filip Milanov, Tsvetan Peychev, Mikhail Ivanov
Production Assistant: Mikhail Zhekunov
The performance will feature 15 more performers to be selected at a later stage.
Organization for Contemporary Alternative Art and Culture – 36 Monkeys, ONE DANCE WEEK, RCCI Toplocentrala
The project is realized with the financial support of the National Culture Fund, One Year Grant ’22 programme.
Partner of the project is OKI House of Culture “Sredets” Sofia.