The play 'The Hague' by Ukrainian playwright Sasha Denisova is a grotesque, funny and sinister “phantasmagoria” based on real events and people related to the Russian war in Ukraine.
Written soon after the beginning of the war, it premiered in February 2023 in Poland, and had its US premiere at the Arlekin Players Theatre in Boston in June.
The production of Ivan Vazov National Theatre, directed by the renowned theatre director Galin Stoev, will open the jubilee season of the theatre, which in 2024 celebrates 120 years since it was founded on 1 January 1904.
'The Hague' sets up an imaginary trial at the Hague tribunal against the war crimes of Putin and his inner circle of close collaborators, enacted in the fantasies of a little girl, who keeps a diary of her horrifying everyday life in Ukraine.
The text weaves together various facets of the political and ideological realities of the Russian Federation together with fragments of real war stories, and documentary elements from family tragedies, arranged in a non-linear story, creating the image of the war in the girl’s cognitive and emotional world.
The magnitude of the wrongdoing resonates in the viewers’ heads, being “innocently” presented in a child’s game which – humbly, but lucidly and emphatically – puts the non-negotiable moral notions of “good” and “bad” back in their right places.
Sasha Denisova is a Ukrainian playwright and director. She graduated from the philological faculty of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. She taught stage direction at The Meyerhold Theatre Centre, lectured at the Moscow Art Theatre School, and led the auteur and documentary theatre studio “Studio-OFF”. In 2010, after completing training at the British Royal Court Theater (majoring in Documentary Theater,) Denisova created a troupe of like-minded actors practising the principles of experimental theatre. She fled Russia early in the war and is now living in Poland where she has written and produced several documentary plays, including 'The Hague'.
Born in Bulgaria, Galin Stoev has been working as a theatre director since 1991. In Sofia, he began by working with the classical repertoire, before turning to modern and contemporary texts. After his immediate success in his home country, his work was introduced to various European stages in Belgium, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Bulgaria, Argentina, and Italy. His encounter with the Russian playwright Ivan Vyrypaev was decisive. Between 2002 and 2005, he directed three of his plays in various countries. Since 2007 he has worked regularly in France and Belgium, notably at La Comédie-Française, Le théâtre national de la Colline, Théâtre de Liège, Festival d’Avignon, Odeon theatre del’Europe etc. Since 2018, he has been the Artistic Director of ThéâtredelaCité - Centre Dramatique National Toulouse Occitanie, where his first production 'Unbearably Long Embraces' by Ivan Vyrypaev got the award from the French critics “Le prix du Syndicat de la critique”. In January 2023 he premiered his newest production “Uncle Vanya” by Anton Chekhov at Odéon–Théâtre de l'Europe, Paris, production of ThéâtredelaCité – centre dramatique national Toulouse Occitanie, coproduction with Comédie - Centre Dramatique National de Reims with the support of Cercle de l'Odéon.
Photo: Stefan Zdraveski