December 27, 2023

Closing Curtains for a Cancelled Show


Closing Curtains for a Cancelled Show
Ivan Vyrypaev. Izba Arts, X.

The Bratsk Drama Theater in Irkutsk Oblast canceled the performance of a play based on the works of playwright and director Ivan Vyrypaev due to his in absentia conviction for "spreading false information about the Russian army."

Vyrypaev, an Irkutsk native, is renowned for his work on stage and film. The award-winning 49-year-old has rotated between playwriting, screenwriting, acting, and directing. He is also known for focusing on long monologues and relying on rhythm and sound, earning him recognition in Russia's avant-garde play and film directors' circles.

"Illusions," a play based on Vyrypaev's work, premiered in February 2022 at the Bratsk Drama Theater to widespread acclaim. The show was set to return to the theater on January 25, February 15, and March 7, 2024. But, on December 15, Vyrypaev was convicted in absentia to eight years in prison for "spreading false information about the Russian army."

Vyrypaev has been outspoken in his opposition to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In an open letter, Vyrypaev announced that all royalties from performances staged in Russian state theaters would be transferred to help Ukrainian victims.

According to the head of the Bratsk Drama Theater, Yelena Chaykovskaya, the theater "didn't even know [about Vyrypaev's beliefs]. Well, we don't monitor the decisions of Russian courts." However, an unnamed person filed a complaint, and the theater decided to cancel the remaining performances.

Chaykovskaya said the theater did not wish to align themselves politically with the playwright. In her Telegram account she wrote, "But it's still a pity. Good material. About love."

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