From Press Release
LIFE IN HOMOPHOBIC, SEXIST RUSSIA THROUGH THE EYES OF ITS PEOPLE IN KOMUNKA
Enjoy an evening in a Moscow kitchen with seven Russians engaging in real life conflicts around everyday issues:
gays and homophobes, working class macho guys and intellectuals, women and men. They fight, drink, and talk about immigration, human rights, Putin, the Ukraine, and gays. Sit around a table and have a drink with some very real and imagined Russians in Russia today!
Komunka is a devised play that invites you to observe life in a traditional communal Moscow apartment in Moscow. The characters – four families (six tenants living in four rooms) and an immigrant living in a box – are embroiled in many difficult, funny, violent and ultimately touching situations. In the Komunka household the battle lines gradually emerge as being pretty clearly drawn. Olga, the older actress, allies with the young out-of-the-closet gay man (Alex) and the young woman (Masha) who is abused be her husband. Olga encourages both of them to express themselves (which is against the law in Alex’s case) Sasha and Max both reinforce patriarchal patriotic sexism, cheering for Putin and for keeping a woman’s place in the home, as well as for the invisibility of gays. These views in the play are linked with nationalism and physical violence. Not co-incidentally, Max and Sasha also toast international crack-addict celebrity Rob Ford.
Yury Ruzhyev and Sky Gilbert are both openly gay performers who have made significant contributions to drag performance through their solo shows. Sky is a Dora Award winning writer, and Yury’s Viva Cabaret has toured the world. The play is very timely as it is focuses mainly on Putin’s aggressive nationalistic policies and their social implications. For people who care about what is happening in the world and the fate of a Europe that is now under threat from a man who many view as a powerful militaristic oligarch, this show is a must see. As we get closer to our Fringe show in June, tension will mount in the Ukraine, and around the world, as people everywhere try to come to terms with the threat coming from Putin’s Russia. This play takes a close look at the origins of that threat.
For the Russian and Ukrainian immigrant community in Toronto the play is a fascinating exploration of present day life in Russia and will spark memories of past experiences, as well as sparking discussion about present day issues.
Creators and players.
Since Komunka is about important world issues it could not help but be of passionate interest to a group of committed actors, featuring a TV writer/actor (Sean Pratt), two playwright/actors (Julia Porter and Andrew Pimento), a veteran Canadian comedian and actress of Wayne and Schuster fame (Penny Mahon) and young emerging Canadian acting talents (Matthew Sarookanian and Andrew Cromwell).
HOOLIGANS THEATRE in association with The Toronto Fringe Festival presents
K O M U N K A (comedy, drama)
A collective creation from an idea by Yury Ruzhyev. Directed by Sky Gilbert
Featuring: Andrew Cromwell, Peggy Mahon, Julia Porter, Andrew Pimento, Sean Pratt, Yury Ruzhyev, Matthew Sarookanian.
Stage managed by Bryan Clifford
Opens July 3rd runs to July 13th
HELEN GARDINER PHELAN PLAYHOUSE. 79 St George St.
July 3 – 7:00pm
July 6 – 10:45pm
July 7 – 3:15pm
July 9 – 7:30pm
July 11 – 3:30pm
July 12 – 12:00pm
July 13 – 5:45pm
Purchase online: fringetoronto.com. / By Phone: 416-966-1062
In Person: During the Festival Box Office in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s (581 Bloor St W)