The character in Škola dlja Durakov. From the novel by Saša Sokolov to theatrical adaptations

Irina Marchesini


Sokolov’s Shkola dlya Durakov (A School for Fools, 1976) is an extremely complex novel, which “depicts [the] world”, as D. Barton Johnson (1986:640)[1] poignantly observes, “through the eyes, and pure, if eccentric, language, of a schizophrenic youth”. How is it possible to translate such linguistic features and the effects they create into another medium? This question lies at the core of my proposal, which aims to approach the problem of intermedial translation from prose to theatre through the presentation of an individual case-study. In fact, A School for Fools has been staged by the director Andrey Moguchy (Formalny Theatre, Saint Petersburg, Russia). With the intention of reproducing Sokolov’s aesthetic construction of illusion, Moguchy introduces a new genre in the theatrical context, the so-called “vizualnaya associaciya” (“visual association”). As the director explained in a recent interview, this original genre recalls the Impressionists’ position in observing and representing nature, in order to obtain the same effectgenerated by the reading of the novel. To comprehend this process better, special attention is devoted to the construction of unusual, hybrid characters, highlighting their constitutive features both in the novel and in the theatrical adaptation. Moreover, this research seeks to enrich discussion of the work of Sokolov and Moguchy.

[1] Johnson, D. Barton (1986) “Sasha Sokolov's Twilight Cosmos: Themes and Motifs”, in: Slavic Review, 45, 4 (Winter 1986), pp. 639-649.


Contemporary Russian Theatre, Sokolov, Mogučij

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