Director Sasha Pepelyaev: Russian culture cancels itself

Sasha Pepelyaev.
Sasha Pepelyaev. Source: ERR

Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, discussions have swirled about the cancellation of Russian culture. But theater director Sasha Pepelyaev believes Russian culture cancels itself.

The director, who has lived in Estonia for three years, spoke to the culture program "OP" about the premier of his new production of "Swan Lake" at Tallinn's  Von Krahl Theater, which is mostly performed without Tchaikovsky's music.

He also discussed learning the Estonian language, his future, how "Swan Lake" has become a Russian meme, and the "strangeness" of his last visit to Moscow.

"Swan Lake in Russia is always like a meme, something which is shown when they [the government] don't want to say [something]. It is a meme of hiding information," he said, discussing the meaning of the ballet in Russia and his last production of it 20 years ago.

Speaking about the relevance and meaning of the work today, he said "But this time, for me, it is not a simple question. There is the topic of cancel culture but I think there is a more serious topic of Russian culture canceling itself from inside. In that sense, I found Swan Lake really corresponding because Swan Lake is all about fraud, manipulation and deceit /.../ it is quite heavy and hopeless."

Watch the interview in English, with Estonian subtitles, below.


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Editor: Karmen Rebane, Helen Wright

Source: OP

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