Frugal funeral preparations are underway in the living room of Katya (Jill Riddiford) as she and her heavily pregnant daughter Oksana (Jenny Hulse) get the food ready for 60 guests on an improbably small cooker. The pyjamaed presence of what turns out to be the dead Sasha (Paul Cunningham) is as discombobulating as the counting out the appropriate number of sweets to go in the favour bags as a funereal treat.
The dynamics between the three play out with all the frustrations of family living and a long marriage thorning their way through the simple domestic scene. Katya runs the show and bemoans Sasha’s uselessness. Oksana her herring craving daughter is following in her footsteps by carrying a fatherless child. Sasha, the husband and stepfather appears to be dealing with leaving the army as a man of a certain age facing retiral. In fact he is dead having collapsed on their bathroom floor.
The question of whether he is alive or dead looms over what feels like a lot of scenes in this short piece. This seemingly easy going man who has succumbed to drink in life is only subject to post mortem praise from his hard bitten wife and bizarrely slips in and out of life Candide style as he re-embodies his notion of heroism - a far cry from merely taking the rubbish out.
Western rock and pop from the Kinks and Deep Purple create a backdrop to this piece along with radio announcements about Putin’s election victory and playbacks of previous scenes’ dialogue. In spite of the strong cast, who both minutely and fiercely display the complexities of their family relationships, this is largely a confusing, esoteric and unsatisfying play.
Natalia Vorozhbyt is one of Ukraine's leading playwrights and makes her Traverse debut with this World Premiere that is part of NTS Belong Season 2015. It is one of A Play, A Pie and A Pint’s International Plays from Ukraine and Russia where writers were asked to respond to the conflict that has escalated between the two countries over the last 18 months. The result is Novii Drama (New Drama) that is a departure from the traditional social realism of Russian theatre.
31 March to 4 April 2015 at 1pm, Friday 3 April 1pm & 7pm Full price £12 includes a drink -beer, wine, soft drink, tea or coffee, plus a pie /vegetarian pie