The Koltsov Voronezh Drama Theatre will open the new 234th season by staging Paper Soldier based on Bulat Okudzhava's story Good-bye, Schoolboy! on the small stage. The launch of the production and the press screening took place at the theatre on Thursday, September 10.

Initially, the premiere of the production about the war was supposed to take place in May, to coincide with the celebration of the 75th anniversary of Victory, but the theatre was closed in March due to the pandemic. This is why Nikita Rak's production is opening the season.

‘We haven’t rehearsed a single production for so long,’ the director admitted at the press conference.

Paper Soldier is based on Bulat Okudzhava's autobiographical story Good-bye, Schoolboy!, but it was significantly changed for the stage version. Both the names of the characters and the plot twists have changed. Only the "backbone" has remained: the main character is yesterday's schoolboy who found himself in the war, his colleagues are ordinary young men, soldiers. The actors of the drama theater depict war not through heroic deeds, wounds, and horrors but through almost everyday stories - parcels and letters from relatives, falling in love, funny incidents occurring in the unit.

‘This production, like the original story, is not so much about war as about a person in difficult circumstances. And in this sense, it very much rhymes with today. As Okudzhava wrote, the worst thing in the war was not death, bombing, and other horrors but the fact that no one knew when it all would end. And we are now experiencing something similar - everything is on the fence, and when all of it will end is unclear. But, it seems to me, we still managed to create a bright and kind production,’ said Nikita Rak.

Воронежский театр драмы Кольцова

The scenography of Paper Soldier is emphatically simple: two old school desks that become either benches in the unit, or truck seats, or trenches, and several curtains that create the effect of hazy memories. Songs of Bulat Okudzhava himself and recordings of his voice, as well as compositions by Alexander Vertinsky and Mark Bernes, were used in the musical arrangement. The roles in the play were performed by actors Yegor Kozachenko, Irina Sorokina, Damir Mirkamilov, Denis Kulinichev, Roman Slatvinsky, Igor Boldyshev, and Artur Platov.

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Фото — Михаил Кирьянов

The premiere performance for the audience will be held at the Drama Theatre on Wednesday, September 16. The age limit is 12+. Tickets are already on sale.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the theatre has the right to sell only 50% of the tickets from the usual capacity of the hall. The spectators' temperature is measured at the entrance. If it is increased, the money is returned and the person is asked to refuse to attend the performance. Such measures are designed to protect not only spectators but also artists from the infection. Admission is allowed in masks only.