“Eternal Russia”, Photo by Dorothea Tuch.

Marina Davydova, a renowned Russian theater critic and producer presented her first play “Eternal Russia” at the Berlin HAU Hebbel am Ufer Theater. It was part of the project “Utopian Realities” dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the February Revolution. On April 12-14, the performance that has received great interest and recognition will be presented to the audience of Vilnius by the Lithuanian National Drama Theater.

“Eternal Russia” is the first part of Marina Davydova’s diptych on Russian history. The premiere of the second part will take place in April at the Thalia Theater in Germany, with LNDT co-producing the performance. In April, Vilnius viewers will have the opportunity to see “Eternal Russia”, and in autumn, the Lithuanian National Drama Theater will invite them to the second part of the diptych, “Checkpoint Woodstock”. But now more about “Eternal Russia”.

In “Eternal Russia”, viewers get a chance to literally enter Russian history. The huge installation provides an opportunity to move in space and time to see Russia right after 1917, when the country experienced political, artistic and sexual awakening. And later, as the dramaturgy of the performance develops, to travel from one historical era to another, ultimately realizing not only the differences between them, but also the cyclicality of history. “Eternal Russia” will be presented at the Arts Printing House eight times and displayed throughout most of its spaces.

The non-traditional form of the performance has received positive feedback from theater critics. Sergei Ostrovsky wrote in his review, “HAU’s “Eternal Russia”, tickets to which were sold-out long before the premiere, is about a special Russian cycle when the revolution is inevitably replaced by a counter-revolution. The play uses Oscar Wilde’s quotation, which could also be an epigraph, “Nothing is impossible in Russia but reform.” “Eternal Russia” is a small and smart performance. Spectators, literally, take part in a tour of Davydova’s ideas. Here there are no actors, the cycle of Russian history is told using scenography, props, electronic music, filmed historical material and feature film excerpts. The Russian is translated into English and German, and the surtitles are enough for both the Russian and non-Russian audiences to laugh in the same places. ”

In Lithuania, the performance will be in Russian with translations into English and Lithuanian.

Davydova is convinced that the Westerners know little about the Bolshevik coup that took place in 1917. Very few of them know that there were even two revolutions, or are aware that in February 1917 Russia became the freest country in the world. The electoral system introduced then, according to M. Davydova, was one of the most liberal on the planet, and this is not an overstatement. The rights that women then received in Russia were not introduced in the United Kingdom until the 1930s, and in France – until the 1950s. “It was a very sudden leap from archaicism, and as the steeper it was, the stronger was the return to archaicism,” says the artist.

Speaking of the sharp history of Russia’s awakening, the question is why these ideas could not be implemented in the long term. This work attempts to explain the barbarian change in Soviet socialism, which, just ten years after the revolution, ended in totalitarian dictatorship, skillfully disguised under communist slogans. It becomes obvious that all this is a hundred years of nostalgia for the pre-revolutionary Russian empire.

Marina Davydova has told the media about her work, “It is both a parkour, an installation, and a video installation, but in reality all of these are just parts of a certain new aesthetic phenomenon whose name is probably not yet invented. At least I don’t know it. To me, the most important thing is that in this project, educational, analytical and artistic elements merge into one whole. For me, “Eternal Russia” has grown not only from various exhibitions, shows and performances that I have watched due to my profession, but also from my teaching experience. In a sense, I begin to understand that lectures can also become works of art. “Eternal Russia” becomes an initiation for newcomers to culture.”

Sergei Ostrovsky reassures skeptics, doubtful whether a theater theorist can create a good performance, “It is unusual for a theater critic to be good at directing. Kenneth Tynan, a prominent English theater critic, has said, “A critic is someone who knows the way but can’t drive a car.” However, in the case of both the producers and the director, Marina Davydova’s test drive at HAU was a success. A deep and generous source full of topics explaining what Russia is about, supports and nourishes this performance.

Director; author of the concept and text of the performance – Marina Davydova, stage design and video projections – by Vera Martynov, music - by Vladimir Rannev. The performance is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Project partners: Goethe Institut and British Council in Lithuania and Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After one of the shows of “Eternal Russia”, a meeting with the director will take place at “Arts Printing House”. As mentioned above, the second part of the diptych, the play “Checkpoint Woodstock”, will premiere in Hamburg this April, and will be presented to viewers in Lithuania in autumn. We encourage the spectators to save their tickets to “Eternal Russia” as they will secure a discount on tickets to the new performance. More information will be provided by LNDT at www.teatras.lt

“Eternal Russia” is a production created by HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), which premiered on January 12, 2017. The performance was created as part of the “Utopian Realities” project “100 Years of the Present” in collaboration with HAU Hebbel am Ufer and Haus der Kulturen der Welt under the supervision of HAU Hebbel am Ufer. The project was funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media.

Performance description and tickets HERE


Marina Davydova is a theater critic, historian and producer. She worked as a senior researcher at the Institute of Art Studies, taught Western European theater history at various universities, and held workshops on theater criticism at the Russian State University of Humanities. Davydova wrote a monograph “Ende einer Theaterepoche” which reviews Russian theater of the last decade. The critic writes articles for such newspapers as "Izvestia” and is the editor-in-chief of TEATR magazine. Davydova is  a theater director of Moscow‘s NET-Festival, regularly writes articles for Colta.ru; she supervised the Vienna Festival 2016 program.


From 2012 to 2015 Artist and theater director Vera Martynov worked as the artistic director of the Gogol Center in Moscow. Afterwards, she engaged in independent work in theaters, museums and galleries. In 2016 she became the artistic director of the New Space Theater of Nations. Not only is Martynov one of the founders of Dmitry Krymov‘s Laboratory, she also works there as a stage designer, costume designer and actress. In 2012-2013 she worked for Watermill Center, founded by Robert Wilson. Martynov has won numerous awards, including the Golden Triga prize at the Prague Quadrennial, the Edinburgh International Art Festival Prize (together with Dmitry Krymov's Laboratory) and the Golden Mask Award for Best Scenography.


Composer Vladimir Rannev  graduated from St. Petersburg Conservatory; in 2003-2005 he studied electronic music at Cologne University of Music. Rannev received the Gartow Stiftung Scholarship and won the Salvatore Martiran Prize at the University of Illinois and the Gianni Bergamo Classical Music Award. In 2010, his opera ”Blaubart - Hoffnung der Frauen“, written to the libretto by Dea Loher, was presented in St. Petersburg, and in 2011 - in Perm. The opera ”Two Acts” (libretto by Dmitry Prigov) was presented at the Hermitage Museum in 2012 and received the Grand Prize (SERGEY KURYOKHIN Contemporary Art Award). Rannev's music is performed in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Finland, Japan and the USA.