A literary source of Valery Fokin’s performance is an original play of modern playwright Tatyana Rakhmanova based on Jaroslav Hasek’s world-renowned satirical novel The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Schweik During the World War.
The novel, which appeared in the early 1920s, gave the world one of the most famous folk heroes — Schweik, a low ranker trying to survive in the constant flow of events during the First World War. V. Fokin’s production is a contemporary reinterpretation of this century-old story. Who is the Schweik of the 21st century? He is an involuntary participant of many altercations between random people, who is trying to survive and save his common sense in the absurd reality of today without losing his grotesque simplicity and naivete, thus becoming a true hero of our time.
Schweik. The Comeback is a performance that raises very important issues for all of us — war and peace, relations between people and the state, and personal responsibility of every human being for what is going on in the world. Today the theatre is still ready to talk about the phenomenon of war in the grotesque tradition invented by Jaroslav Hasek, but the storyline of today’s story becomes hard-edged and uncompromising. Schweik. The Comeback is not that original funny story any more. Schweik. The Comeback is like a vaccine or antidote in the age when military marches again resonate across city squares. We live at the time when the narrative about martial prowess and soldierly valor are back to media. Ours is the time hen boys start dreaming about coming to the disco wearing medals again,” says theatre critic Olga Yegoshina in her review.
“In my opinion, it’s boring to stage a traditional performance about Schweik. It was important for me to let the main character take off the mask of a traditional silly droll and joker to uncover himself, to reveal a serious side of his nature, a person who understands everything. So that he could be some provocateur, a man who came a hundred years later and saw that very little had changed in the world in terms of absurdity, and terror of war. Today I’m not interested in the comedian part of Schweik. It’s a tragic work,” Valery Fokin said.