svetoprestavleniye sergey kalmykov


>On the April 27, the Remembrance Day for Sergey Kalmykov, ORTA art-group presents on Vlast web-site the first ever Kazakhstani Sveto-opera «Ң. Ғ. Қ. || Ңовый Ғений Қазахстана» (pronounced and translated as "Ng", "Gh", "Kh" || The New Genius of Kazakhstan"). Internet-based magazine Vlast, 27.04.2019

>Svetoprestavleniye Sergey Kalmykov was nominated for Kuryokhin Award for 2018, 14.03.2019


>Ambitious, anti-utilitarian, beautiful.Artyom Krylov, Esquire, November, 2018 

>How to watch Svetoprestavleniye ‘Sergey Kalmykov’ It is not a mere performance, it is an immersion into a parallel universe, so one needs a guide. Follow the steps from the list. Olga Malysheva,, 02.10.2018

>Independent creative company stages play to raise awareness about mental health. Zhanna Shayakhmetova The Astana Times 19.09.2018

>TESLAboys Dmitrii Lisin, S7 Flight magazine, August, 2018

>Apotheosis of Sergey Kalmykov. How the technological performance about one of the last Soviet avant-garde painters was created Dmitrii Mazorenko,, 25.05.2018

>Alexandra Morozova: ‘After studying the life of Kalmykov, I stopped fearing my illness’ Akzhelen Isabayeva, Manshuq media, 24.05.2018

>‘The warrior of quality’: who is Rustem Begenov Olga Tarakanowa, The Village, 15.05.2018


>Democracy, feminism and change of power. The seven theatrical tendencies of the 2018, interesting to look at. Olga Tarakanowa,, 19.01.2019

>Fear, cowardice and quietus of the greats: what theatre lived with last year and what it will do this year.  Olga Tarakanowa, The Village, 09.01.2019


"I will be concise. For 20 years I have been doing a festival called NET - the New European Theater - and at first it seemed to me that this very European theater could only be found in Europe. And I always go into raptures when I see it outside geographical Europe in many different countries. 

I think that ORTA Theater and the performance that I have seen - Svetoprestavlenie - is one of the striking examples of a so called new European theater. That is, this theatrical thinking of the 21st century is somehow revealed in it. I may or may not agree with something but it is the language of a modern, advanced, exciting, complex art that is interesting to interact with. There are very few of such examples in the world, and the fact that such a theater, such a performance appears in Kazakhstan, makes me really happy.

Then theatrical studies will begin, but I can say that, in the play, I definitely felt the breath of Heiner Goebbels, one of the most outstanding directors of our time, and I saw how the spirit of this director was turned into something new, how some of his principles develop, here, this theater, where some mechanisms, some inanimate matter equalize in rights with man, and how this anthropomorphic world reveals its mechanistic essence, and the mechanical world suddenly anthropomorphizes in front of our eyes. These metamorphoses, which are very interesting to follow, are made blissfully in this performance called Svetoprestavlenie. I am also grateful to this particular performance for discovering the name of Sergei Kalmykov for me. I did not know about such artist before and his connection with Petrov-Vodkin. His biography is very typical for the history of our country. I would say that this performance, in addition to its aesthetic merits, has enlightening pathos and how successfully they are combined here within one work, which is also very good news. "- Marina Davydova, theatre critic, editor-in-chief of "Theater" magazine, art director of the NET festival.



"We at the Meyerhold Center, as the culmination of the New Drama festival were waiting for a performance from Kazakhstan - the work of the ORTA center, dedicated to the Russian avant-garde artist Sergey Kalmykov. On the appointed day two trucks arrived from Almaty. We were in awe to watch tons of garbage to be unloaded from the trucks. Cardboard boxes and foil, egg crates and CDs, branch wood and glass bottles, sprouted onions and sheet metal, lights, tattered checkered bags, water pipes ...   

Two days the rubbish was spreading throughout all floors of the center; a construction was being erected on the stage. We could not even imagine what to expect. When the hall was full with people in a complete darkness, the construction assembled from the chaos of waste began its work. It turned our eyes inside of us, opened the golden gates to us, opened the interior, where the robot touched the dead woman with inhuman tenderness, finally brightened with a lightning discharge. Darkness and a flash of light, a man and a robot, electronic sound and natural noise, the ethnic and the technical, the speech is inceptive and reproduced - to the huge collection of texture the artists applied the compositional laws of the masterpiece formulated by Sergey Kalmykov. Just as the garbage returned to us in a new, non-utilitarian property - Sergei Kalmykov, underappreciated, recognized only by psychiatrists, deemed crazy - returned to the culture, ozoned with a thunderous discharge of Kazakh madmen. "- Yelena Kovalskaya, theater critic, art director of the Meyerhold Center.




"I like looking at you," Sasha says from the stage.

"Hello, Olya", Sasha says from the stage.

"I also like looking at you," I say from the audience.

"Speech composition number two", - Sasha says with her voice heard from the speakers.

The light goes out. Two men to my left are leaving.

I had been waiting for the play about Sergey Kalmykov staged by Rustem Begenov for a year and a half: the director told me about it in an interview in the autumn of 2016. He told me so much and excitedly that it was impossible not to pick up this courage from him.

It turned out that the ORTA team, run by Begenov, made the first version of the performance a year ago, but later rejected it and started everything from scratch. Perhaps, Begenov is the only one in Almaty who can afford to work this way - working for months, destroying, reassembling, and? finally, creating something incredible in the end. After watching "Kalmykov" I am writing on Facebook: "Begenov is a prophet of my homeland", and to a friend in WhatsApp: "Begenov is a psycho perfect."

During the performance at the subconscious level, a word "chthon" came to my mind. It seemed to be out of place, and then I even googled it, to check if it has any additional meanings. And as I found out it does:  a slang dictionary defines "chthon" as "constancy of fun and dirt". Perfect.

In Almaty, Svetoprestavlenie "Sergey Kalmykov" ORTA centre is staging somewhere in an industrial zone, in a hangar in Kazybayev Lane. The theater begins with the process of explaining to the taxi driver how to get there. At the entrance "to the play" there is a message repeating: "Now you are going to be offered an object. Choose the one you like. Keep it in your hands. We'll have to wait a little for the others."  You can't help from learning it by heart.

"Kalmykov" begins as an immersive theater - the same voice belonging to the only actress Alexandra Morozova, offers the viewer an interaction with the "object". It is not so important what the object is (and it is not a spoiler either), what's more important is the relationship of everyone with a sounding voice. To following the instructions or not to follow, to some extent, to what extent. However, persevering engagement ends as quickly as it begins, and it triggers another one: the unconscious and the voluntary.

Here, Morozova is lying on a pallet and drawing something on a yoghurt package. The extra is pulling the pallet, which entices both action and sound. There are kilos of trash scattered around: sticks, bottles, boxes, wires. And amongst it there is an unexpected living element: a fish tank with a couple of trout (it seems). You can't help taking your eyes of the fish throughout the whole play - one of them is splashing, the other one is still. In the darkness, the oxygen pump can be easily mistaken for the third one floating with its belly up - as soon as the light turns on, it becomes clear that no fish had died in the tank.

Death, by the definition of the genre, must occur with something else - with the light (although the actress also sometimes states such an angle that associations are inevitable, she is lying in a coffin). The light in "Kalmykov" is really extraordinary. Like the previous performance set by the director "Medea. Material", created in the way of the pop-mechanical genre, The Svetoprestavlenie is also based largely on mechanical work. It is performed by five people who become full participants in the performance, as well as several robots: robots-dombra (in Medea, by the way, there were also robots-musicians) and robot-Sasha’s-partner.

"Theatrical" light - spotlights and lamps - appears in "Kalmykov" only one and a half hours after the beginning of the action. All the time before this, there are only hand torches.

The main decoration (the production designer is Alexander Bakanov), which operates for the major part of the performance, is a box, made of smaller boxes. Dozens of cardboard boxes make up the size of the hangar itself, and when the extras begin to disassemble it at the end of the action, there is a feeling that now an "open field" will be revealed behind it. Intuition does not work: the scenery, on the contrary, begins to shrink, and through them the actress "sprouts", who you can watch only through monitors.

The text constantly broadcast through the speakers (except for those moments when the playwright "releases" the performer and lets her say something from herself), was written by the Ekaterina Bondarenko from Moscow. She mixes Kalmykov's notes, the everyday flow of consciousness and a few audible stories, but at times music, light, visual content and voice drive into a hypnotic state, with the brain only snatching out phrases: "color and shape boundaries are inseparable," " there is something crawling on your shoulder", "dye E 120","I need a drink."

Music is a separate line of the play. The "Kalmykov's" composer Tommy Simpson brings the sound to such a climax that it becomes physically painful (that is why Morozova at the very moment where Bondarenko first "gives her the word", warns: people with epilepsy and pacemakers better refrain from watching) even for a person without tangible health problems. The discomfort caused by the sound series is painful, but pleasant in a weird way. However, you feel special joy when the torture with music stops.

Svetoprestavlenie "Sergey Kalmykov" is a work of art created by madmen and dedicated to a madman. Does the border of genius always pass where conditional "normality" ends? Perhaps so. The new performance of the ORTA center is a dive into the world where its creators have lived for the past few months, and this world is not more normal than Carroll's Wonderland. Only instead of tea you are offered mulled wine"- Olga Malysheva, theater critic, online magazine




"For the enchanting beauty born in the combination of cardboard-plastic-glass-bottle-scrap-metal and wooden trash with oriental spiciness, pulsating with diversity of colours and secret danger - for all this performative happiness it was easy to forgive the forty-minute delay standing in a dark stuffy foyer and the smell of dried cottage cheese, Kazakh kurt, squeezed in the hand throughout the whole action.

 I immediately recognized Heiner Goebbels in a deliberately disheveled, travestized Asian version and then, when the text began to appear (I wish I could give it some editing...), the waves of almost Lepage's narrative went off, the cell walls began to move, mechanical arms conjured Alexandra Morozova, the only actress of the play, and I fell into this stream.

Something terrible happened. I hate the stroboscope on stage with every fiber of my theatrical soul but here it was beautiful like the living rumbling of iron sheets, like the birth of a real electric lightning. 

- You'll have to get this mole removed. The mole is doubled in size. The homeland also swells. 

Go, the performance will be shown once again tomorrow "- Anna Stepanova, theatricologist, theater critic, professor at the Russian Academy of Theatre Art GITIS.




Using the example of performance "Svetoprestavlenie Sergey Kalmykov" I want to show two ways of watching shows.

1. You do not read anything special about the show in advance. You are a brave person. That's exactly what I did. And here is the interpretation of a person who, like a blank sheet, came to see what everyone had been praising. Even at the wardrobe you meet hanging objects made of garbage. In the hall, it is dark, the TVs are blinking, there are wires laid all over the place and everyone keeps tripping over them. On the way to the hall, there are heaps of rubbish and objects reminding "sticks-and-ropes", which students of the Institute for Contemporary Arts are particularly fond of. In the hall itself there is pitch darkness, then, suddenly the light gets turned on and off, which is real torture for my eyes, which have recently undergone surgery. A monotonous female voice is reading an incoherent text. I feel like sleeping and plugging my ears, it is painfully boring. All the mega-sham design barely seen through flashes of light is made of shit and bricks. In every way, the madness of some Sergey Kalmykov is extolled (I hadn’t read beforehand who he was - for me he is just Serega Kalmykov, my friend's loser ex). The voice reassures a masterpiece is being created. Sometimes the only actress starts to say something from herself and for some reason everyone is laughing. Except for you.

Rule number one in such cases - do not go away (there were a lot of those who left at the beginning). Rule number two - do not fall asleep. What you can do and how to outride something you do not understand and benefit from it, it is another story I will write about.

In short, it was very unpleasant. I sadly remembered the words of Oleg Dorman, a teacher at scriptwriting  courses, that directors steal from people the most valuable thing - their time, and also Tolstoy's words about ballet, and also that in the 21st century it is harder for a spectator to be a spectator rather than a participant. However, somewhere closer to the peak of the torture, the light and the voice in the dark turned into meditation. "Well done, Kalmykov, son of a bitch!", flashed in my head. Imperceptibly for myself, I began to sway in time with the words and quickly solved an important personal problem that had been bothering me. In short, guys, it really worked!   Even being complete ignorant of what was going on. 

2. And now let's open preview leaflets and learn amazing things that make this bacchanalia with machinery a real masterpiece.

Sergey Kalmykov was a student of Petrov-Vodkin. He was the one who posed for the artist's "Bathing of the Red Horse". He lived in Alma-Ata for a long time, went crazy there and left a bunch of diaries and novels, insane, of course. Yekaterina Bondarenko made a text out of them where an important line was the creation of a masterpiece. Kalmykov developed several laws, following which one can make this masterpiece. For example, the law of disgust, the law of movement from one spatial grid to another, and so on. They were actually implemented by director Rustem Begenov, artist Alexander Bakanov and the team of the Center for Universal Arts ORTA (Almaty). Begenov is a student of Yukhananov. The master was present at the show, the actress Alexandra Morozova was addressing him directly during the performance. Basically, these inclusions provided additional detachment and conventionality.

Can you feel how knowing these details changes your perception? In general, the first way of watching is only for the brave and patient.

Now briefly about why it is important to watch "Svetoprestavlenie Sergey Kalmykov". It is spectacular. Everything rejected in the modern poor theater, is embraced here: props, robots, sheets of iron imitating the sounds of thunder, Tesla's coil that reproduces lightning - all of it is beautiful, damn! 

A useful spectator experience is the emphasis on working with light, hearing, tactile (at the entrance everyone is given out items). It isn't every day you watch shows in the dark. 

It is a contrast connection of the conceptual, surreal and art brut. 

The text. Yes, the very text that was so painful to listen to, and something was whispering "female" from below to my balcony. Well, Bondarenko is a woman. Her text convincingly squares with Kalmykov's madness. A crazy artist - especially a woman  

"The mole is doubled in size. The homeland also swells". 

"Before creating a masterpiece, I feel doomed" - Ilmira Bolotyan, artist, art curator.