Yulia cut the theater off from herself because it was very painful. This is her child, and therefore I write about the theater, not she. It’s like a stolen cat. When a cat was stolen from us after the arrest, we did not talk about it, did not think. As if it died. It’s easier this way, otherwise, too many thoughts are included.
Anna KhodyrevaThe story of “Merak” as life
It began long before its official birthday. We always played scenes to remember or understand something. Children and adolescents in the group were of different ages, the composition changed all the time. The scenes were staged in different groups. Yulia and I only set the general direction, and what the children would do, they decided for themselves.
At first, there was theatrical English. Everyone played using things that were available. The sets and costumes were not made on purpose. Since this was English, and we all spoke it not so well, a lot of emotions were used. Verbal limitation forced everyone to turn to the body, hands, face. Kids drew a lot and used pictures in the process or in presentations. During the work, there were constant discussions.
We didn’t teach children “how to do it right and how it should be,” but let them believe in themselves and come to their own conclusions.
In theater English, many have removed the stigma “I can never speak English.” Theatrical English revealed a conflict between children and adults. The adults wanted to learn the language with homework, irregular verbs, a desk and textbooks, while the children wanted it to be fun, kind, and without cramming. We faced this, and some of our children were taken to classical English centers. Adults seemed unable to believe that learning could be easy, fun and interesting.
There were lessons on the street. We always used different spaces. We invited various interesting people, mostly relatives, to tell us something about their work or study.
They had many tutors and other classes. Drawing was considered unnecessary, and parents allowed adult children to visit us only on Sundays. We made the most of it: two hours of design, English and an hour of dancing, so as not to bump into parents who don’t want to pay for dancing that, from their point of view, teens don’t need. We have assigned a symbolic amount of 200 rubles. Our dances were based, rather, on contact improvisation. Children lack tactility: just lie on the carpet or each other, listen to your body, how the legs speak, how the knees feel. To work with the clamps, just dance to different music when your friends are dancing nearby. Most often, Yulia and I also joined and jumped around altogether.