The Joseph Beuys Theatre and Dokumentalny Dom “The First Cinema”, Moscow


by Nina Belenitskaya

Director: Yevgeniy Grigoriev

Set designer: Sofia Yegorova, Anna Sylyanina 

Produced by Georg Genoux and Yevgeniy Grigoriev.

Children in the Soviet Union were raised with pioneer heroes as examples. One of the first teenagers to receive this title was 14-year-old Pavlik Morozov who came from a remote taiga village. In the thirties the dispossession of the kulaks was underway, in other words, dispossessing prosperous farmers, known as kulaks, of their property and handing it to the poor. Pavel’s father was the chairman of a collective farm (kolkhoz). He hid kulaks and they paid him generously in return. The son denounced his father to the authorities and was brutally murdered as a result. In the Soviet Union Pavel, or Pavlik – as he was tenderly described by the propaganda machine, was considered a valiant hero.

During the Perestroyka period his name became a symbol for the meanest betrayal. Today in Pavlik’s motherland he is considered a saint, and not just there. The girl from Nina Belenitskaya’s play grows up in a family abandoned by their wealthy father. She prays for Pavlik to give her strength to inform on her father to the police. The production contains the girl’s dialogue with Pavlik Morozov’s gravestone statue. The news is playing footage from a rural fair in honour of him; Soviet propaganda film is used as the counterpoint.

The production by the young tandem of director and documentary film maker Yevgeny Grigoryev and playwright Nina Belenitskaya is performed by the Joseph Beuys Theatre and exists at the junction of new drama and performance, serious talk and humour.

Pavlik is my God has been nominated for the Golden Mask Award in Moscow as best experimental theatre project of the year (2011).and was included in the Russian Case program in Moscow and the Golden Mask program in Talin (2010).

Pavlik my God won the Grand Prix of the international festival Kolyada Plays in Jekaterinenburg (2012).


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