“Breakfast of Champions”

If ever I came across an alien, what would I say to it to explain what a human is?

This is rather an experience a spectator goes through in the company of random fellow travelers. That’s what regularly happens to us in our everyday life.

It’s a site-specific one-to-one performance for three spectators. The premiere took place at the Skorokhod venue. The project was inspired by powerful, intricate and ironical texts of Kurt Vonnegut. They are not bound by any conventions such as a clear-cut plot or the unity of time and place of action. Indeed, their only key feature is the unrestrained flight of the author’s blazing imagination. There are only three actors involved, with technical and managerial staff now and then dancing on the stage, and only three spectators. Both conversation and dancing occur practically face to face. One might say that just as Vonnegut’s texts are not in the least in the mould of the classical novel of the 19th century, the performance does not look like theatre in the conventional sense. This is rather an experience a spectator goes through in the company of random fellow travelers. That’s what regularly happens to us in our everyday life.   The main character of the novel Dwayne Hoover, a successful dealer, suddenly goes mad.  The starting point of his mental illness is a simple but pretty topical, for 2018, concept that all men are robots in fact. And Dwayne Hoover comes to think of himself as the only human being capable of feeling, living and meditating. And the most important thing is that it is him only who has the freedom to act at will. The irony is that Hoover’s mental illness is caused by a technical malfunction of the biological machine called Dwayne Hoover.  In fact the focus of the performance is on Kurt Vonnegut himself, who invents as he goes both Hoover and Kilgore Trout – a fortuneless science fiction writer, the author of the solipsistic novel “Now It Can Be Told”, which drives Hoover mad. Vonnegut is in constant touch with either Siri, a virtual I-phone personal assistant or spectators asking the key question of the novel (as well as of life): What is a Man? Is it a Biological Machine? Is it Conscience? Is it God’s Creation? What’s the point of Man’s existence and is there any about it? This work which is both heart-piercing and amusing turns the spectator into a part of narration, makes him or her share breakfast and spin the pedals, dance and answer rather embarrassing questions, indeed do everything in order to put everything unnecessary out of his (her) head under the guidance of Kurt. The goal is to find the answers to these questions – vexing and important as they are.  

Year and place:

2018, Skorokhod venue, Saint-Petersburg

Inviting theatre or festival:

Directing: Tanya Weinstein

Music: Leonid Nechayev

Lights : Anatoliy Lyapin

Performance: Artyom Urenkov, Vladimir Kuznetsov, Alexander Gromyko

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