Beautiful Life

Part of: Movies and performances at Strelka


Strelka presents: «Praktika theater – the most urgent, the brightest, the liveliest»

Pavel Pryagko. Director: Viktor Alfyorov. Edward Boyakov. Cast: Natalya Lesnikovskaya, Julia Volkova, Pavel Artemyev, Ilya Iosifov.

It’s a city drama. Vadim and Lesha, two brothers, work at a district school as PE teachers. They are seduced by two senior students, Lena and her friend Angela. Lena is in love with Vadim, but she is dating Lesha, too, without telling him about his brother. Vadim and Lesha are accused of sexual abuse of minors and fired. Labour Law will never allow them to work at a school again. Still they don’t give up dating Lena and Angela.

Lena dreams in her sleep about a magical beautiful wedding. Lesha proposes to her and she accepts, hoping that her dream will come true.

But everything goes wrong. All the guests and the groom himself get badly drunk. They catch a minibus home, and Lesha has a fight with the driver on the way. Lena’s stomach wouldn’t stop bothering her and she complains to Vadim. She still has feelings for him, strong enough to make them follow an instant impulse and make love right in the street, under the bush where Lena sits down to pee.

During the wedding Lena realizes that it isn’t beautiful at all, and it’s not what she was dreaming of, so she decides to divorce Lesha. Having made away with the money their parents gave them for the wedding, Lena and Lesha get divorced.

Now Lesha works as a double-glazed window installer, Vadim sells computer and video disks at the market. Lesha has never discovered that Lena was dating his brother. And so Lena and her friend Angela come every day to visit Vadim at the market.

Pavel Pryazhko, playwright: It might seem that I’m putting irony into the title of the play right at the beginning. It is not so. The title doesn’t imply either irony, or satire. I’m utterly honest in stating that my heroes have a beautiful life. It’s just that the people I’m writing about look at life a little differently and they have different understanding of happiness/unhappiness.

Natalia Lesnikovskaya, actress: For me the main idea of this play is that love is able to grow anywhere and out of anything. However horrible the conditions in which it is born. The love triangle which develops in the text is as grandiose as in a Shakespearian tragedy.

Pavel Artemiev, actor: We’re trying to show a tragic love story, true to life, sometimes strange. Not everyone can imagine that love can be like that. There is a nerve in the play, and if you omit a word, you start stumbling. That’s why all our lines are so important and natural, including the swear words, which you find in the play in abundance.

Extract from the play:

Vadim puts his arms around her. Lena doesn’t object. They kiss. There’s a lot of love in Lena’s kiss. She pulls away from Vadim and starts crying. Vadim, keeping her close, strokes her hair.

VADIM. What can I do with you…

Vadim kisses Lena on the lips. Lena responds. They kiss. Vadim turns Lena around, pulls up her wedding dress. Vadim and Lena make love. They make and make and make love… Vadim comes. Lena never comes…

Language: Russian