Asya Volosina

Man Out of Fish

DirectorEglė Švedkauskaitė
CastMatas Dirginčius, Ieva Kaniušaitė, Aleksas Kazanavičius, Viktorija Kuodytė, Simonas Storpirštis, Asta Zacharovaitė
PlaywrightAsia Vološina
Assistant DirectorJustina Mykolaitytė
Translated byMarius Burokas
ScenographerOna Juciūtė
Lighting DesignerJulius Kuršis
ComposerAgnė Matulevičiūtė
Premiere 2020 January 07
Duration 1 h. 35 min.
Co-producer                         Volksbühne Berlin



This is the first time that Asya Voloshina, one of the most striking Russian playwrights of the new generation, is presented in Lithuania. Her play Man Out Of Fish, written in 2016, was published in her debut collection of plays The Choire Is Dying. Four Plays About Russia (2018). It received its premiere at the Moscow Art Theatre (MKHAT) in 2018. This production, directed by Yuriy Butusov, became the event of the season for Russian theatre. At present A. Voloshina's plays are being staged by major theatres in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other big Russian cities, they are being translated into foreign languages.

"I don't want to talk about one single case, I want to talk about Russia's death and metaphysical matters, about weirdest hypotheses and possibilities. I want to talk about self-destruction and about how long it may still go on." – this is how playwright Asya Voloshina describes her work. In her plays, the issues of present-day Russia get interwoven with historical memory of the pre-revolution era, and her characters' speech rings with allusions to the poetry of Osip Mandelstam and Iosif Brodsky... A. Voloshina stands out among contemporary Russian authors due to the extremely bared intonation of her texts as well as the cultural baggage reflected in her work. Her main characters are idealists who feel estranged in the country of their birth. They frantically search for themselves between the no-longer existent past and the unbearable present. They try to find connection with their homeland, with others, yet remain alone with their memories of lost paradise as of that snow in Karavannaya Street drifting in from Mikhail Bulgakov's writings...

Director of the production Eglė Švedkauskaitė says: "Man Out Of Fish is a linguistic labyrinth, a network of confessions which erupt at night and are uttered by women's lips but heard by men's ears. It is a rare case in drama. For me to present Asya Voloshina's play means to invite the viewer into a stretched-out timeframe within which anxiety unfolds. About oneself, about one's body, one's child, one's country and future. This is an opportunity to delve into the concept of liberty – what is it in a non-democratic environment? My disobedience or my non-resistance? Is conformity and cynicism aimed at the rotting regime just a form of self-imprisonment? Or addiction to illusions and unrealized desires, helplessness, dread of taking action and hopeful anticipation – all this is a device to muzzle freedom, perhaps an even tighter one than that imposed by the system and by ideology. The reality (and the state) in this play is oppressive, it visits you at home – which the characters in the play naively take for a sufficiently reliable barricade – and takes whatever it pleases. But if you screen yourself off from everyday life in your apartment, are you not doing a favour to that very system? You retreat. Having realized the absurdity of standing in a protest rally, you rush back to the safe world of quotations and dreams inside your home. In the face of the unbridled aggression propagated by today's Russia, it would be arrogant to ask but Man Out Of Fish makes you wonder: what is the point of going out into city squares, when you know by heart the scenario of even an ordinary picket? When premonition ever louder whispers in your ear that you are dealing with a deceased country, the corpse of which had turned cold before you were born?