Scumbags – The play Scumbags (Otmorozki), jointly written by Kirill Serebrennikov and Zakhar Prilepin on the basis of Prilepin’s work (including the controversial novel Sankya) describes, in a remarkably three-dimensional and uncompromising way, the young people born at the end of the 1980s – the ones now coming out into the streets and calling for freedom, truth and, in the end, for their country, with all the ruthless strength of youth. It is they who are known as “otmorozki” - scum. In 2012 the production won a Golden Mask award – the Oscar of the Russian theatre – for the best small-form production.
About the director of the play "Scumbags": Kirill Serebrennikov (1969) – Graduated from the Physics Faculty at the State University in Rostov on Don (1992) and studied theatre direction at GITIS in Moscow. He achieved theatrical fame with his direction of Sigarev’s Plasticine (at Kazantsev and Roshchin’s Drama and Directing Centre), Mark Ravenhill’s Some Explicit Polaroids (A.S. Pushkin Theatre), the Presnyakov brothers’ Terrorism and In the Role of Victim, Gorky’s The Petty Bourgeois, Saltykov-Shchedrin’s The Golovlyov Family, Ostrovsky’s The Forest, Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman, Kijé based on motifs from Tynyanov’s story, Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera (Moscow Artistic Theatre of A.P. Chekhov), Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams, The Naked Young Pioneer from a story by Konovalov, “Anthony and Cleopatra. Version” based on Shakespeare (Sovremennik Theatre), Lermontov’s Demon (814 Theatre Group), Gogol’s Dead Souls (National Theatre of Latvia), Almost Zero based on Natan Dubovitsky’s novel (Oleg Tabakov Theatre) and Scum (Otmorozki) based on Zakhar Prilepin’s novel (MCHAT Academic Studio). Kirill Serebrennikov has also worked on a number of music projects: Arthur Honegger’s Joan of Arc at the Stake (Russian National Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by V. Spivakov), Verdi’s Falstaff (Mariin Theatre, conducted by V. Gergiyev), Orff’s Mysterium C. (orchestra conducted by T. Kurentzis) and Andreas Mustukis’ scenic cantata Goddesses from the Machine. He was also behind the international charity project Alexis Syumak’s Requiem, which he directed (Russian National Orchestra, conducted by T. Kurentzis, Moscow Artistic Theatre of A. P. Chekhov). He has directed the films Rostov Papa, Diary of a Killer, Bed Scenes, Playing the Victim, Yuri’s Day, Crush and A Prawn’s Kiss. His awards include the Triumph Award for Young Artists, the Seagull theatre award, the Crystal Turandot, the Stanislavski award and a number of film awards including the main award at the Kinotavr film festival, the Grand Prix at the Rome International Film Festival, the main award at the Warsaw Film Festival and an award at the Locarno Film Festival.
In Serebrennikov’s interpretation, Prilepin’s novel keeps its angry, protesting intonation. It is not an epos, but a true document of the time. Not by chance, the script contains real-life dialogues overheard by the actors from young firebrands and in the crowd of aimlessly wandering philistines. Serebrennikov does not romanticise the rebellion, but merely tries to understand where it comes from. He notes the moment when the hero of the novel (and the production) suddenly realises that “there has to be resistance.”
Marina Davydova, Izvestija
The theatre production is deliberately bereft of civic pathos – it is provocatively anti-social, anti-ethical, inciting with its non-standard lexicon and rattling of street barricades that stop nothing and no one – on the contrary, it seems as if all existing barriers are being abolished, both physical and moral. European audiences, used to all sorts of things, watched the premiere of Scum (Otmorozki) in a state of motionless consternation, literally stunned. “That isn’t possible,” someone whispered in English.