Russian Jam - "Russian Jam" was written in 2003, and had its premiere in 2005 in Freiburg, Germany, where it was performed in the City Theatre, directed by Thomas Krupa, under the title "Warenje". The play's author gave it the subtitel "Afterchekhov" to show that she was consciously continuing on from her great predecessor. However, the play's heroes are more like caricatures of Chekhov characters. All that remains of their aristocratic gentility, however, is their love of unlimited coffee consumption. Of their entrepreneurship there remain only sharp business practices, and of the village that grew up on the site of the original orchard all that remains is rubble, on which a Disneyland is to be built. Work, which no one is capable of anyway, will be definitively replaced by entertainment. The technique of the play has also changed. While Chekhov let his characters talk, without listening to each other, Ulitskaya actually has them talking at the same time. The only thing that has not changed is the message of the play. Ulitskaya, too, brings a number of "unnecessary people" on stage, the people of whom Lopakhin says in the fourth act of the "Cherry Orchard": "And how many people there are living in Russia, existing, and no one knows why." According to Ulitskaya, we have not changed much over the years. The production won a Divadelní noviny survey, gaining the title Production of the Year.
Russian Jam - In this critical lament over the situation of contemporary Russia (and not only Russia) the author continues Chekhov's stylistic footsteps. In concrete terms, the Lepekhins could be the descendants of Lopakhin from the "Cherry Orchard". The presence of three sisters in the family is a more than discreet allusion. The decay of traditional values and the failure to find new ones is a leitmotif. The wide range of fates and characters provid rewarding material for theatre of 2013 and beyond.
The staff of Divadelní noviny labelled the production the Success of the Ost-ra-var festival: "A gradatd stage composition of a remarkabel text that follows Chekhov's legacy. This modern-day story also allows us to reflect on the confict between idealistic reamer and predatory pragmatists. Ivan Rajmont gives the actors room to develop their characterisation, and Arena once again shows us in this production that, in terms of acting, it has one of the best quality ensembles in the Czech Republic."
"A biting statement about Russia a hundred years after Chekhov, about ridiculousness and vanity, about the remains of humanity, intellect drowning in a sea of nothingness and vodka, about the bleakness of any hope of change. In general, about the end of civilisation, the end of Homo sapiens."
(by J. P. Kříž, Svět a divadlo)
"Although there are ten figures on stage, none of the actors can be singled out over another. They all give consummate performances [...] Although the subject of the play is serious, the production is exceptionally entertaining. This is above all the result of the humour with which the director constructs the various situations, and, of course, the way in which the various situations are acted. Given the content, the audience is sometimes chilled by the realisation of what it is laughing at, but this tends to be the case in almost absurd comedies like this.
(by Ladislav Vrchovský, Czech Radio)
http://www.festivaldivadlo.cz/en/predstaveni/158/ and 22nd International Festival Theatre Pilsen Booklet (printed edition)