FEKS was a small-scale work with a cast of 16, that celebrated the very first production by Fabrika Ekstsentricheskogo Aktera – the original Factory of the Eccentric Actor. As a founder member of FEKS in 1921 Grigori Kozintsev later noted “Our first production was extremely bizarre, for our own period was violently reflected in it. It was a case of trying to demolish all the usual theatrical forms and to find others, which could convey the intense sentiment of our new lives.”
The first FEKS production was staged on September 25th 1922 at the Petrograd Central Arena of Proletkult. It was based very loosely on Marriage by Gogol, but any similarity between this and other productions of Gogol’s play were entirely accidental. An attendee of the one and only performance noted:
“The play opens with the bringing on stage of a chamber pot, which the character Gogol solemnly sits on. The chamber pot is however wired into the electrical supply, and delivers electric shocks to his backside. In the background we see projected a Charlie Chaplin film, whilst we have revealed to us our hero and main suitor to Agatha, Musichall Cinematographovich Pinkertonov (a man you may be more familiar with as Podkolyosin) who we see challenged by other suitors. Namely the Steam Bridgroom, the Electric Bridegroom, and the Radio Bridegroom, each of whom is on roller skates. Taurek the Clown appears as Albert, and Serge as Einstein. The audience boo cheer and whistle as a fantastic kaleidoscope of theatrical trickery is shaken out before them. There is melodrama, clowning, dance, acrobatics, and film. Multi-coloured lights flash, the pianist plays a two- step, hooters hoot, bells ring, rattles rattle, as the performers crack topical jokes and recite rude rhymes. There is even a can-can. As a denouement Gogol expires pitifully and in despair.”
Staged by The New Factory at The Torriano Meeting House London in September 2022, as well as directing I wrote the work.
September 2022 – The Torriano Meeting House – London