"...I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished..."Borges. The Aleph
Those who want every minute to be of direct practical value will have a hard time.The director Aleksei Obraztsov loops both movements and words. One thing is never enough: characters multiply, the same dialogue repeats again and again. The director and actors keep taking converging paths, not diverging ones like in The Garden of Forking Paths
by Borges, thus bringing the audience to the edge of tiredness/irritation/impatience/incomprehension (underline as appropriate).And the vanishing point is a mesmerising (for absolutely everyone) black hole where the characters jump or fall. (Those who don't remember the name of Lighting Designer – Ilya Pashnin – will have it fixed in their mind after seeing "The Aleph".)
The show needs Borges: it uses one of the essential short stories of this classical avant-garde writer to embark on a quest for useless knowledge. This knowledge appears (if it appears at all) not as a traditional point of support turning the earth upside down, but as a premonition that has no precise definition. It's like a delicate silk dress that slips out of a lover's hand and a beam of light passing through human silhouettes.
The show also needs Borges and his personal story to run an experiment and see what love does to literature and what literature does to theatre.Having found the Aleph, the protagonist tries to see his late lover Beatriz there. This intention comes from a real story – Borges' eight-year-long love affair with Estela Canto.*After solipsism in OS/Axis
and the phaneron in LЁD
, Obraztsov brings to the stage yet another philosophical term – aporia
.** He focuses on what exists in our reality despite the impossibility of its existence.
*The 23-year-old Estela worked as a secretary and dreamt of becoming a writer or actress. The 45-year-old Borges proposed to her, but she had a counter-proposal – to live together before marriage. Borges didn't agree to that and stayed living with his mother. Estela believed that physical intimacy (which they never had) scared and disgusted him.
**The most widely known example of aporia – a logically possible situation that cannot exist in reality – is a story of the running Achilles and the crawling tortoise.