Faces of LIK (Interview of actors of the integrated Motion Theatre LIK)

In 2009, integrated Motion Theatre LIK (VISAGE Movement Theatre Company) under the leadership of Liliya Sevastyanova had implemented the project titled "Popularization of theatricals with participation of persons with special needs in children’s and youth millieu" in cooperation with Culture & Art Programme of Swiss Cooperation Office (SCO) in Uzbekistan. During implementation of this project, 5 scheduled theatricals were restored and introduced to the public and one new plastic mini-play using texts in French language was staged.

Many interesting events have taken place in the life of the theatre and its’ leader over the past period. Thus, the play "Azimuth" was presented in Moscow within the framework of IX International Festival "Four elements" (music, motion pictures, theatre, tradition), in "Ethnics" contest. The play «Reflections» got high scores both from spectators and the jury, which awarded the title of Laureate to the theatre at Fourth All-Russian Festival of special theatres "Proteatr" (www.proteatr.ru). Certain parts of the plays "Azimuth", "Improvisations on themes of life" and "White gulls over blue lake" were presented at Gala concerts of festivals "Star of hope" and "Art of gestures" in Saint-Petersburg. Artistic director of "Motion Theatre LIK" Liliya Sevastyanova took part in summer crash courses on integrated dance, conducted by Joerg Koch – a teacher from J. Washington University in Seattle and "AXIS DANCE” Company in Oakland (USA). And in late 2010, Liliya Sevastyanova had conducted a master-class in Baku (Azerbaijan) within the framework of the project titled "Disability and art: path to success", organized by Azeri Centre of Development and Support "Independent life" and Organization of Assistance to Disabled Children "Mushvig".
A new section was opened in Internet site of the theatre – now admirers of creative activity of "Motion Theatre LIK" from various countries can watch video fragments from several plays, staged in different periods at www.youtube.com

We decided to revert to the project of 2009 for several reasons. It was interesting for us to find out the thoughts of project participants (disabled and ordinary actors who come on stage as part of the cast of LIK theatre, as well as their teachers and parents) about the project. Children and adults were proposed to answer the following five questions:

1. How long have you been cooperating with LIK theatre?
2. Prior to meeting Liliya, were you willing to come on stage and were their opportunities for you to do so?
3. Which of the theatricals of LIK theatre is near to your heart and why?
4. You have taken part in the project titled "Popularization of theatricals with participation of persons with special needs in children’s and youth millieu". In your opinion, to what extent this project was a success? Who derived benefit from it?
5. Does the project deserve to be continued?

Aleksandra Plotnikova

I have known Motion Theatre LIK for about five years now. I was invited to attend a play, in which our acquaintances took part and I liked it so much that I decided to give it a try. I tried and in the process I became very much interested! Now the theatre is part of my life and part of my personality. It is an amazing place, which unites us, although we are very different and at the same time very close. It is a place, where I can express what worries me most today (having said that I am sure that I’ll be certainly able to find support and help in coping with that and finding the way out), where I can reflect on paramount values and most importantly express myself. I believe that self-expression is the main reason for origin of arts. I paint a little and like to do things with my own hands and I try to be active in my studies too. Before I joined the theatre, I had participated in various children’s events, where I could try on certain characters; while at school, we often prepared presentations for parents and teachers; once in summer, jointly with my friends I organized a presentation-concert in our makhalla and the spectators liked it. That was always interesting to me.
It is difficult for me to choose one play from amongst the plays in which I have taken part – they are all near to my heart, all of them contain part of my soul. For instance, in "White gulls over blue lake", in which I tell about my dream to become a ballet dancer; in "Reflections" I learn the art of not to despair and lose heart, whereas in "Holiday of rainbow" I play the part of my favourite character from fairy-tales, i.e. Pippi Longstocking, and my acquaintances keep telling me that I resemble her a little.
I like very much the music, which Liliya Pavlovna selects for us. She always tries to choose such a melody, which would reflect our state of mind. Music for us is a partner too.
I have taken part in the project "Popularization of theatricals with participation of persons with special needs in children’s and youth millieu", directly participating in plays of the theatre. And I think that this is a very important project. Many people have found out about our work, and about persons not despairing in spite of circumstances and capable of creating such pieces of art.
In terms of usefulness… My acquaintances, having attended our plays, afterwards used to say that they changed their vital priorities and became able to cast a look onto their lives from a different perspective. Our plays give some people self-assurance, faith in life and bright future…
Isn’t that miraculous?
Each play charges us all, both the spectators and actors with positive emotions. When you stand on stage and the whole audience rises in applause, when you see that there are no spare seats in the hall and you understand that all of them support you and are ready to share their warmth with you – you are ready to sacrifice a lot for such moments!
I believe that such projects are necessary, very necessary. The statements of the spectators are self-explanatory: "Having attended your plays, I became a little kinder to myself and surrounding people",

"I did not merely watch, I rejoiced and empathized alongside with others. This sensation is difficult to express, you can only feel it... this is a gorgeous sentiment, a sentiment of joy after the play. It always becomes easier and indeed, one begins to appreciate life anew..."
On the other hand, attention to us prompts us to come up with new ideas and makes us continue our creative quest. We can improve by means of creating new theatricals.

Kamila Shamsutdinova

I came to Motion Theatre LIK when I was 9 years of age. From my early childhood I loved the stage, but I appeared on grand scene for the first time as part of the cast of LIK theatre. Each play is near to my heart. All plays are different, but we work very hard on each play, we lend a part of our souls to each play.

Yes, certainly, I have taken part in the project "Popularization of theatricals with participation of persons with special needs in children’s and youth millieu". This project was implemented in order to draw attention of people, in particular, contemporary youth, to our art. Because I also belong to the young generation, I think that the project is the proper one and necessary too! Especially nowadays, because today many people are interested only in entertainments. In our plays we always look for jaxtaposition with high spirituality, we talk about striving for ideal, refinement of life and preservation of spiritual values. I believe that this is the most important thing, which we should try to preserve!

Undoubtedly this project should be continued.

Lyudmila Gordienko

I have been with the Theatre for 10 years now, beginning from the instance when I realized that I needed creative self-actualization. I grew up watching plays of LIK theatre, and those plays were initially staged only by professional dancers. I admired performances, and my mother, Viktoria Gordienko, was taking me to all theatricals and I sucked in the atmosphere, prevailing in the hall and on the stage. Of course, I wanted to dance and move similar to professionals. And now I have become a part of the Theatre.

I love all our plays, because they are filled with vivid emotions, joyfulness and disappointments, that we experience while we create them. But “White gulls over blue lake” is the nearest to my heart and my favourite play too. The play is light, etherial and bright. It allows us to understand that it is never too late to start from scratch; to understand that an intimate person in our vicinity unnoticed by us can brighten up the drab existence. And it is absolutely inessential, whether the person is disabled or not, as are inessential the person’s nationality and faith. The most important quality of the person is the uniqueness of his/her soul, capable of understanding you and supporting you. In that play I perform a duet with Valeriy – a young man on wheel-chair. Although he lacks the ability to move, he dances, i.e. he dances with his soul and heart. I help him, he helps me, and as a result we have a vivid dialogue thus erasing boundary between physical peculiarities of our development.
Certainly, the project "Popularization of theatricals with participation of persons with special needs in children’s and youth millieu" should be continued. After all such projects unite all those people, who want to create and engage in creative work irrespective of physical peculiarities of development…

Ilya Ostanin

It’s my sixth year of work at Motion Theatre LIK.
I do not differentiate between the plays which are near to my heart and other plays, because some part of our souls and inner workings is present in all our plays...

As far as the project "Popularization of theatricals with participation of persons with special needs in children’s and youth millieu" is concerned, we can not say that it can help everybody, but undoubtedly one can notice huge progress in communication, work and interests between the people.

Needless to say that the project deserves to be continued!

Viktoria Gordienko
(teacher of Motion Theatre LIK and mother of Lyudmila Gordienko)

Similarly to Olga Ostanina, I have worked at LIK theatre for almost 30 years now, practically from the moment of establishment of the then dance group at the Palace of Culture. I can distinguish several theatricals from amongst those which are most interesting to me. These are «Railway station», «Supplication», «Azimuth», in which we worked independently: at that time without children with disabilities, as well as «Improvisation on themes of life» and «White gulls over blue lake», in which persons with special needs did take part. Why? It is impossible to explain. Maybe, because at the time when these theatricals were created and presented, we (professional actors) were performers, whereas lately, by reason of age, we have increasingly acted out as pedagogues and assistants to children. I do not know. I think, or rather I am sure, that the recipe for successful activity of the theatre is in magnitude of the person, rich inner world of the artistic director of the theatre - Liliya Sevastyanova. Essence of the author manifests itself in each piece of art, in everything done and created by the person. In a similar way, the brainchild of Liliya, i.e. her theatre and all theatricals created by her over the period of many years, are permeated with the immense love towards human beings, to the world and the Maker. The theatre for Liliya is still the temple and that’s the way it has to be… It is the place, where healing of souls, quest and appropriation of Faith and Hope take place. That’s why all her creative work can be seen as her confession and confession of actors of the theatre, which leaves no one indifferent.

The project "Popularization of theatricals with participation of persons with special needs in children’s and youth millieu" must indisputably have a continuation! This project offers the possibility of creative actualization to actors with disabilities, enabling them to reach out for larger viewing public, to communicate with other people, which is vital in their current circumstances; and spectators are offered the possibility to preserve tenderness of their souls, to recover hope and worthily appraise their unlimited abilities. Joint creative work of ordinary children and children with special needs means finding tolerance and grace for the former and adapting to life among healthy peers for the latter.

 

Natalya Plotnikova (mother of Aleksandra Plotnikova)

Sasha has been with LIK theatre for about 5 years now. Due to state of her health she had to constantly engage in remedial exercises, that’s why for a long time we looked for such a place, where our child would get controlled exercise stress. But there was no such place, and she did not want to engage in that on her own at home. And when I saw performance of the participants of the theatre, I realized that we needed precisely that. I approached Liliya Pavlovna requesting her to admit Sasha to the group and we were granted the admission! We live far – in Kibrai district of Tashkent province, and we transport our daughter to rehearsals and performances, but we are not frightened by distance and time spent waiting. Because both for our daughter and us, the theatre has become the true good family with its traditions, distinctly special warm relations within the cast. Three years ago Sasha experienced stress and she lapsed into serious sickness. While we were undergoing medical treatment, she could only use Internet to communicate with her friends who tried to support her. And the very first thing that doctors allowed her then were not classes at the lyceum, but attending classes at the theatre as the best remedy with positive emotions. I was very nervous, as I did not know how she would cope with training equipment – she had serious shortness of breath, quickly growing weary. But Liliya Pavlovna included her as the participant of the next performance. In one of episodes Sasha played the part of a film star. Albeit on a wheel-chair, which was disguised as a car, she still was like a real star! In a beautiful attire, shovel hat, with stately body posture, with reporters and admirers buzzing about her. That was such an emotional event! And Sasha’s health started to improve. Overall, there are very few places where relations between children and adults are so good. This has almost become the spiritual foundation of life for the children. Liliya Pavlovna is the one creating such an atmosphere. She commands respect of each and every participant of the cast. I like all performances of LIK theatre very much. They are melodious, with interesting costumes, and they are permeated with moral significance. I particularly like the play called «White gulls over blue lake» and the play called «Reflection». I like the first of the said plays for the very beautiful pieces of music, and it was exactly that play which prompted Sasha’s return to normal life. All pieces breathe with such romance, that you almost forget where you are.

And the play titled «Reflection» gave a lot both to kids and us (parents) in terms of learning about Italian culture. I recall that in the beginning Liliya Pavlovna encharged everyone with a task to find and study all materials about Italian life and culture and to choose, who they would want to be. Beautiful illustrated books and magazines about Italy were brought to rehearsals. It is always interesting to oversee the preparatory stage. Nothing is imposed on anyone: each and every person is involved in discussion of contents and variants, complete with improvisations and that eventually gives birth to a MIRACLE called theatricals.

Overall, besides learning to move gracefully and learning to express own inner world through motion, the participants of the theatre familiarize themselves with world culture and national traditions. The project "Popularization of theatricals with participation of persons with special needs in children’s and youth millieu" is undoubtedly as successful, as anything which the theatre digs into. Presentation of theatricals, in which persons with disabilities take part, helps to form different opinion about them and creates a new image – i.e. respect towards these persons, not a mere compassion. That results in formation of different attitude of the spectators towards life.

Sasha has many friends in Internet and real life. She invites those living in Tashkent to attend all the performances. Once she was asked to communicate with a boy, who was experiencing problems with family relations: he was in depressed state for a long period of time. Sasha communicated with him a little prior to the performance: she was short of time and delicacy to find out everything. He also came to the performance, after which he approached Sasha, expressed his admiration and confessed that his problems were nothing at all compared to what the participants were doing despite their state. Sasha and that boy are still friends. It turns out that not only performing children but also spectators derive benefit from the project and all theatricals. They learn good lessons of kindness and courage. That’s why the project should be continued. Work of LIK theatre deserves support. Its’ performances, similar to all its’ work, help to erase borders between persons with disabilities and other people, to form equal partnership relations in the society. In addition, participation in theatre gives a strong impetus to development of children with disabilities, expands their outlook, forms respect towards them on part of the society.

 

Link to original the article published at the site of Swiss Cooperation Office (SCO)