Yasen Vasilev’s third text for theater, Elevation 506, will make its debut in its German translation in Vienna at Theatre Drachengasse on February 16th 2015.
Elevation 506 is a contemporary documentary theatre play inspired by the life and murder of Bulgaria’s first expressionist poet Geo Milev. The play is a collage of memories, documents, archives, letters and recordings that follow the life of the poet who lost his eye while at the front during the First world war (at elevation 506 near the lake of Doyran) and was later prosecuted, kidnapped and killed under the so-called Law on the Protection of the State because of his notorious revolutionary and anti-establishment poem “September” – a chronicle of the September uprising of 1923 which was brutally smashed by the government. His body was found many years later in a mass grave near Sofia with around 50 other skeletons and only recognized because of the glass eye.
The text is built around the dramatic contrast of three voices – the voice of the poet, the choir of his close ones (mother, father, wife, daughter, sister, fellow poets, colleagues and friends) and the voice of the government (through official documents, statements and conclusions). Deciding to combine the voices of the relatives in a choir is reference to Ancient Greek tragedy which was also a recurrent motif in his own poetic work.
A poet, a theatre director, a translator, an editor and a theoretician, he is one of the most important figures in Bulgarian culture but is neither widely recognized abroad nor well-known in his own country, being a victim of easy political labels and mass misunderstanding of his work and message. 2015 marks 120 years of his birth and 90 of his brutal murder. With far-right parties again winning the vote in Europe and across the globe, it is memory and understanding of the past that has to protect us from repeating the same mistakes.
Staged reading of the play: February 16th 2015, starting at 8 PM
Address: Theatre Drachengasse (1010 Vienna, Fleischmarkt 22)
Director: Sandra Schüddekopf
With: Roman Blumenschein, Katrin Grumeth, Petra Strasser, Florian Tröbinger