Albert, or the Highest Form of Execution

IDEA OF THE PROJECT: OLYA MYKHAILIUK

Yuri Andruhovych — text, voice
Uliana Horbachevska — voice
Mark Tokar — contrabass, voice
Anatoliy Belov — graphic
vj group «CUBE» — video
Viktor Novozhylov — sound

the idea
“Albert” was created on the base of eponymous story written by Yuriy Andrukhovych. In the center of action there is the story of ingenious cheater Albert Vyrozemskiy who agrees to sell his soul to the devil to avoid death penalty. However, the agreement signed with blood did not work. One autumn day in 1641, he was publicly burned in the middle of the Rynok Square in Lviv.

This work is a new form of a story that combines a text read and lived through by the author on a stage with graphic and music illustrations including various types from authentic pieces to free jazz. The writer Yuriy Andrukhovych, musicians Uliana Horbachevska/Mark Tokar, and visual artists Anatoliy Bielov/vj-group CUBE constantly interact, and every one recognizes the partner’s right to an unexpected solo. The director — Olia Mykhailiuk — consciously does not come to a unified final form of the work. “Albert” is never an exact copy of its’ previous variant — places, circumstances, and audience prompt new versions every time. The performance’s participants are always ready for experiments.

 

Yuriy Andrukhovych, the writer
The idea to combine this text with exactly these performers and precisely this visualization is something greater and more significant than just direction. It is a creation of special art synthesis discovering hidden possibilities of the text, about which even I, its author, had no idea.

the history
The premieres took place at major Ukrainian festivals — ArtPole, Meridian Czernowitz, and GogolFest. The first tour of “Albert” coincided with the period when the events of Maidan started. On February 21, 2014, “Albert” was the only performance in Kyiv which was not cancelled. Those days an emergency situation was announced in the city, and for playing the performance in Molodyi Theatre, ArtPole Agency had to take the responsibility for safety of several hundreds of people who bought the tickets. Till the last moment it was unclear if the audience would dare to go to the theater. That evening all the tickets were sold out.
In May 2014, “Albert” was played open air in Lviv — the city where, according to the Yuriy Andrukhovych’s story, the main character was executed. There was no need in any decorations — old Lviv buildings and the Dominican Cathedral became much more interesting frame for the work. The actors of the Fire Theatre “ProtyNochi” were invited to the performance. Graphic pictures were shown not only on the screen, but also on the cathedral’s tower.
In September 2015, the performance in the German language was premiered at the International MitOst Festival.

about the performance
Olha Zhuk,
the curator of Knyzhkovy Arsenal, International Arsenal Book Festival

It is quite possible to instance “Albert” explaining what is Gesamtkunstwerk — total art, which is based on a synthesis of different forms of creativity, when the sum means much more than its components. The text by Yuriy Andrukhovych, singing and vocal improvisations by Uliana Horbachevska, animated graphics by Anatoliy Bielov, direction and scenography by Olia Mykhailiuk comprised an amazing alchemy, which melted genre of medieval morality into a fully modern story. For me this story tells us that we did not move so far away from the medieval times, it is about cruelty with which the society exterminates “otherness” and takes revenge for its moral values.

Oleksandra Andrusyk,
the founder of the Concert Agency “Ukho”

“Albert” has very strong music “rear” created by Mark Tokar and Uliana Horbachevska. Mark is a key figure for the Ukrainian improvisation music scene, a core person for more than a half of Ukrainian projects at the new music and free jazz intersection. Uliana is one of the strongest Ukrainian vocalists working in the genre of traditional singing. Mark brilliantly intones; the integrity of everything that takes places on a stage is greatly to his credit. Uliana accompanies, sings, instigates, reads, shouts, and whispers everything what needs to be shouted and whispered about “Albert”. As a result, all this makes a very alive and delicate audio frame for the project, in the center of which there is its text. It is very rare and it is a great success.

Myroslav Vaida,
the artist

Astringent and penetrating weaving of sounds, words, phrases, neurotic clanking and lumbagos of contrabass, shimmering ripple of videos and dismal howling, demonic squeal and tunes, praying for forgiveness and joyful marking. It was accompanied by explosions, fireworks, publicly coronation and punishment, burning, blowing, and spitting. I imagined Lviv what it was then and what it is now with its wet downtown, dirty surroundings, stone walls, numerous churches, cathedrals, bell towers, paved with cobblestone streets, gutters, wounds, mornings, Market (Rynok Square), gutters, people, passions and holiness.