Ihor Stravinsky’s production is more than a music play. Although In the Alley of Drummers premiered in Suziria back in 2007, it still enjoys full houses. Songs by famous bard and poet Bulat Okudzhava are performed in the play by drama artists Iryna Kalashnykova and Serhii Melnyk to piano accompaniment of piano (Natalia Behma), not sounds of guitar. Train rattles as the plot unfolds (the director defined the genre of the play as “a railway station story in 27 pictures”). Several years ago it impressed Svitlana Shapiro so much that she, a successful lawyer, came up with a desire to learn to paint. And she has become successful in the new sphere, too. In spring she debuted as an artist. Shapiro exhibited her series of paintings “Cancao do Mar” at Ivan Kavaleridze Museum-Studio, and recently she has presented her second solo exhibit for the judgment of the public at Suziria Theater’s hall.
“We decided to support the creative impulse of the amateur artist, because Okudzhava’s poetry and our theater’s production became an impetus to paint a whole series of works,” the art director of Kyiv Academic Studio of Theater Art “Suziria” Oleksii KUZHELNY said, “Poetry, performance of the actors, and Svitlana Shapiro’s imagination have been transformed to canvasses. Some people may call her manner of painting primitivism, and other may draw parallels with the works by Niko Pirosmani and Marc Chagall. It is important that Svitlana’s paintings eradiate positive energy.”
The cycle “Illustration to Love” is dedicated to Okudzhava’s lyrics. The works are bright, rich in color, with a tint of humor and a bit of sadness, as well as Okudzhava’s poetry. Shapiro call her paintings art-positive (in fact it is their warmth and directness, sometimes intentional naivety, which is so attractive). While looking at her canvases, you forget that it is autumn outside with its rain and mud, not summer with its plenty of sun and light. I can’t even believe that Svitlana started to paint only two years ago. “Illustration” is only a part of Okudzhava series she conceived.
“If you love your work, you need to be creative in any profession: both in the work of a lawyer, and painting,” Svitlana SHAPIRO told The Day. “My personality is reflected in both of them. Why have I not painted before? Life is arranged in such a way that when you reach some age, a moment comes when you want to try your hand in other quality. Children have grown up, and you have more free time and a possibility to take up what you have dreamt about. A year ago I started to paint in oils. This exhibit can be called a kind of a report about my painting lessons. The easel is a present of my son. Before leaving for Israel he gave it to me and told me not to be bored and to paint – I fulfill his wish. Each of the paintings in the exhibit is dedicated to one of Bulat Okudzhava’s songs (‘Duty for April,’ ‘This Woman in the Window,’ ‘Balloon Flew Away,’ ‘Turbulent Blue Wave,’ ‘An Eternal Thing is Passing By Us,’ ‘A Road Song,’ ‘In the Alley of Drummers,’ etc.). My friends say that my canvases boost their mood and cure them from depression.
“Only part of the cycle works is on display at Suziria Theater. The entire series will consist of 90 paintings, which I want to devote to the 90th birth anniversary of Okudzhava (it will be celebrated on May 9, 2014). When I only started to paint the cycle, I painted pictures inspired by his poetry, therefore I use the lines from Okudzhava’s poems in the titles of the works. And he authors about 200 bard and variety songs – so there is a huge field for creative work. ‘Auteur song is a serious contemplation over the life of a man, maybe tragic, maybe acute. For auteur song was born namely from these tragic contemplations, acute plots, the gurgling of soul,’ Okudzhava writes.
“In spring ‘Illustration to Love’ will be launched in Moscow in the Dom na Trubnoy Theater (it houses the School of Modern Play Theater and is a venue for Okudzhava festivals: his songs are performed there by young bards, both famous performers of auteur songs and beginners, poets, and exhibits are held). I have been to Peredelkino to the poet’s cottage, where I got acquainted with Okudzhava’s widow and their grandchildren. I am glad they supported my idea to paint pictures inspired by the poet’s creative work. I want the play In the Alley of Drummers to be shown at the Okudzhava Festival. I am sure that the episode from the life of a railway station restaurant’s singer and a passenger waiting for his train will leave no one indifferent. In this production Okudzhava’s songs “illustrate” every step of their acquaintance’s development: from the first cues of the play, to which the heroes cling in order to start a conversation – “Drummer, where is your lady drummer?” – till the final chord.