War and Peace
Croatian National Theatre, Zagreb 2011

Writer: Leo Tolstoy
Director: Tomaž Pandur

Scenography: Numen + Ivana Jonke

 

The staging concept for the famous Tolstoy's novel was to divide the story into three distinctive parts - UNREST, WAR and PEACE  - and to communicate their essential difference both visually and spatially.

1. part - Unrest - represents the fragile limbo of social and family affairs unravelling in the prospect of the next war.

The tsarist Russian grandeur is glimpsed in the fluorescent tube chandeliers (inspired by the metro stations of the later Soviet cities) which dilate and contract, rise and descend upon the stage like great space-ships of collective doom, signaling the inevitable fate of society whose white curtain walls are already dipped to the knees in dirt. 

2. part - War - is envisaged as the pure state of nature : a vast and sublime empty plain, a universal battlefield, its dark soil in stark contrast with the blazing sky and wide horizon.

War is covered in snow, mist and oceanic salt. War is organic, all sound and fury - a boiling pot of life force.

3. part - Peace - is seen as artificial and ultimately lifeless, an unreal object/space disconnected from humanity and presented as the sterile clinical interior of polished surfaces and modernist furniture.

Peace is a buried, airless room, a white coffin, after-life.

 

 

First Part: Unrest

 

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In the crucial scene of the first part, when protagonist Bolkonsky receives his mortal blow and starts a long poignant soliloquy about the sky above Moscow, the curtains are slowly lowered to the ground, revealing the entire fly system while the black panorama goes up to open the white expanse of heavens.

 

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Second Part: War

 

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Third Part: Peace

 

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